Haute and Healthy: Get the Most out of Your Elliptical Workout

The elliptical: we all use it. It’s the easiest machine to hop on for 45 minutes to an hour and still feel like you’re getting a solid work out in. The elliptical can be extremely beneficial to your health by improving endurance, cardiovascular health, weight loss and management, and overall wellbeing. But are you getting the most out of your time?

Not only is it easy on the joints, but the elliptical provides a total body workout, while inducing cardio. It is incredibly versatile, allowing you to go backwards and forwards to work your arms, (front and back) legs, and core.

If you want to improve your cardio and lose weight, you should focus on your strides per minute. Most elliptical machines will track how many times your legs revolve around in 60 seconds. Ideally, after your warm up, your strides should be between 140 and 160. Intervals and “sprints” are also a great way to burn fat. When you’re sprinting on the elliptical, your strides should be above 160 per minute. Alternate between sprinting and recovery time while keeping the resistance to at least 7. Your sprints should be anywhere between 1 and 3 minutes and your recovery time should be at least 30 seconds shorter than your sprinting time to keep your heart rate elevated.

If toning your legs is your goal, the elliptical is perfect. If you want to tone the back of your legs and your butt, focus on pushing down with your heels while you pedal backwards. To tone the front of your thighs, push down with your toes and pedal forwards. One great trick for toning your calves and thighs is to stay on your tiptoes while you pedal. Turning up the incline is another great way to focus on and single out your glutes.

The handles aren’t just for taking some of the burn away from your legs. They also can be used to tone your chest, back, and shoulders. If you push the handles away from you during each stride, you are mimicking the motion of a bench press, helping you tone your chest. Pulling the handles towards you works your upper back and shoulders.

To engage your core and tone your abs simply let go of the handles. This simple modification forces you to engage your core to remain balanced. Just stay aware that you don’t sway side to side. You can place your hands on your hips to make sure you are maintaining proper posture.

Well, there you have it! Try out some of these tips to make your next elliptical workout a little less boring and a little more successful.