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Cardio Workout For the Elliptical With Intervals

A Short and Sweet 35-Minute Elliptical Interval Workout

I must admit, I am not a true fan of the elliptical. My husband, however, loves the machine, which is why we have one. Mostly, I use the elliptical when I need a cardio fix but want to give my joints a break. The workout is less pounding than running and more convenient than cycling. Unfortunately, I find the machine boring. I keep my elliptical workouts fresh by playing with all the elements the machine has to offer: pedaling backward and alternating between pushing and pulling the handles. Adding intervals also spices up my time on the machine and I even like to work my core and go hands-free. Here is a workout that keeps me ellipticizing for 35 minutes and hopefully it will work for you too.

Time Resistance SPM* Notes
00:00-3:00 5 130 Warm Up
03:00-5:00 5 140 Warm Up
05:00-07:00 7 150-160 No Hands
07:00-09:00 9 150-160 Hands — Push
09:00-10:30 7 130-140 Backward
10:30-11:00 8 170-180 Sprint
11:00-12:00 7 130-140
12:00-12:30 8 180-190 Sprint
12:30-13:30 7 130-140
13:30-14:30 8 180-190 Sprint
14:30-16:00 5 140-150 No Hands
16:00-17:00 8 180-190 Sprint
17:00-18:00 6 130-140 Backward
18:00-18:30 8 190-200 Forward and Sprint
18:30-19:00 5 130-140
19:00-19:30 8 190-200 Sprint
19:30-20:00 5 130-140
20:00-20:30 8 200-210 Sprint
20:30-21:00 5 130-140
21:00-21:30 8 200-210 Sprint
21:30-22:00 5 130-140
22:00-22:30 8 200-210 Sprint
22:30-23:00 5 130-140
23:00-23:30 8 200-210 Sprint
23:30-24:00 5 130-140
24:00-24:30 7 140-150
24:30-25:00 5 130-140
25:00-27:00 7 130-140 Backward
27:00-30:00 5 130-140 Forward and Pull
30:00-35:00 5 130-140 No Hands

*SPM = Strides Per Minute

My elliptical has a fixed incline at 20 percent, so set the incline between 20 and 30 percent. As always, if this is too easy or too hard, change the amount of resistance and the strides per minute. If this workout doesn't float your boat, check out our other elliptical cardio plans. Here is a printable, image-free version to take to the gym.

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maryo125 maryo125 2 years

I found that when I used to get on an elliptical, I would get bored quickly & rarely pushed myself like I could. A friend told me about some killer elliptical workouts on iTunes. They basically have a top-notch trainer taking you through a HIIT routine for the elliptical. It’s great for weight loss and seriously kicks my butt every time, in just 20 minutes:

GummiBears GummiBears 5 years
Cool, I need to shake up my elliptical routine. This is a good way to start off.
bjeanne18 bjeanne18 5 years
I haven't done very many interval plans, so this may be a silly question, but is there a way to tell the eliptical in advance what your 'plan' is? Because otherwise I end up pushing a lot of buttons every minute or so trying to change the resistance... I wish it would just change on its own when I want it to. Maybe I just need to suck it up and deal but it is a little annoying lol
courtneyd courtneyd 5 years
I'm a huge fan of the iTrain workouts. While I love the elliptical, the iClimb workouts gives me the push I need to keep going on days when I just don't feel like working out, and their iTread workout is the only way got started on a treadmill. The trainer usually shakes things up every 2 minutes or so (speed, incline, etc.), so you don't get bored.
Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine 5 years
Perfect timing on this post!! I'm headed to the gym for an interval and strength workout this morning :)
jelibeann jelibeann 6 years
I would love to get into the elliptical - I know so many people that use it religiously - but I feel like I can go for like 10 minutes before I want to pass out. I'm wondering if the fact that I'm only 5' tall is part of the issue? I'm not in the best cardio shape right now, but I've always had this problem, even when I was. It's so frustrating to see other people speeding along for an hour, when I have to embarrassingly quit after a few minutes. I can't run anymore because of my knees, but I'm fine on a stair-stepper or bike.
mlmoreno47 mlmoreno47 6 years
what is the incline supposed to be set at for this? the elliptical I have at my apt gym doesn't have the moving arms part
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 6 years
I work out on the elliptical EVERY SINGLE DAY... for 101 minutes!!! :) It's a great way to start the day! I usually am on a resistance of 10, 11, 12 or 13... depending on how much energy I have!! Wooo, I think tomorrow it going to be an EXCELLENT day!
angelina8023 angelina8023 6 years
I love the elliptical. I have never been a strong runner so it works for me. I plan on trying this out later tonight. Thanks Fit!
clearskies clearskies 6 years
I agree. The elliptical is my last resort for when I have a strained muscle or sore joints. If I need a break from running, I'll give this workout a shot.
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