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5 Best Elliptical Workouts – Beginner to Advanced

best elliptical workouts

Table of Contents

Elliptical machines hold an important place in the fitness community. Whether at the gym or at home, these machines are perfect for cardio exercises.

That’s exactly why we’ve compiled the “best elliptical workouts” for you.

Dr. Aksu, in addition to his medical background, has worked and exchanged views with many fitness trainers and specializes in sports medicine. You can choose the one that is best for you from these 5 different workout plans and apply it to your routine.
If you don’t have an elliptical machine yet, check out our “Best Elliptical Machines” list here.

We’ve got a couple of quick reminders to ensure you’re squeezing every last drop of goodness out of these workouts. So, buckle up, grab a sip of water, and let’s get ready to sweat!

How Do I Use An Elliptical Machine?

When using an elliptical machine, it may appear simple, but there are important tips to remember for a safe and effective workout. This step-by-step guide will help you get the most out of your exercise routine while staying comfortable and injury-free.

Warming Up

It’s important to warm up your muscles and get your body ready for exercise before you begin your main workout. Start by pedaling at a low intensity for 5-10 minutes to gradually raise your heart rate and loosen up your muscles.

Adjust Your Settings

Please take a moment to customize the settings of the elliptical machine to fit your body and fitness level. Adjust the resistance level and incline (if available) to a level that feels comfortable for you. Also, ensure that the foot pedals are positioned correctly for your stride length.

Maintain Proper Posture

Make sure you stand tall with your shoulders relaxed, engage your core, and keep your chest up. Look straight ahead and try not to lean on the handlebars, as it can make your workout less effective.

Start Pedaling

Begin pedaling in a smooth, fluid motion, pushing through your heels to engage your glutes and hamstrings. Avoid locking your knees at the bottom of the pedal stroke, and instead, maintain a slight bend to reduce stress on the joints.

Engage Your Upper Body

Coordinate the movement of your arms and legs to create a natural, rhythmic motion. This helps to increase calorie burn and provides a full-body workout.

Monitor Your Intensity

Pay attention to your heart rate and perceived exertion throughout your workout to ensure you’re working at an appropriate intensity level. Aim to maintain a challenging yet sustainable pace, adjusting the resistance and incline as needed.

Cool Down and Stretch

Once you’ve completed your elliptical workout, take a few minutes to gradually reduce your intensity and allow your heart rate to return to normal. This also protects you from sudden hypotension that develops after activity. Finish off with some gentle stretching to help prevent muscle tightness and improve flexibility.

5 Best Elliptical Workouts

Now that we have learned the basic information about how to use elliptical machines, which may be boring for you but I owe it to you to explain, let’s review the workouts one by one.

Quick Tip: The workouts are prepared assuming your elliptical machine has 16 resistance settings. If your elliptical machine has fewer or more resistance options, you can make adjustments in proportion.

1. Elliptical Workout For Fat Loss

As we discussed in our previous articles, fat loss solely depends on calorie intake and output. So, without proper diet and calorie monetization, you will not be able to lose fat in your body even with these workouts.

Our “Elliptical Workout For Fat Loss” workout aims to burn as many calories in a short period of time.

Workout 1
Workout DifficultyBeginner, Intermediate
Workout GoalFat Loss – Weight Loss
Workout TimeTotal of 38 minutes (Includes warm-up and cooldown)
Warm-Up4 minutes at 4/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Interval 14 minutes at 8/16 resistance level ( Moderate Pace)
Interval 22 minutes at 2/16 resistance level (Active Resting)
Interval 34 minutes at 6/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Interval 43 minutes at 12/16 resistance level (Moderate Pace)
Interval 52 minutes at 4/16 resistance level (Active Resting)
Cool Down4 minutes at 2/16 resistance level (Low Pace)

Repeat intervals 2 times to get 38 minutes of workout.

Elliptical Workout For Fat Loss

2. Elliptical Workout For Seniors

Ellipticals are five-star cardio machines for seniors. They owe this to being more joint-friendly than other cardio equipment such as treadmills.

