I know plenty of people who love their elliptical trainers—and there is plenty of reason to. The elliptical mimics the motion of walking or running but with very little impact on the joints. That means it's more comfortable for you to get your heart rate up and get really sweaty. Whether you want to go easier, go harder, or something in between, a standard elliptical has plenty of options for you.
But following the same elliptical programs day in and day out can make your elliptical workout turn stale—and hurt your results. So I developed a fun interval-style workout that'll challenge you and help pass the time. With frequent changes in speed and resistance, your workout will fly by—and you'll reap the fat-burning, time-saving, calorie-torching benefits of interval training!
Read below for more information to get the most out of this elliptical workout.
Get the Most from This Elliptical Workout
Like any workout, consider this plan a general guide. Use your best judgment and make adjustments to suit your fitness level, energy level, actual elliptical machine and other concerns.
- This workout was created under the assumption that your elliptical cross ramp (also known as grade or incline) is fixed, since not every elliptical is adjustable. So use your fixed ramp level or choose the appropriate incline for your fitness level—usually somewhere between 15 and 40 degrees (higher is harder).
- The workout also uses a scale of 10 resistance levels, although some elliptical machines have more levels (even up to 20). Adjust accordingly (i.e. double the resistance level listed if yours has 20 levels instead of 10).
- SPM stands for Strides Per Minute, a common speed indicator on elliptical consoles. If your elliptical uses revolutions per minute (RPM), simply halve the number indicated. For example, 100 SPM is equal to 50 RPM. Some ellipticals only measure speed in miles or kilometers per hour; there is no accurate way to guess how many strides or revolutions per minute equal one mile, so if you don't have this output, simply increase or decrease speed along with the workout prompts.
- The RPE column is to help you gauge your overall intensity. Once you make the resistance and speed adjustments, your intensity level should line up with the number indicated. This is another scale of 1-10 where 1 is being totally sedentary and 10 is a maximum effort. If your perceived intensity doesn't match up once you adjusted your speed and level, this is your cue to change. If it still feels too easy, increase the level and/or speed, and if your intensity feels much higher than the indicated RPE, reduce speed and/or your level. This will allow you to follow this interval plan and further customize it to your own level.
- Play with direction. If your elliptical trainer goes both forward and backwards, incorporate directional changes into your routine (even though they're not listed here). Set your own interval, such as switching direction every 5 minutes to work your muscles differently and keep your body guessing.