How to Get the Most Out of Your Elliptical Workout

At the gym the elliptical is my "go-to" machine, I personally feel that I can get a better workout with it then the treadmill. It's low impact so you don't get that pounding like you do with the treadmill. So, on cardio days the elliptical is where you will find me!

If your elliptical routine involves hopping on, popping in your headphones and pedaling along with the same incline/resistance for the next 30 minutes then you could be getting a lot more for your workout! 

Like with any workout, it can get old doing the same thing day after day so be sure your fitness routine is varied and balanced with resistance training and yoga

Here are 5 tips to vary your elliptical workouts and get more for your efforts! 

1. Keep your feet flat

This is the biggest mistake I see people make when they workout on the elliptical. As they pedal, they lift their heels up off the pedals. Keeping your feet always flat is proper form and will help keep you from getting aches and pains from not being in alignment. So keep your feet flat as opposed to standing on your toes. You can also work your core by clenching your core as you peddle. Proper form also includes keeping your back straight!

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2. Vary the incline/resistance 

If you really want to target your butt muscles increasing the incline or resistance on your elliptical be really effective. Generally, the higher the include the more you'll work your butt muscles. ​Try to start your workout at a low incline and slowly progress to a higher incline as your workout continues. Peek your incline at the middle of your workout and then slowly start decreasing your incline back to zero as you finish your workout. You can play around and vary the incline as you like to keep your workout interesting. 

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3. "Pause" your workout

I like to use the pause button on my elliptical as a interval timer. I'll use the elliptical and when I'm ready I hit the pause button (gives me a 1 minute count down) and hope off. I like to take this 1 minute and fit in some bodyweight strength training like pushups, lunges, jumping jacks, etc. After the minute is up, I hop back on the elliptical. I continue to alternate this system so I end up getting a great cardio and strength training workout in one! ​

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4. Make it a HIIT workout

While we are on the topic of intervals, we can easily take our steady-state cardio workout and turn it into a fat burning high-intensity interval training workout! ​The simplest way to do this is to go 30 seconds on a high resistance and then 30-60 seconds on a low resistance. Alternate between the two through the remainder for your workout but be sure to give yourself time for a 5 minute warm up and cool down. 

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5. Add weights

Have a pair of dumbbells next to your machine. Ellipticals are great at working your core and lower body making it easy to forget about our upper body. To create more balance you can pause your workout every 3 or 4 minutes and do a set of shoulder presses or other arm workout. ​