How to Use an Elliptical Machine

How to Use an Elliptical Machine

Elliptical machines, sometimes called ellipticals, elliptical trainers or cross-trainers, are now available at most gyms and for purchase to use at home. The elliptical mimics the natural movement of the body while you walk or run, through the extension of the legs and the rotation of the hips. The elliptical trainer is especially suited to people with joint or back problems because it is a low-impact workout. When used properly, it can provide a whole body workout with less risk or strain than running on a treadmill. This article will tell you how to work out on an elliptical machine.

Drink plenty of water before you work out. Increase your water intake 2 to 3 hours before you work out. Drink approximately 16 to 24 oz. (473 to 710 ml) of water during and after your workout. An elliptical workout is strenuous cardiovascular exercise. You will likely sweat and be short of breath.

Wear loose fitting clothing that can get sweaty or sweat-stained. Put on comfortable walking or running shoes with arch supports.

Step onto the machine. Most elliptical machines have 2 sets of handles, 1 set that moves back and forth and 1 set that remains stationary. Grasp a stationary handle and step onto the furthest step. The step will move when you step on it, but will move less if the step is at the bottom of its rotation. Grasp the other handle and lift up the second foot. Steady yourself before continuing.

Align your feet with your hips. They should be exactly hip width apart. The feet should not turn inwards or outwards; they should also face straight forward. There are very large places for your feet on most ellipticals. For many people, the hips will align in the inner-most edge; however it is not important to place your feet against any of the pedals’ edges, as long as the feet and hips are aligned.


Stand up straight, keeping your spine in a neutral position to reduce stress on the back during the workout. Push your pelvis forward so you aren’t overarching your back and pull your abdominal muscles in to support your back.

Start to pedal in a forward motion, in order to activate the screen on the elliptical. Keep your hands on the stationary handles so that you are steady while you are distracted by the screen.


Choose a low resistance setting, which will be levels 1 or 2 on most ellipticals. Do not activate the incline. Set the timer for 10 minutes for your first time, and then increase to 30 minutes.


Although some people choose to use the elliptical for longer than 30 minutes, as your strength and endurance grow, you can adjust to higher levels of resistance within the 30 minute time period in order to burn more calories and increase endurance.

Some gyms set time limits of approximately 20 minutes. Elliptical machines are very popular and more people can use the machine with a set time limit



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Written by StayHealthWise

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