Regular physical activity (PA) acts as a shield against noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. It’s also linked to enhanced mental health, delaying the onset of dementia, and elevating overall quality of life and well-being.

Birgitta Langhammer, 1 Astrid Bergland, 2 and Elisabeth Rydwik 3 , 4

The Importance of Physical Activity Exercise among Older People
Workout 2
Workout DifficultyBeginner
Workout GoalCardiovascular Health
Workout TimeTotal of 28 minutes (Includes warm-up and cooldown)
Warm-Up4 minutes at 2/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Interval 14 minutes at 4/16 resistance level ( Low Pace)
Interval 22 minutes at 6/16 resistance level (Low to Moderate Pace)
Interval 34 minutes at 2/16 resistance level (Active Resting)
Cool Down4 minutes at 2/16 resistance level (Low Pace)

Repeat intervals 2 times to get 28 minutes of workout.

Elliptical Workout For Seniors

3. Elliptical HIIT Workout

“High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT),  features short bursts of high-intensity exercise (usually lasting one to four minutes) interspersed with periods of lower-intensity activity or rest.”

(Harvard Health)

If we want to do an effective HIIT exercise, we need to keep our heart rate at a sub-optimal level (75%-85% of maximal HR) for a few minutes and then reduce our heart rate in a controlled manner.

Workout 3
Workout DifficultyIntermediate – Advanced
Workout GoalWeight Loss – HIIT
Workout TimeTotal of 38 minutes (Includes warm-up and cooldown)
Warm-Up4 minutes at 4/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Interval 11 minute at 14/16 resistance level (High Pace)
Interval 22 minutes at 6/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Interval 31 minute at 12/16 resistance level (High Pace)
Interval 42 minutes at 6/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Cool Down4 minutes at 2/16 resistance level (Low Pace)

Repeat intervals 5 times to get 38 minutes of workout.

hiit elliptical workout

How To Calculate Sub-Optimal Heart Rate

To calculate your sub-optimal heart rate first you need to calculate your “Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax)”. Here is the formula for HRmax:

220 – (your age) = HRmax (bpm)

Let’s say you are 40 years old. Your maximum heart rate would be 180 according to this formula. To be successful in HIIT exercises, you must reach 75-85% of your maximum heart rate in high-intensity sets. So for a 40-year-old person, this corresponds to approximately 144bpm.

Remember, these values are estimates. And it may differ from person to person. Those with cardiovascular disease should definitely seek help from a healthcare professional.

Best Elliptical Under $500

Niceday elliptical machine 2 e1710713891148

Niceday Elliptical Machine, Elliptical Exercise Machine for Home with Hyper-Quiet Magnetic Driving System

Brand: Niceday
Model Name: CT11S
Style: Classic Elliptical CT11S
Color: Brown
Material: Commercial steel
Dimensions: 41.54″D x 15.04″W x 23.82″H
Weight Capacity: 400 Pounds
Stride Length: 15.5 Inches
Item Weight: 105 Pounds
Resistance Levels: 16

We may earn commission fees from purchases you make through our links. This helps us continue our work and enjoy doing it.

4. 20-Minute Elliptical Workout

This workout plan is for those who don’t have much time. Or perhaps it may be a good choice for those who do not want to complete their cardio training only on the elliptical machine.

Workout 4
Workout DifficultyBeginner
Workout TimeTotal of 20 minutes (Includes warm-up and cooldown)
Warm-Up2 minutes at 4/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Interval 14 minutes at 6/16 resistance level ( Moderate Pace)
Interval 23 minutes at 8/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Interval 32 minutes at 10/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Interval 43 minutes at 8/16 resistance level (Moderate Pace)
Interval 54 minutes at 6/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Cool Down2 minutes at 2/16 resistance level (Low Pace)

You only need to do intervals once for a 20-minute workout

20 minutes elliptical workout

5. Elliptical Workout For Runners

Although treadmills will always remain the first choice for runners, ellipticals can be just as effective as treadmills. Of course, since long-distance runners are more professional and athletic than normal people, we planned our workout plan accordingly.

