Finding the right piece of exercise equipment can be a tough journey. There are so many options out there that promise to strengthen this and tighten that… it can be frustrating.
Luckily, there is one piece of equipment that works great for people looking for almost any type of workout: an elliptical machine.
Elliptical machines are a great option. Although they may look timid from afar, elliptical machines can provide a great workout for any fitness level, from first-time user to a 24-year old fitness trainer. Whether you want to burn calories, strengthen your heart or build muscles, an elliptical may have just what you need. Here are a few routines that will have your heart pumping in no time:
Although elliptical machines are relatively safe and low-impact, you should start slowly if you haven’t exercised in a while. Even the easiest routines can pose problems for people unfamiliar with how their body responds to vigorous exercise, so it’s best to start light and work your way from there.
Simply enough, just step on the machine and walk or jog at a brisk pace for 15 minutes. This will get you acclimated with the machine. Ellipticals are easy enough to learn, but it may take some time to get used to the motions that your muscles make when you are using one.
Once you are acclimated, try this: start at a low resistance, like level 3, and slowly increase it every three minutes until you reach 7, and then decrease it again until you reach your starting resistance. While you are doing this, pick up your pace as well with every increase. You can even walk backwards for some of the levels if you’d like to work out different muscles.
This will get you more comfortable with the machine and is a great warm up routine before any workout.
A Little More Advanced
After using the elliptical for a few weeks, you may want to switch up your routine and try something new. Ellipticals have a wide range of resistances, so you should experiment and find a routine that’s right for you.
Changing routines every so often — or each time if you really like variety — will not only save you from boredom and keep you motivated, but it will also give you better results. After a while, your body becomes used to the same routine and you will reach a plateau that makes it more difficult to lose weight or gain muscle.
Mix your routine up by going for twice as long, or try doing the same routine in half the time by doubling your pace. You can experiment and find new routines that suit you best. As long as you are moving and staying safe, there is really no way to do it wrong!
Pump Your Heart
One of the best benefits of an elliptical is that you can get your heart pumping quickly. This is great for cardiovascular health and helps keep the blood flowing to your muscles where they can burn calories more efficiently. There are some routines, though, that are better for the heart that others. If you really want to get you heart pumping, try this:
After you warm up, set the resistance somewhere between a 5 and 7, and for five minutes go from 80-100% maximum effort to 40-60% every eight seconds. This will allow you to switch between full effort and medium effort almost eight times every minute. Staggering the effort will give your heart a great workout while still allowing it to rest between.
You can do this in as many five-minute intervals as you like. Make sure you take the time to cool down afterward.
Ellipticals are great for burning calories — up to 400 per half hour — and they can help you lose weight quickly. If you are looking for weight control, here’s a great 30-minute full-body routine that will help you shed pounds.
Warm up for four minutes on low resistance. After this, you will change resistance and effort every two minutes, starting at resistance 5 with no hands at medium effort. Then go: 7, hands, full; 5, medium, no hands; 9, full, hands. Then, for three minutes, go back to 5 at medium effort, but use your hands. Repeat this routine once more for a 30-minute workout that will help you lose weight fast.
Ellipticals provide a great opportunity for people of all fitness levels to enjoy exercise with results.
Dominic Hancock loves his job as a personal trainer. Always the sporty kid at school, Dom knew from a young age that he wanted to work in sports or fitness. In his free time he contributes fitness articles to a selection of online blogs sharing his knowledge.