I don’t have consistent access to an elliptical machine, but when I do, I really love them. I hope people who use them consistently don’t get stuck in a boring rut on them because there really is a lot you can do with them to take it up a notch and mix it up. I love how easy the elliptical is on the body, and how you can engage your upper body as well.
Who Can Benefit
This article reaches out to everyone. If you’re a fitness beginner/intermediate who is trying to better your health and your body, the elliptical machine is a great machine to use because it’s easy on your joints, burns calories, and engages many areas of your body. If you’re a veteran body builder or fitness enthusiast you can benefit, too. This machine is a great way to suck the extra fat off your body while taking it easy on your joints and bones that already take a lot of stress from your exercise routine.
Get Your Hands On Those Handles
Put down the book or magazine or get your hands off anything other than the handles that move back and forth. These handles are there for a reason! Using your upper body helps you burn more calories, but also helps stretch and tone your arms. I take it up another notch. Set the elliptical machine at a pretty solid resistance.
Really focus on using your chest and back to push and pull those levers back and forth. Feel like you’re making the machine move with only your upper body and you can really get the blood pumping. Sometimes it makes it easier to focus on one motion at a time. I like to lean forward and focus on the push for 15 reps and then lean back and focus on the pull.
Different Hand Positions
This may seem minor, but moving your hands up and down the handles helps you target slightly different areas. Grab up high and your pull with your shoulders. Grab way down low and you’re using those back muscles. It may seem minor, but when you move those hands and really squeeze and focus on the different areas I bet you’ll notice the difference.
Forward / Backward / Sideways
Obviously we all run forward, but make sure you take time to run backwards as well. Additionally, I love to twist my feet so that my lower body is sideways. Now instead of just focusing on one specific group of leg muscles you’re firing different areas than normal, which is awesome for making your stronger.
Run With A Twist
Be careful, don’t go falling off the machine, but give this a try. One thing the elliptical doesn’t do nearly as well as running does is to get your core going. This is the only time I will tell you to take your hands off the handles, but don’t place them anywhere else. Don’t hold anything. While you run, twist your torso back and forth. You’ll notice that you start to feel your abs and are working all those little balance muscles in your feet and calves.
Don’t Be Afraid To Hop Off And Get Back On
This is a big time favorite of mine. I like to use the best elliptical machine as a basis for a great circuit training type workout. I’ll hop on the elliptical and get going for 5 minutes. Then I’ll hop off, do a set of pull-ups and then a set of push-ups and then hope back on the elliptical for another 5 minutes before getting off and doing the same.
When I’ve finished 4 or 5 rounds of the elliptical with various exercises in the gaps in between I’ll end with a core workout. It’s a fantastic workout that takes about 40-45 minutes and really gets you going. The key is to not look at your time off the elliptical as a break. Do your exercises and get right back on!
About the Author
Cooper Elling is passionate about health, fitness & blogging. When he’s not working out he writes about Sono Bello, cooking, and a myriad of other topics.