Strip Away Fat With This HIIT Elliptical Workout

This HIIT elliptical workout will push your fitness! HIIT on an elliptical trainer is effective if you can maintain your sprints in the anaerobic zone. Do this by increasing the resistance and the incline on the elliptical machine. When compared with a treadmill, subjects had a similar rating of perceived exertion, oxygen consumption and energy expenditure.

HIIT Elliptical Workout

10 sets 30 secs 90 secs
If you are a beginner, start at about three sets. If you are doing this after your weight training for a metabolic workout, limit it to 5 sets. Once you are finding tha you are recovering in less than 90 seconds, start dropping your recovery to 60 seconds and then 30 seconds.
HIIT Elliptical Workout

Elliptical Warm up:

Elliptical trainers are a cardio machine often used as a warmup for other workouts like strength training, so it’s perfect for raising your body temperature and lubricating your joints to get ready for the exercise. Start with the elliptical on that easiest setting and increase the resistance as you get warmer. Just remember that you will do anaerobic training and sprints in this workout. You don’t want to shock your body in its first sprint. As you get warmer start including some three-quarter pace sprints to get your body used to the exercise. You can spend around five minutes doing your warm up.

elliptical Workout header

Resistance on your elliptical trainer

Elliptical machines have an internal braking mechanism using magnetism in most cases to make the peddling more difficult. The higher you set the resistance level, the harder it will be to peddle. The settings on these machines are arbitrary, each one will be different, so you will need to get to know the machine you’re using. The best way to describe this resistance is by your rating of perceived exertion (RPE), this is a 1 to 10 scale of how hard you are working. So a RPE of 4 would be a good example for warm up, 6 or 7 would be a normal cardio workout and a RPE of 10 would be the hardest you could bare.

Elliptical incline: Add incline to increase the intensity

You may come across a few elliptical machines that have adjustable inclines. Adjusting the incline to something steeper would make the peddling more difficult. In terms of interval training, this would increase your heart rate, your calories burned and the difficulty in your sprints, so it works the same way resistance does.

Elliptical Sprints: Your all out effort

HIIT elliptical workout sprints

The Sprint on the elliptical trainer will be in all out effort. You don’t want to hold anything back, go as fast as you can. So as you know, with interval training, you’re trying to get into your anaerobic zone as soon as possible. This means setting the resistance and the incline as high as possible so that the intensity is as high as you can bare, your legs start burning soon into your sprint, and you feel like you’re holding on for the whole 30 seconds. It should be very tough. Don’t pace yourself to make it through to the end of the Sprint, go as hard as you can from the beginning and hold that for as long as you can. If you have anything left over at the end of the 30 seconds, you need to increase the resistance and the incline.

Elliptical active recovery: What to do in your recovery phase

When you finish your intensity interval, your heart will race and you will gasp for breath. Although you can feel like stopping, it’s important that you don’t. Just turn the resistance down to something easy, and slow your peddling right down. It is important that you keep on peddling during your recovery periods.

It helps bring your heart rate down steadily, and the increase in blood flow through that area helps remove the lactic acid that has been burning your muscles through your last Sprint. Just focus on getting your breathing more regular, bring your heart rate back down to normal and mentally preparing for your next sprint.

Using heart rate level as a guide for intensity

I’m going to suggest that you use your heart rate as a guide for measuring your intensity and thereby setting your resistance on the elliptical machine. You want your heart rate to be at about 90 percent of its max by the end of the sprints. You can work out your max heart rate by using the calculator below.

Maximum Heart Rate = 80-90 percent
bpm – beats per minute

HIIT Elliptical workout For beginners

So ellipticals often get a bad rap for being too ‘easy’. If you are a beginner at HIIT and your fitness level isn’t where it should be, this will benefit you. It’s very low impact HIIT training, and it’s easier to get started with than something like sprinting.

However, it’s also not wise to go as hard as you can on your first few bouts. Remember, you have muscles that haven’t been used for quite a while and pushing into a full sprint will most probably just result in a torn muscle and a lot of ice.

Start with three or four sprints at three quarter pace and build up from there. Even that will start doing you good and you will quickly progress from there. After you have done the three quarter paces for a while, add a full sprint into the mix and see how you cope with that. Then start add more and more.

Can I do this HIIT Elliptical workout every day?

More is better, right? Here is where most people go wrong, thinking that if you do this every single day, you will end up with better results. This comes from a misunderstanding of how HIIT actually works.

With HIIT you are actually damaging your body in the workout. You are pushing it beyond its normal limits. Exhausting muscle and energy supplies that our body relies on. As soon as you finish your HIIT your body rebuilds itself, trying to recover. And in this rebuild it builds itself back stronger so it can cope the next time you put it through that kind of stress.

You don’t get better doing the HIIT workout. You get better recovering from the HIIT workout. That’s why your rest between your high intensity interval training bouts are so essential.

In a recent study they found that 30 to 40 minutes per week was the most you should train at a very high intensity (90% of your maximum heart rate). More than that, and the body showed symptoms of overreaching.

So with this elliptical HIIT workout, and every other HIIT workout, have a day’s break in between bouts and keep it to a maximum of three bouts per week.

Keeping form on your Elliptical

So after watching many people on the elliptical machine in the gym I would say that the most common posture would slouched over the console, ignoring the handles or even reading a book while the person lazily rolls over the peddles.

This will not work…

Firstly, let’s talk about your back posture, keep your back straight, shoulders back and your head held high. Remember, you will be sprinting, so engage your core.

HIIT elliptical workout feet positions

Place your feet as close as you can to inside edges of the pedals with your weight focused on your heals, not your toes. Use your feet as if you were walking normally. Running on your toes will reduce blood flow and cause them to get tingly.

Lastly, hold the handlebars with an easy, relaxed grip and relax your arms. This relaxed hold will allow your core, trunk and legs get most of the burn.


HIIT Elliptical Workout demonstration

So that is my guide to for your HIIT elliptical workout.
Now it’s your turn. Try this interval workout in your gym and see how it goes for you.
Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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