Note: This workout is designed for runners. It can be challenging for untrained people.

Workout 5
Workout DifficultyAdvanced
Workout GoalFor Runners
Workout TimeTotal of 60 minutes (Includes warm-up and cooldown)
Warm-Up4 minutes at 4/16 resistance level (Low Pace)
Interval 16 minutes at 8/16 resistance level ( Moderate Pace)
Interval 24 minutes at 10/16 resistance level (Moderate Pace)
Interval 33 minutes at 12/16 resistance level (High Pace)
Cool Down4 minutes at 4/16 resistance level (Low Pace)

Repeat intervals 4 times to get 60 minutes of workout.

elliptical workout for runners

FAQ

1. How Long Should You Workout on an Elliptical?

To get the most out of your elliptical workout, it’s important to consider your fitness level, goals, and schedule. A good starting point is to aim for around 20-30 minutes per session. This will help you gain cardiovascular benefits and efficiently burn calories.

If you are an experienced athlete as I mentioned above you can work out for longer times.

2. Are Ellipticals Good for Losing Belly Fat?

Engaging in elliptical workouts can definitely help with losing fat all over your body, even in your abdominal area. It’s important to note that targeting fat loss in specific areas, like the abdomen, is not feasible. To effectively reduce belly fat, it’s best to mix regular elliptical training with a healthy diet and strength training.

3. Is 30 Minutes of Elliptical a Day Enough?

Engaging in thirty minutes of elliptical exercise daily is a great way to boost heart health and burn calories. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of your workout, as well as factors such as diet and lifestyle, play a key role in achieving desired results.

4. Is It OK to Use Elliptical Every Day?

For most people, it is completely fine and beneficial to use the elliptical machine every day. It’s important to mix up your workouts to avoid strain on your body. Be sure to pay attention to how your body feels and think about adding rest days or trying different types of exercises for better recovery and outcomes.

For people with certain cardiovascular conditions, I think it would be beneficial to consult a healthcare professional.

5. How Long Does It Take to Burn 500 Calories on an Elliptical?

Burning 500 calories on an elliptical machine can differ based on factors such as your weight, workout intensity, and metabolism. Usually, it takes approximately 45-60 minutes of medium to high-intensity elliptical exercise to achieve this calorie-burning goal.

6. Does Elliptical Shape Your Body?

When you do elliptical workouts, you’re working out multiple muscles like your legs, arms, glutes and core. This can help you tone and shape your body. But if you want to see big changes in how your body looks, it’s also important to do strength training and eat a balanced diet.

7. How Soon Do You See Results from Elliptical?

For me, this is a very hard question. First of all, it depends on what you accept as the “result”. If you mean weighing lighter on the scale, this will take at least 1-2 weeks, depending on your weekly exercise count, exercise quality, and diet. What you mean by the result is seeing a visible difference in the mirror. This may take at least about 1 month.

8. What Is a Good Pace on Elliptical?

When using the elliptical, it’s important to find a good balance between pushing yourself and maintaining proper form. Try to find a pace that allows you to keep a consistent rhythm and makes it slightly challenging to talk. Don’t be afraid to adjust the resistance and incline settings to keep things interesting and intensify your workout.

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WHO IS WRITING THE ARTICLES?

Dr. Mehmet Eren Aksu In addition to his medical background, is a big fitness enthusiast. He has been interested in fitness and has been actively doing it for over 7 years. During this time, he had the opportunity to experience using many cardio machines. And he wants to convey these experiences to you, our valued readers.

How this article was written? How we choose the best cardio equipment?

We take help from AI in certain parts of the articles. This does not mean that our choices and evaluations are made with AI. We strictly hand-pick the best equipment and single product evaluations.

WHY WE COMPILE THE BEST CARDIO EQUIPMENT FOR YOU?

We are aware of how difficult and long a process it is to find equipment according to your needs. As Healthy Bodies 101, we want to help you in the purchasing and evaluation process by minimizing this process.

We may earn commission fees from purchases you make through our links. This helps us continue our work and enjoy doing it.

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