Coveted by women everywhere, the elliptical is a low-impact cardio machine that is built to simulate the movements of your joints while running – like a treadmill without the impact and knee pain. Waiting in line at your school gym for one of these gems can be totally worth it, benefits of elliptical machines include a workout for both upper and lower body, decreasing your risk of osteoporosis, enhancing your body’s metabolic rate, and more – below are a few ways to maximize your elliptical workout.

Keep your head and back as upright as possible

We’ve been hearing it from our mothers for years, posture, posture, posture. The same is true when it comes to your workout position on an elliptical machine, which is most efficient when your joints are aligned as it is made to mimic your body’s natural movements while running. Stooping your head or back causes your joints extra impact, not to mention putting your head down also decreases the amount of oxygen you can intake into your lungs. So head up, shoulders back, back straight, and go!

Turn up the resistance in intervals

We’ve all been there, you’re midway through your elliptical session, you’re on high resistance and you feel like you’re treading through molasses, when the girl next to you is racing like the wind with her level one interval, and then she looks over at your machine like she’s winning.

First of all, everyone is winning. You’re working out and helping your body at your own pace. Second, she’s not actually doing anything.

A light as air resistance is great for warming up and cooling down, but in the long run you’re only pushing the weight of the pedals, which makes your workout a lot less efficient as a whole.

To get the best out of your workout, increase your resistance every few minutes, and include one minute of your highest resistance before putting it back down to medium or light resistance. This works similarly to when you increase speed or incline on a treadmill, only it minimizes impact.

Wear good shoes

While this may seem like a juvenile solution, it’s crucial. Your foot is stationary on the pedals, so if your footwear isn’t cutting it, the pedals will – into your heel. Elliptical blister syndrome can be easily avoided, by making sure your arch is supported with comfortable but snug running or athletic sneakers.

Switch up your routine

An elliptical involves simple movements, so your body with adjust and figure them out with time, reducing your efficiency. A great way to break the cycle and shock your body into working for better results is to play with the settings, most elliptical machines include settings like hills, “random,” and endurance.

If you’re starting to feel like you’re on a hamster wheel, the “random” setting that changes resistance at will may be your solution to workout bordem and stagnation. Endurance is great if you’re working out for 30-45 minutes, which is crucial because elliptical workouts are more efficient with longer periods of time, unless you’re doing interval sprints on high resistance. Take it at your own pace!

What do you think?

Do you workout on ellipticals? What is your favorite routine? Let us know in the comments section below!


  1. avatar sexymeals says:

    To write that the girl who uses an elliptical at minimum intensity and high speed is “not actually doing anything” is a BOLD untruth.

    Pedaling on an elliptical at lower intensity, higher speed, and longer time will actually promote leaner muscle. Pedaling on high intensity will build up the leg muscles much more quickly, which isn’t necessarily bad either. If you’ve got a lot of fat on your legs, it’s probably best to begin on low intensity. Once you’ve slimmed down your legs and can actually see how much muscle is there, you should decide whether to build them up or not!

  2. avatar Barb says:

    Always be over 150 pedals a minute. In college, I was level 5 and 180 per minute. Go backwards for 2-3 minutes every 10-15 minutes. I do feel I lost the most weight running after 25-30 minutes on the elliptical.

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