We’ve talked about the importance of adding cardio into your fitness regimen in this post here, yet treadmill runs are not the only way to do this. Elliptical trainers are a great way as well to get in a great calorie burning cardio workout.

The great thing about elliptical machines is that they are so versatile.  They offer a low-impact workout, yet they are using more muscles with each stride compared to treadmills or exercise bikes so they are also offering a muscle toning effect on top of the cardio workout you are getting.

Elliptical trainers can leave you with quite a challenging sweat session workout in a short amount of time, if you are doing it right that is, so be sure to check out this article on mistakes to avoid when it comes to your elliptical workouts.

No matter what your focus may be, muscle toning or pure cardio, elliptical trainers can do just that for you. I found some great workout tips on FitSugar.com, which you can check out the article here. The workout tips all vary depending on your specific focus, so follow these workouts all adapted from FitSugar.com as well, to get the most out of your elliptical workout depending on your focus:

Focus Is Cardio. When cardio is your main goal, you are going to want to make sure you are paying attention to the strides per minute (SPM), this is “the number of times your legs go around.” Conveniently the elliptical already tracks this for you; you just need to make sure you are staying within that cardio burning, target heart rate range.

Although this range will vary depending on the person and their fitness level, FitSugar recommends keeping the range between 140 and 160. We do suggest doing sprint intervals to get the most benefit from your cardio and the highest calorie burn in a shorter amount of time, and this is where they recommend keeping your SPM above 160 on those sprint intervals. Try this 30-Minute Elliptical Interval Workout to get your heart revved and calories burning!

Focus is Core. If you are looking to tone your core during your elliptical workout, let go of the handles. Going hands free will work and tone your core by challenging your sense of balance.

You have to tighten and work your core muscles more this way to stay up right while continuing to pedal your feet. Yet make sure this is not affecting your posture or this will only defeat the purpose, make sure you are standing up right still and maintaining good posture. Check out Elliptical Core Workout to tone those abs in no time!

Focus is Booty. Working the incline is going to work your backside, including your glutes and hamstrings. You can either keep the incline at an increased level the whole time, or FitSugar suggests combining intervals into your incline workout by increasing the angle for 2 to 3 minutes, followed by a 2 to 3 minute lower incline. Also pressing more on your heels with each stride is going to work your backside a little more as well. Here is a great Incline Booty Workout to tone that tush!

Focus is Thighs. If you want to tone your thighs you are going to need to pay more attention to your feet striking. If you want to tone the front of your thighs, such as your quads, you need to press more with your toes with each pedal. If you want to tone your hamstrings and booty more, press more on your heels as your pedal like we mentioned above.

Pedaling backwards is another great way to tone your glutes and hamstrings. Mix it up with forward and backward pedals, to trim and tone your whole thigh.

Focus is Full Body. Be sure to use your arms and legs equally. Pedaling, forward and backwards as we mentioned above, is going to work your thighs. Pushing the handles works your pecs, while pulling the handles works your lats. You can also switch off with using no hands for a few minutes to get a tight core workout as well. Here is a great workout that switches off hands and no hands, backwards forwards pedaling, to give you an all-around Full Body Elliptical Workout.

Vary these workouts each week to help you target every body part while still getting your heart rate up and getting your cardio fix in! Try some of the workouts and let us know what you think!


What is your favorite body part to work out on the elliptical?

What is your favorite elliptical workout? Have any good ones to share?!


Written By: Jentry