Skip Nav
Beginner Fitness Tips
4 Things You Need to Know Before You Run Outside
Intermediate Workouts
A Total-Body Workout With Just 6 Moves
Healthy Recipes
32 Vegan Lunches You Can Take to Work

Elliptical Workout That Works Your Entire Body

Cardio Workout: Full-Body Elliptical

Aside from saving your knees, the low-impact elliptical can be a time-saver too, mixing a little strength training into your cardio. Hopping on a machine with moving handles means you can work your upper body; push the handles to work your chest more, and pull the handles with focus more on your back. Skipping the handles altogether gives you a chance to focus on your core. Just place your hands on your hips and keep the movement as smooth and steady as possible. And pedaling in both directions means you work both the quads and the hamstrings nicely.

Here's a half-hour workout that does all that, while getting your heart rate up too!

Time Resistance SPM* Notes
130 Warm up
150 Warm up
150 No hands
170 Hands — Pull
150 No hands
170 Hands — Push
140 No hands
200 Hands
130 Backward with hands
150 Forward no hands
170 Hands — Push
130 No hands
200 Hands
130 Hands
120 Cool down
120 Backwards
110 Cooldown

*SPM = Stride per minute
Set incline to 20 to 30 percent

I found it challenging to keep my SPM at 170 with the level set to nine, but it felt great to push myself. As always, if this is too easy or too hard, change the amount of resistance and the strides per minute. My elliptical has a fixed incline of 20 percent, so set your machine with at least some incline if you can. If this workout doesn't float your boat, check out my other cardio plans. I have received comments from some readers that their elliptical machines don't have SPM readout. For a machine that uses RPM (revolutions per minute), simply halve the number listed for SPM. If your machine uses MPH (miles per hour), use the rate of perceived exertion chart.

Click here for an image-free printable version of this workout.

Image Source: Shutterstock
CoachAmelie CoachAmelie 4 years
This is actually a horrible workout plan. One cardio should NEVER be considered a toning workout, it's CARDIO. Also working with the handles DOES NOT TONE. This actually divides the CARDIO effort and into 2. YOUR ARMS ARE HELPING your body when you pull or push. Cannot believe somebody would post this as a "toning" workout and would actually encourage people to do this for all the wrong reasons. Using the arms of the ellipitcal are for those who have stability issues and beginners with difficulty using the regular elliptical. Most gyms don't even have these anymore simply because of how useless they actually are.
Karen78 Karen78 4 years
I DID it! This was a challenge for me. I rounded down the levels by two and used a 20% incline, but I DID it! I will definitely try this again! Thanks for posting these great elliptical workouts! :-)
AshB9 AshB9 6 years
Love this workout! I sweat like crazy while doing it.
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 6 years
Alright, if this isn't a sign that to get my butt into the gym and onto the elliptical today, I don't know what is. I'm loving the advice about going hands off to work on my core, because I can only use the arms for short periods of time due to a shoulder injury. I might have to give the above workout a try (just with a little less hands-on time) today!
natasha1970 natasha1970 8 years
I just take it up to Level 12 on the Hill Profile on the Life Fitness elliptical.....I've finally worked my way up to it and ushing to go even harder.
zabrow zabrow 8 years
this is almost like the "personal trainer" setting on the elliptical i use at the gym. i love it! makes it so much easier to get through a long work out on the elliptical, otherwise i'd get too bored.
nancita nancita 8 years
Yay! I have exhausted the last batch of elliptical routines and I'm looking for something new. Thanks.
amandaaa amandaaa 8 years
fav exercise ev
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
I have an elliptical at home and I dread using it! I go crazy after 15 minutes on it. It's so much easier for me to go for a run but with my knee recuperating from runner's knee, my PT says to use the Elliptical for now. I'll have to try this workout; maybe it will make me want to do it. It's seriously the only part of my weekly workout regime that I don't enjoy.
mallorycurtis mallorycurtis 8 years
i'll have to try this - i'm always looking for new ways to switch up my cardio since it's my least favorite part of working out!
Best Workouts For a Rest Day
Cardio Workout Beginner Treadmill
The Class by Taryn Toomey Experience
CrossFit Annie Workout
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds