7 Tips to Get the Best Elliptical Workouts

Elliptical Trainers

elliptical exercises to tone up the body

How do you get the best elliptical workouts as a beginner? If you have just ordered your first elliptical machine or thinking about snapping up one, you are right to be curious.

No matter how large your budget is, an elliptical machine won't work ​out your body by itself.

The elliptical is probably the least respected fitness equipment on the market today. Right from the very first day they were introduced on the market, many fitness buffs have always looked at it with contempt in their eyes.

Somehow, it has managed to give the misconception of being an easy way out for those who are lazy and don’t want to put in any effort in the gym.

However, detailed research has shown that the elliptical is better than the People’s Choice (treadmills) in so many ways. From burning more calories to strengthening core muscles, elliptical trainers have proven to have lots of advantages over treadmills.

In fact, a quick glance at the side-by-side comparison between elliptical machines and treadmills puts all doubts to bed.

Keep in mind that these cross trainers are quite sophisticated meaning your techniques have to be spot-on in order to get the best results.

Here are the top tips on how to get the best elliptical workouts.

1. Have a Plan

How do you expect a meaningful effect on the body when you have no idea what you want from a workout? Before you hit “start”, having a detailed objective is always critical.

Reflect on the exact goal you have outlined for the day and work out accordingly. This allows you to completely immerse yourself in the session keeping all distractions at bay.

It also helps you put in the necessary effort to guarantee minimal results. The rule of thumb in every workout is, if you aren’t feeling like you are on the edge, then you are probably not working hard enough.

For optimum results, take half an hour or so of your time at the beginning of each week to design workout plans for the next 7 days. Think about your goals and areas you are feeling left behind as well as which parts of your body you’d love to see quicker results.

Then design the best possible plan in terms of routines, times, and intensity levels.

As long as you stick to this, you’ll be amazed at the rate at which your body will transform within the next couple of weeks.

2. Don’t Ignore the Handles

elliptical trainer handles are key to effective workouts

There’s a good reason why elliptical trainers come with handlebars and not just pedals, as in the case of traditional upright bikes. Many users are easily tempted to ignore the handlebars altogether and focus on the pedals.

While this isn’t a suicidal idea, it can actually be terrible for your health if your aim is to work out all areas of your body. Remember, the pedals focus on the muscles found in the lower body while the handlebars exert pressure on upper body areas.

Ignoring the handlebars means leaving muscles in your back, abdomen, shoulders, and arms to their fate. This effectively robs the body of the ability to tone muscles and burn maximum numbers of calories

3. Switch Things Up

At the beginning of your journey to fitness, doing the same routines on your elliptical can have a tremendous impact on the body. You’ll probably notice muscles firming up, more calories being burned, and all the resultant aerobic effects.

Over time, the body starts getting used to these routines and begins building up defense mechanisms to ensure little to no effect on them.

This is why it is extremely important to switch things up on a regular basis if you want optimum results for your efforts. Experts recommend engaging in high intensity interval training regularly to give your body that edge it requires.

Fortunately, elliptical machines feature lots of components that can come in handy when you want more challenging and intensive workouts.

From the pedals to handlebars as well as adjustable resistance levels and stride length, there’s no way your routines should stuck up.

Mixing things up also makes exercise sessions more fun and keeps you going for a lot longer. It enables you compete with yourself in order to help you get that significantly strong and leaner body you have always craved.

4. Avoid Distractions and Safety Mistakes

elliptical workout mistakes to avoid

Sure, one of the main reasons why elliptical trainers continue to be much sought-after is the ability to exercise and watch your favorite shows at the same time.

While this can be a good way to keep going for extended periods of time, make sure your focus remains on the workout throughout in order to hit your goals.

Also, make sure you adhere to all the safety recommendations in order to prevent injuries.​

5. Stay Upright

The handlebars on the machine are meant for cross-training movements so your upper body muscles can benefit from your sessions. Slouching forward makes workouts easier and this can be extremely tempting especially for beginners.

But the key to getting optimum results is staying upright with a firm core throughout each session. Slouching can become a hard habit to kick when you get used to it so why would you even want to try it in the first place?

Always keep in mind that anything that makes things easy during workouts usually does not do your body any favors. Whatever routine you undertake, try to avoid shortcuts that can adversely affect your performance and progress.

Avoid propping up your body in any way during elliptical workouts including leaning on the handrails.

This could also affect your posture in the long-run while lowering your ability to get maximum calorie burning and weight loss as well as muscle toning.

6. Increase Resistance Steadily

Most elliptical trainers come with multiple built-in resistance levels. From magnetic to tension resistance, you get to choose your level depending on how fit you are at a particular period.

If you have never worked out in your life, chances are you may be forced to start from the least resistance level.

With consistent workouts, there will come a point in time when the routines get easier for you. This is the point where you need to increase the resistance.

Make sure you move to the next resistance level as soon as you feel your routines are not challenging enough. This is the best way to guarantee your body continues to progress towards extreme fitness.

Also, try to mix up routines between varying degrees of resistance to keep your body fully worked out and in tip top condition.

7. Be Consistent

lady working out on elliptical

You will achieve minimal results if any at all, if you don't workout regularly. This doesn't mean that you should workout 24 hours per day.

However, it is advisable that you exercise about 3-4 times per week with consistency in order to achieve maximum results.