A Beginner’s Guide to the Elliptical

Why is the elliptical trainer always the most popular equipment in the gym? It builds cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, yet it’s gentle on your joints. And it’s easy to use for everyone!

Running, walking and stair-climbing are all effective cardiovascular exercises. An elliptical trainer simulates those  activities, but in the comfort of a gym or home. An elliptical trainer provides a low-impact workout, so it’s ideal for people recovering from injuries or who suffer from joint pain triggered by more jarring exercises, like running. And you can customize the incline, speed, and resistance of the elliptical machine to continue challenging your upper and lower body. Here are a few hints about to help you get the full benefit of a workout on an elliptical trainer.

Standing upright engages your abdominal muscles, toning them along with arms and legs.

Stand tall. Be aware of your posture. Standing upright engages your abdominal muscles, toning them along with arms and legs.

Pull the arms. Most elliptical machines have moving arms. Be sure to actively push and pull the arms to maximize your workout.

Go backward. Do intervals of pedaling backwards so you work all of your leg muscles. Pedaling backwards also encourages you to distribute the pressure of the down stroke on your heels – instead of your toes. If you find your feet go numb after several minutes on the elliptical, you’re probably putting too much pressure on your toes.

Focus on the exercise. Many people haphazardly pedal the elliptical for 30 minutes while they watch TV or flip through a magazine, and they barely break a sweat. Adjust the resistance until you feel yourself working to move the pedals around. Without resistance, you’re just wasting your time, and you definitely won’t see results.

No matter how fit you are, you can do this simple 25-minute elliptical workout. Try it to discover for yourself how challenging and effective an elliptical workout can be.


Time Resistance Action
0:00 – 5:00 3 Warm Up
5:00 – 6:00 6 Sprint
6:00 – 7:00 4 Recover
7:00 – 8:00 5 Backwards
9:00 – 10:00 4 Recover
10:00 – 15:00 6 Slow but steady
15:00 – 16:00 4 Recover
16:00 – 17:00 5 Sprint
17:00 – 18:00 4 Recover
18:00 – 19:00 6 Backwards
19:00 – 20:00 6 Sprint
20:00 – 25:00 3 Cool Down


Don’t have an elliptical? WIN ONE! ActivewearUSA and XTERRA Fitness are teaming up now so that you’ll have plenty of time to train for your big summer adventure.


Subscribe below to enter the giveaway! If you’re already subscribed, you’re in the giveaway, if not – SUBSCRIBE NOW!

The XTERRA Free Style 5.6e brings home everything you need to take your steps toward accomplishment.

  • 20″ stride length with 2″ Q Factor (distance between pedals)
  • 2 degree inward pedal tilt for knee comfort
  • 20 electronic incline levels




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