What are the Best Elliptical Workouts for Beginners?

Elliptical trainers are very popular amongst beginners for several reasons. First of all, they’re quite straightforward. You simply get on the machine and start walking. The machine will smoothly guide your steps accordingly. They’re good for those who may be overweight or not in the best shape. It also allows movement with virtually zero impact. This is good for people with bone or joint problems or those who may be packing a few extra pounds. And because they incorporate your upper body as well, you get a full-body workout when using an elliptical. If using one sounds interesting and you’re wondering what is the best elliptical workouts for beginners, we’ve put together this article.

High Intensity Interval Training

Also known as HIIT, high-intensity interval training is one of the more recent methods of exercising. It’s used to maximize the burning of calories in a short amount of time. Instead of spending 40 minutes or an hour of steady-state cardio exercise, HIIT programs are usually no longer than 20 minutes long. You basically alternate between short bursts of high-intensity action followed by a longer period of lower-intensity work which acts as a rest period. HIIT can be utilized by beginners because the exerciser is able to choose the intensity of their motions. As you progress you can increase your intensity accordingly.

Using the Incline Function

Increasing the incline of the elliptical can also increase the intensity of the overall workout. This ensures you’re never left unchallenged in your elliptical exercise program. Once you’ve reached a plateau you can increase the incline until the exercise feels challenging again. You can also increase the incline every couple of minutes during a workout to make it increasingly difficult as you go on.

Using the Resistance Function

Some elliptical machines also have a resistance function which makes the pedals more difficult to move. The higher you set the resistance; the more muscle that will need to be involved in the movement. It’s often best to begin adjusting either the resistance or the incline and not both at the same time. As you become more used to the workouts, you can experiment with combinations of incline and resistance.

Going Backwards

It’s also possible to move backward in the elliptical to isolate a different set of muscles. Instead of most of the work being done by your quadriceps, pedaling backward puts more emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings. You can do entire sets backward or alternate between forwards and backward within the same set.

Isolating the Core

It’s possible to isolate the core muscles by doing elliptical exercises without holding onto the handles. To maintain balance without using your hands, the core muscles need to be integrated into the motions. As you increase your speed your abs become even more involved in stabilization. Using the elliptical in this way makes it very similar to a treadmill but without the associated impact.

The Importance of Starting Off Slow

It’s only human nature to be excited about a new activity. However, quite often this can lead to overdoing it at the beginning. And when this happens it becomes much more likely that the activity doesn’t become a regular part of a routine. This is why it’s important to start off slow and work up to longer and more difficult levels of exertion. If you haven’t done much exercise in the past, limit your elliptical use to 10-minute sessions, to begin with. Have a rest day after each workout day. As you become more accustomed to using the elliptical you can start to increase the lengths of your sessions to 30 minutes and try to exercise four or five days a week. Starting off with moderation makes it more likely that you’ll continue your workouts on a regular basis.

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