Elliptical Machine: Tips Plus Workout Roundup!


I had big plans to take a Pure Barre Platform class yesterday. Big plans I tell you!

But, as I mentioned in Thursday’s post, the Pure Barre Platform class for yesterday was sold out. The wait list was full and even though I checked for a spot through Saturday afternoon, one never popped up open for me.

I was beyond bummed. Really!

Not only did I want to take this class as part of my What’s Next Plan for after half marathon training, I wanted to review it for you today < – perfect example as to why setting an editorial calendar may not always work for you.

Anyway. Moving on and getting over my Pure Barre sadness, I do have another cross-training post for us today!

Laura actually sparked this post idea last week when she needed to do some extra cross-training on the elliptical machine. She actually asked ME how I make the elliptical work so well for me and how do I keep from getting bored while getting a great cross-training workout in? This is why I love her – she knows so so much about running and fitness yet isn’t afraid to ask others for guidance!

Some people hate the elliptical machine. Some people claim that the elliptical cannot give you a good, quality cardio workout.

I beg to differ. When used correctly and with purpose, you can absolutely achieve a sweaty workout on the elliptical!

elliptical workout roundup

3 Quick Elliptical Machine Tips:

1. Do not hold on!

Holding on to any cardio machine alleviates the impact of your workout by relying on the machine as support and assistance.

One trick I learned a while back is if you feel the need to hold onto something, grasp the bottom of your shirt with both hands.

Try it, it works!

2. Constantly check in with yourself and RE-ENGAGE!

I can still hear Ernie, my favorite spin instructor shouting during spin class back in the day, RE-ENGAGE!. He screamed this term constantly throughout the class to keep our minds focused on what we were doing so that we don’t let ourselves wander off.

When your mind wanders, you tend to relax a bit during your workout thereby not consistently pushing and working up to your ability or even past your ability.

It is very easy to get by on the elliptical without even working up a sweat.

You can coast yourself along to get in you 30 minutes a day BUT if you remain focused, constantly RE-ENGAGE, speed up your feet, increase your intensity and do the work, you absolutely can achieve an amazing sweat and cardio session without the impact on your joints.

3. Mix It Up!

Every elliptical machine is different but among all of those techy buttons resides the options for changing interval levels and resistance.

I always set the elliptical machine to the random setting which plays around with the interval levels for me. As the levels change from uphill, to downhill back to uphill,  I change pedaling direction as well as increase/decrease resistance levels throughout the workout.

Fun Elliptical Workouts:

Over the years, I came up with these engaging and fun elliptical workouts.

Feel free to pin these workouts directly from this post OR click on the links to learn more about each elliptical workout and then pin from there. Please let me know if you try one of these workouts!

40- Minute Elliptical Workout (with hills & speed)

elliptical workout

Elliptical Workout with Strength Segment – I cannot find my post for this workout but the infographic below definitely explains what you need to do to get a great mix of both cardio and strength all in one!

elliptical workout

30 Minute Cardio Burning Elliptical Workout

30 Minute Cardio Burning Workout

Mix It Up in the gym by warming up on the elliptical and then moving on to alternating a mile on the treadmill with strength segments in between.

progression interval workout

You can get a great workout accomplished on the elliptical machine! #elliptical #crosstrain #workouts #unner #fitlfuential Click To Tweet

Are you a fan of the elliptical machine?

Do you hop from machine to machine in the gym to keep from getting bored?

How was your weekend?! Anything exciting go on?


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  1. says

    I just wrote on Laura’s blog that I was impressed with how much time she was able to spend on the elliptical last week. When I am using it regularly I can get into a groove, but I don’t use it often enough and when I do I feel like each minute drags on forever. I do like playing around with speed and resistance otherwise I get really bored!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…I Guess I’m Still a Distance RunnerMy Profile

    • says

      I don’t use it enough either anymore but I actually welcome the change when it I happen to be on it! I used to get bored but I think playing with the buttons and reminding myself to make it a workout that “works” for me helps to keep me engaged

  2. says

    Way back when I was injured I used the elliptical and arc trainer along with spin here and there and definitely stayed fit for running, although at the time I was unsure. In hindsight though I know I was getting solid workouts. Going in with a plan is important though so this is great!
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…Workouts and Weekend ProjectsMy Profile

  3. says

    I like the elliptical! I actually feel like I get a pretty good workout out of it, as long as the resistance is up and I’m swapping between going forward and backward. I never knew about the shirt trick, though. Definitely trying that out next time I’m on one!
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…currently – may 2016My Profile

  4. says

    I want to try Pure Barre so bad but we don’t have them in Albany. And I am sure if they do come, I would have a similar experience that you did.

    Thank you for all the elliptical workout ideas.

  5. says

    I have never tried the elliptical! Not once. It intimidates me! Whenever I’m injured, I usually just hop on the upright bike. But next time (I hope not for a long time) I’m injured, I’ll come back to this post as a guide and give it a try!
    Suzy recently posted…Mileage Monday: And a HalfMy Profile

  6. Anne says

    I hate the treadmill (I seem to have balance issues with it!), so when I’m stuck inside (which has been most of this winter with all the rain/snow we’ve had in DC…), I’ll mix up the elliptical with Jillian Michaels’ workouts (along with yoga/Pilates, which I alternate with running). Thanks for these workouts/tips–I get bored on the elliptical!

  7. says

    My joints can be kind of wonky, so low-impact is often a good choice for me. I’ve learned to really like the elliptical, and I make up fun little workouts for it a lot! I love that shirt tip. I’ve always known that holding onto cardio machines is “cheating”, but I never felt like I could do much of anything on an elliptical without holding onto something, so I’m definitely going to try that!
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Wanderlust 108 + ReflectionMy Profile


  1. […] preferred cross-training at the moment is the elliptical, and yesterday Meredith shared several good elliptical workouts for runners. If I become completely intolerant of the elliptical, there are also some spin bikes and spin […]