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Gym Time: Elliptical Tips

Elliptical trainers are a gym favorite. Not only is this cardio machine joint friendly, but it is also super versatile. You can go forward and backward, work your arms and legs, or focus on your core. Here a some tips to get the most out of this machine for your next elliptical workout.

  • If your focus is cardio: Focus on your strides per minute. SPM is the number of times your legs go around, a stat the elliptical tracks for you. Try to keep your strides per minute between 140 and 160. If you're doing intervals on the elliptical, make sure your "sprints" are closer to 160.
  • If your focus is toning your thighs: Pay attention to your feet. Pressing more with your heels will work your hamstrings and booty more, while pressing more with your toes will tone your quads on the front of your thighs.
  • If you're short on time: Use your arms and legs equally. To get more bang for your cardio buck, make sure to work your arms as well as your legs. This will help get your heart rate into an intense zone and tone your upper body too.
  • To work your core: Go hands free. Letting go of the handles on the elliptical will challenge your sense of balance and work your core. Make sure to not sway from side to side once you let go of the handles. Place your hands on your hips to monitor your posture.
  • To add strength training to your cardio: Try squats. When moving backward on the elliptical, you can hold a squat position. Don't go into a full squat, but only go about three quarters of the way down. Start by holding the position for 20 seconds and work your way up to holding the partial squat for a full minute.

If these tips inspire you to jump on an elliptical and get moving, check out all of our elliptical cardio workouts.

Image Source: Corbis Images
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