The elliptical training machine is oftentimes greatly overlooked by people who visit the gym. It’s perceived to offer very little cardio training and is seen more as leisurely exercise equipment. In fact, many individuals who go to their local gym and want to engage in vigorous exercise tend to use the exercise bike or the treadmill. However, there is mounting evidence that the elliptical can be just as intense as the exercise bike or the treadmill, if not more so.
What most people don’t know is that with the right form and the right mindset the elliptical machine can be a very intensive workout if used properly. Here are a few things that can truly turn the elliptical into an intensive, heart racing, and rewarding workout.
- Set a goal while using the elliptical
It may sound very simple, but it really is that simple. Like everything in life if you set out to accomplish a goal you will make achieving that goal that much easier. When you enter the gym think about how much effort you will put into your workout. Imagine it like a rating system. With 1 being just a simple workout and 5 being an extreme workout. As you step on the elliptical you will exert yourself with maximum effort. If you get on the elliptical with the mindset of exerting yourself you are half way there.
- Use the elliptical properly
For many individuals who use the machine, they simply think that by hopping on the machine they are burning calories and getting a good workout. However, if you’re using incorrect form, such as slouching or not using the handrails properly they will not reap the benefits of the machine. Improper form is one of the main ways that people misuse this machine. By placing your weight on the handrail you trick the machine into thinking you are burning more calories when in reality you aren't burning nearly as much as the machine is showing you are.
- Stay Focused on your training
It is by no means uncommon for gyms to have big televisions. For many individuals when they go to the gym this becomes a huge distraction for them (I know this from personal experiences). This can be the case with the elliptical in your home gym as well. Instead of using the machine properly they will start to shift their focus to whatever may be on the television. It is important that when you exercise that you focus 100% on the training at hand.
- Switch up the routine
The body is an incredible machine in and of itself. If you continue to do the same routine over and over again the body will start to remember that routine and then stop growing stronger as a result. That is why it is important to switch up your routine every time you engage in any form of exercise.
Here are a few routines you can add to your exercise regimen:
- Interval training - This is perhaps one of the best forms of cardio as you will really exert the amount of energy you are using. In interval training you can, for example, exert yourself on the elliptical for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds, then exert yourself again for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Now in resting, it’s not stopping but slowing down.
- Start at a certain pace and as the minutes go by increase the pace - Let’s say for example you start at a moderate pace for the first two minutes to get the body going and the mind ready. After the two minutes, you then increase the pace until it becomes very difficult to use the elliptical. Doing this will make the workout routine much more challenging but as the saying goes, “no pain, no gain”.
These are just some examples...there are many more. However, the purpose of this was to show you that there are different routines that will better improve your workout experience. It is important that when using this machine that you have a clear goal and target. In the end, your body will be tired but the lasting effects will be worth it.