exercise, Fitness

Your Guide to the Elliptical

It’s a machine found in practically every gym around the world. The elliptical  or “cross trainer” as it’s sometimes named, has been around since the beginning of time! It originated from cross-country skiing as it mimics the movements you experience while skiing.

Whether you already use the elliptical or want to start, we will go over everything you need to know in order to get the most out of this machine!

The Benefits

  1. It’s a great fitness exercise. It will elevate your heart rate quickly, without the bodyweight impact of running. Your fitness levels will reach new heights after consistent use.
  2. There is minimal impact on the body, compared to running on the treadmill or on concrete. This makes it an easier exercise to maintain for longer periods. The chances of getting injured are very low when using the elliptical, making it a great exercise for beginners.
  3. The elliptical is a full-body workout, making it great for burning calories. You will burn similar calories to running (700-800 kcal per hour is the average). The arms and legs are worked during the movement, which help overall conditioning.

Muscles Worked

The elliptical is mainly a lower-half of the body exercise, but there is also a lot of upper-half energy needed.

Lower-Half: The leg movement works mainly the glutes and the quadricep muscles along with the calves and feet. The hamstrings are used as a support muscle, similar to running.

Upper-Half: The upper-half is more of a push exercise that uses the triceps and the chest muscles. To a lesser extent, biceps and the upper back are used. If you perform the elliptical in reverse, the dominant muscle groups are reversed.

Elliptical: When to Use

The Novice

Beginners can use the elliptical as their main fitness machine, or as a combo with the treadmill. The low impact and total body element, make it a great machine on which to build your fitness levels.

The Elite

Regardless of the sport you are doing, the elliptical can have it’s place in your training programme. It can be used as the main machine to build fitness in the off-season, or as a recovery tool in-between hard workouts.

The Injured

If your injury limits your use of the treadmill or other load bearing activities, the elliptical can be a great machine to use.


Top Tip: To enhance the recovery process after a really tough workout, substitute the treadmill for the elliptical on recovery days.


Elliptical: How to Use


  • Keep your arms at a 90 degree angle, similar to running.
  • Keep your back straight and bring your hips forward. Imagine a straight line between your ankles and your shoulders.
  • Look forward to avoid slouching and poor posture.
  • Engage your core when starting out, to keep a good posture.


The turnover should be similar to running, around 80-90 revolutions per minute. You shouldn’t be struggling and pushing hard to maintain the speed. If your posture or form declines, lower the resistance. Check your heart rate to track how hard you’re working.

Sample Workout

Start out with continuous use: For example, 20 minutes at an easy pace. You can introduce elevation programmes once your comfortable with the technique and can do 20 minutes continuous.

Check out our previous post about the treadmill here – https://wp.me/p92LU7-58

I hope this post has helped you learn more about the elliptical. If you have any specific questions, feel free to comment below.

Until next time,

Happy training!

Steve 🙂



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