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Elliptical Workouts For All Levels

Elliptical Workouts For the Beginner to the Advanced

The elliptical is a mainstay in the gym for good reason: it's easy on the joints and it provides a great cardio and total-body workout. But let's face it, the elliptical can also get pretty boring and repetitive. Instead of spending 30 mindless minutes on the machine, maximize your time with one of these 15 workouts. Whether you're a beginner, you're looking for a high-intensity interval workout, or you want to challenge different muscle groups, there's an elliptical workout for you. There's even one for those of you who love the treadmill!

  1. Beginner: If you're new to the elliptical machine — or working out in general — try this beginning elliptical workout. It uses all the different features of the machine, which gives you an idea of what it can do. By pedaling forward, you work your quads, and going backward targets the hamstrings and booty. Focus on pushing the handles to tone your chest, while pulling the handles will work your upper back. Challenge your core stability by letting go of the handles while keeping your pace steady.
  2. Start strong, finish strong: This beginner-friendly hour-long elliptical workout varies speed and incline for an effective workout.
  3. Booty workout: Target glutes and hamstrings by playing with the incline on the elliptical. This elliptical booty workout will help you tone your backside while also getting a good cardio workout. Target your glutes by focusing on keeping your heels down while on the machine.
  4. Core workout: To work your core while on the elliptical, just let go. Not using the handles in this elliptical core workout helps engage all the muscles of your core as you work harder to stay balanced on the machine. The faster you can go, the more you'll work your core in this.
  5. Just like the treadmill: For times when you can't find an empty treadmill at the gym, try this elliptical treadmill workout. The workout comes close to mimicking what running on a treadmill feels like and may even help even out your stride. To really feel like you're on a treadmill, don't hold onto the handles; keep your arms in a running position.
  6. Two-machine workout: Or if the idea of the treadmill bores you, get a fun workout on the other cardio machines at your gym. This stationary bike and elliptical workout will leave you sweaty without the run.
  7. Short on time: When you don't have a lot of time, try this short interval elliptical workout. It's only 22 minutes long (including warmup and cooldown) and features really short and effective intervals. Using quick intervals makes the workout intense and is great for burning calories.
  8. Shorter intervals: One way to push the interval envelope is to decrease the amount of rest time between your bouts of sprinting. By shortening your recovery time, you're pushing your anaerobic threshold and strengthening your cardiovascular system. Sound good? Then try this elliptical interval shrinking recovery workout.
  9. Total body: This 30-minute elliptical workout targets your entire body while also getting your heart rate up.

  1. Intervals: Do this elliptical interval workout when you only have 30 minutes to spare. It's the best way to get the most out of a short amount of time.
  2. Lunchtime workout: A quick workout you can fit in during your lunch break is one you have no excuse to miss. This 30-minute lunchtime workout ensures that you have enough time to freshen up in the locker room.
  3. Get in, get out: Need to go even shorter? Try this 20-minute interval workout to get in and out fast. The intense intervals ensure you're still giving your body a solid workout.
  4. Rock out: Set your workout to a soundtrack with this one-hour elliptical workout with playlist. You switch speeds with each song so you'll never be bored for the 60 minutes.
  5. Rock out again: If that playlist isn't your style, here's another hour-long workout set to music.
  6. Girl power: Channel all your strength and let it out with this killer elliptical workout with a girl power playlist.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
Join The Conversation
staple-salad staple-salad 3 years

Maybe my gym has a different measurement of strides, but how do you get to 120+ strides per minute? If I completely let go of all control and make the machine do the work and move at what feels like super-human speeds I can get it up to about 100.

EDIT: Just discovered that some machines measure strides, others measure revolutions. I'm guessing mine does revolutions... so when it says 100, it would be 200SPM. Hope this helps others. :)

maryo125 maryo125 3 years

I found that when I used to get on an elliptical, I would get bored quickly and 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:

stilllearning2b stilllearning2b 5 years
The elliptical is my go-to machine for Tabate intervals (20 sec work followed by 10 sec rest for 8 cycles).  I'm on and off the machine in 10 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down.  I have had better fat burning results from these than from my long (1-2 hour) runs.  They seem easy, but trust me, they are intense!
RVASarah RVASarah 6 years
The LOVE the elliptical! If only I had one of my own...
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