6 Workouts to Break Your Elliptical Rut

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6 Workouts to Break Your Elliptical Rut

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The elliptical machine is genius for burning fat and tightening your butt. But let’s face it: It can be insanely boring. The fix? Getting smarter about your intervals. Here’s how.

WORKOUT #1—The Butt Blaster This sequence will tighten and tone your butt by building lean muscle mass in the glutes, says Ngo Okafor, trainer at Peak Performance NYC. You’ll need an elliptical machine with arms to complete this booty poppin’ workout.

  • 5 minute warm-up — Level 7
  • 2 minutes — Level 8 in a half-squat position
  • 1 minute of recovery, making sure that the heels are down (this engages the hamstrings and glutes)
  • 2 minutes — Level 9 in a half squat position
  • 1 minute — Repeat earlier recovery
  • 2 minutes — Level 10 in a half-squat position
  • 1 minute — Repeat earlier recovery
  • 5 minute cool down — Level 7

 

WORKOUT #2—The Body Fat Incinerator
Get ready to jumpstart some fat burn on an elliptical machine with arms. “The idea here is to keep the heart rate up without making the work Level too high,” says Okafor.

  • 5 minutes of warm-up — Level 7
  • 1 minute — Level 8 at a speed of 60 or higher
  • 1 minute — Level 9 at a speed of 55 or higher
  • 1 minute — Level 10 at a speed of 50 or higher
  • 1 minute recovery — Level 7 at a speed of 50
  • 1 minute — Level 8 at a speed of 60 or higher
  • 1 minute — Level 9 at a speed of 55 or higher
  • 1 minute — Level 10 at a speed of 50 or higher
  • 1 minute recovery — Level 7 at a speed of 50
  • 1 minute — Level 8 at the speed of 60 or higher
  • 1 minute — Level 9 at the speed of 55 or higher
  • 1 minute — Level 10 at the speed of 50 or higher
  • 5 minutes of cool down — Level 7

 

WORKOUT #3—The Backside Burner “The elliptical is the perfect tool to tighten up every bit of your backside,” says Shannon Fable, Director of Exercise Programming for Anytime Fitness. This workout will hit your calves, hamstrings, and butt. Focus on moderate SPMs (Strides Per Minute), using resistance and incline to increase intensity.

Warm Up

  • 3 minutes— 110-130 SPM: Use a lower resistance and incline to establish your base level of work

Round One

  • 2 minutes — 120-150 SPM: Increase resistance and incline 1-2 from your base level of work
  • 2 minutes — 120-150 SPM: Try to hold the SPM you had in the last 2 minutes. Increase resistance and incline until you begin to feel the work shift to your hamstrings.
  • 2 minutes — 120-150 SPM: Try to hold the SPM you had in the last 2 minutes. Increase resistance and incline until you begin to feel the work shift to your glutes. (This should feel HARD!)
  • 2 minutes — 110-130 SPM: Bring the resistance and incline back down to where you were in the warm up.
  • 2 minutes — 110-140 SPM: Reverse the direction and stride backwards to finish the round.

Round Two

  • Repeat Round 1. Your goal should be to increase the resistance and incline combination, while maintaining the SPM from Round One.

Round Three

  • Repeat Round 2. Your goal should be to increase the resistance and incline combination, while maintaining the SPM from Round 1.

Cool Down

  • 3 minutes — 110-130 RPM: Bring the resistance and incline back down to warm up levels and begin to recover.

 

WORKOUT #4—Hit It Hard “When you ‘hit it hard,’ you don’t have to work out as long, and the elliptical is a good, minimal-impact tool for high-intensity workouts,” says Fable. “Keep one eye on the time,” she says. “We’re asking for short bursts of work.”

Warm-Up


  • 2 minutes at 110-130 SPM: Use a lower resistance and incline to establish your base level of work. You should be breathing easy and be able to do this level without too much effort.
  • 3 minutes at a slightly higher effort. Increase your SPM by 10-20, and the resistance and incline slightly to move from breathing easy to a moderate effort.

Pyramid Intervals
 After your warm-up, increase your resistance and incline slightly, and adjust your speed during work and recovery intervals. Break for 2 minutes, then repeat the pyramid.

  • 10 sec work / 10 sec recovery
  • 20 sec work / 20 sec recovery
  • 30 sec work / 30 sec recovery
  • 40 sec work / 40 sec recovery
  • 30 sec work / 30 sec recovery
  • 20 sec work / 20 sec recovery
  • 10 sec work / 10 sec recovery

Cool Down
 Bring your SPMs and resistance and incline back to warm-up levels and allow your effort to return to easy.

 

Workout #5—20-Minute Music Mission “Music motivates us to push ourselves,” says Heidi Powell, certified personal trainer and co-host of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, who created this plan with her current favorite songs. Choose your own faves, or let Powell’s playlist guide your intensity. Use her recommendations for Perceived Exertion (PE) to get yourself sweating.

Song 1: Fighter, by Gym Class Heroes

(Warm-up) 
Forward pedaling/No incline
During all parts of song except chorus: PE of 2 (out of 10)
 During chorus: Take your PE to an 8 (out of 10) 
Option: Increase resistance if needed to reach PE of 8

Song 2: Roar, by Katy Perry


Backward pedaling/incline to 5 (out of 10… or 50 percent of machine’s max)
During all parts of song except chorus: PE of 3 (out of 10)
 During Chorus: Take your PE to a 9 (out of 10)
Option: Increase resistance if needed to reach PE of 9

Song 3: Lose Yourself, by Eminem

Forward pedaling/incline of 10 (or max)
 During all parts of song except chorus: PE of 4 (out of 10)
 During Chorus: Take your PE to a 10 (out of 10) 
Option: Increase resistance if needed to reach PE of 10

Song 4: Radioactive, by Imagine Dragons

Backward pedaling/incline to 5 (out of 10…or 50 percent of machine’s max)
 During all parts of song except chorus: PE of 3 (out of 10)
 During Chorus: Take your PE to a 9 (out of 10) 
Option: Increase resistance if needed to reach PE of 9

Song 5 Madness, by Muse

Forward pedaling/no incline
. During all parts of song except chorus: PE of 2 (out of 10)
 During Chorus: Take your PE to an 8 (out of 10) 
Option: increase resistance if needed to reach PE of 8

 

WORKOUT #6—Build, Push and Dominate This workout from Angela Leigh, a certified personal trainer at Equinox, features three, six-minute high-intensity blocks.

Warm-Up

  • 2 minutes at Resistance 3
  • 1 minute at Resistance 4
  • 2 minutes at Resistance 5

6-minute block (Perform 3 times)

  • Build Interval: 60 seconds at Resistance 10
  • Recovery 30 seconds at Resistance 5
  • Push Interval: 45 seconds at Resistance 15
  • Recovery 45 seconds at Resistance 5
  • Dominate Interval: 30 seconds at Resistance 20 (or max)
  • Recovery 60 seconds at Resistance 5
  • 90 additional seconds at Resistance 5 for active recovery.

Cool Down

  • 2 minutes at Resistance 3

About the Author

SELF
SELF

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