Its no secret the elliptical machine is a gift and a curse. Countless times you’ve probably entered the gym with the idea of hopping on the elliptical for a quick 15 – 30 minute burn-out but you barely break a sweat. Chances are you have not adjusted the resistant settings-and you can definitely maximize your workout better by doing these 5 things;
Vary the incline to really hit your butt muscles.
The higher the incline, the more you work your glutes (butt muscles). You can manually adjust the incline every other minute to go up or down, just to start to get a good feeling for it. Incline normally ranges anywhere from one to 20, so try going up in increments of two each time. Start at zero for a minute, then move up to two, then four, then six, and then come back down. You can vary this ladder, and go all the way up to 20 if you’d like, or even alternate by fives.
Keep your feet flat on the pedals.
Proper form will help you avoid the aches and pains that can creep up when your body isn’t in alignment. Your feet go on the pedals, and your hands hold the bars alongside the machine or at the base of the monitor, depending on the type of elliptical. Be sure to keep a micro bend in your knees and elbows, and remember to keep feet flat against the pedals, as opposed to standing on your toes. Clench your core to keep it engaged, and keep your back straight so your spine is long,
Store a pair of light dumbbells on your machine so you can pause every three minutes or so to do a set of shoulder presses or bicep curls, Berry says. The pause will help you channel your energy into the arm movements and keep proper form during the arm exercises. If you want to lift something heavier, you can always leave your dumbbells near your machine (as long as there is space) so you can pause, hop off, and do your exercises.
Do a high-intensity interval workout.
Most people use the elliptical machine for steady-state cardio exercise, but it’s also a great low-impact tool for interval training. Go for 30 seconds high resistance, then recover for a minute, Berry says. Repeat this for 10 to 20 minutes.
The quick all-out 30 seconds should have you giving your all. Rating your effort on a scale of one to 10, you want to aim for the higher numbers.
Mix in some core exercises.
You may not feel your core throughout your elliptical session, but to keep good form and get the most out of each workout, you want to be sure to keep your abs engaged. To test that, stepping off the elliptical and dropping down to hold a static plank can help remind you how to really engage your abs.
Adding some core exercises is also an easy way to mix up your time on the elliptical.