Exercising at home is a great way to make the most of your time if you’re very busy, and it means you can avoid the cost of a gym membership.
However, if you are heading to the gym, one of the most popular machines is the elliptical trainer or cross trainer, but many people don’t use it correctly and fail to get the most out of this versatile machine.
Here are five ways to get more out of the elliptical machine to maximize your calorie burn while adding fun to your routine!
1. Keep Your Interest Up
Overcoming boredom on the elliptical can be the biggest challenge of all, but you can take advantage of the technological options available to make your workout more fun.
Many machines at gyms these days have screens where you can watch TV or go online, as well as places where you can place your tablet to check emails, read magazines or watch your own downloads.
However, it’s important not to slack off and become half-hearted about the exercise you’re doing, as technique is often something that gets left behind when we get too distracted.
A good way to keep it interesting while also making sure you don’t lose focus is to set your elliptical to a programmed route.
Some machines even have interactive trails where you can ‘walk’ along the mountains of New Zealand or the rocky landscapes of Utah to give you nice views while you work out.
2. Perfect Your Elliptical Posture
Don’t slouch on the elliptical machine – standing up straight helps to lengthen your abs, giving you a chance to engage your core and work your upper body.
Elliptical machines with an upper-body component help you to engage your arm muscles, but if there isn’t anything to move with your arms, then just let go!
Research suggests that holding onto the stable handles reduces calorie burn, whereas going hands-free while you keep your posture forces you to try and balance while you move, which helps to engage your core and works your stomach muscles more.
Another elliptical mistake is putting too much pressure on your toes which can make your feet go numb and cut your workout short.
Instead, sit back into your heels, which allows large muscle groups in your butt and thighs to work harder and gives you the stamina to go for longer.
3. Go Backwards
Going backward doesn’t just stop you from getting bored; it also changes which large muscle groups are working hardest.
While moving forwards works your quads, going backward emphasizes your hamstrings and glutes – meaning super toned legs and more calorie-burning lean muscle!
To maximize this effect, sit back slightly and keep your toes at a 90-degree angle as you stride.
4. Add Intervals
Intervals are a great way to break up the monotony of the machine and maximize your calorie burn.
You can do this by leaving the resistance steady and changing your pace, such as going fast for a minute and then keeping a moderate speed for 4 minutes, or maintaining the same speed and changing your resistance, such as opting for a challenging resistance for a minute and then a more moderate resistance for 4 minutes.
If keeping track of minutes isn’t your thing, a great suggestion if you’re listening to music is to go at a moderate speed or resistance during the verse of a song and then really push yourself during the chorus.
Then there are also the options of going backward and forwards, so maybe for two or three minutes in each direction and continuously swapping, or sometimes working your upper body with the arm bars and sometimes letting go to work your abs more.
5. Mix Up Your Machines
Although the elliptical machine can provide a good full-body workout, you shouldn’t make the mistake of heading straight for it every time you enter the gym or sticking to it for your entire workout. Instead, you should supplement your routine with weight training and other cardio equipment, such as the rowing machine or treadmill.
Making sure you incorporate variety keeps your body from getting used to a single movement and also continues to help you build muscle mass – which, in turn, will keep your metabolism boosted.
An ideal typical workout would be to warm up on any of the cardio machines for ten minutes, work individual sets of muscles using the weight machines and then finish with 30 to 45 minutes of cardio, mixing it up between the rowing machine, the elliptical machine, the treadmill, and the stationary bikes, or even an exercise class like Zumba or aerobics.
Not only will your workout be less monotonous, but you’ll also feel and see the benefits more.
Exercise is an important part of your new healthy lifestyle. However, if you need an extra boost of energy to help you get motivated to work out, we recommend the weight loss supplement Phen Caps, which works to give you energy and enhance your metabolism so that you’ll have more motivation to exercise, plus better results with the hard work that you put in on the elliptical machine!
So, do you now feel ready to take on the elliptical machine and give yourself a more challenging and beneficial workout? Let us know by commenting below!