How to Use an Elliptical

By Contributing Writer

  • Overview

    Elliptical machines offer excellent means for cardiovascular and muscle-toning exercise. Whereas traditional jogging and running can be hard on the joints due to the pounding motion, the elliptical machine offers an impact-free workout. The machine's gliding motion ensures that the body comfortably and gently moves through the repetitive movement. If you wish to exercise on an elliptical machine, it's quite simple to do so. Once you familiarize yourself with the basics of the machine, you'll be ready to work out on it.
    • Step 1

      Step onto the elliptical machine, placing one foot onto each foot pad. For stability and safety, hold onto the handrail as you step onto the machine.
    • Step 2

      Move your feet in a forward motion. Your legs will propel the elliptical into a fluid motion. It will feel as if you are walking forward with a smooth, gliding motion.


    • Step 3

      Hold onto the handrails as you become familiar with the movement. Over time, you can swing your arms as if you are walking or jogging. Wait until you feel completely comfortable with the machine's movement before attempting arm motions.
    • Step 4

      Select a workout plan from the machine's console. Most elliptical machines feature various plans, though some may simply feature the manual mode. Interval workout plans will vary the resistance on the elliptical machine from light to heavy. Hill workout plans will challenge you with more resistance as you steadily climb a hill.
    • Step 5

      Adjust the elliptical machine's resistance level and ramp heights. If you wish to focus on your buttocks, raise the ramp to its highest level. Simply press the up arrow next to the ramp level setting. For a more intense calorie burn, increase the resistance level. Higher resistance levels make it more difficult to move your legs through the elliptical machine's motion.
    • Step 6

      Reverse direction. Instead of the standard forward movement, move your feet in the opposite direction. This reverse movement will focus more on your quadriceps. Switch back and forth between forward and backwards movements, allowing for 5 to 10 minute intervals in each direction.
    • Step 7

      Maintain good posture while you use the elliptical machine. Do not hunch your shoulders or hang on the handrails. Instead, maintain a neutral spine position with your shoulders relaxed.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Elliptical machine
    • Workout attire
    • Fitness shoes
    • Water
    • Tip: Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Proper hydration is key to good exercise.
    • Warning:
    • Do not lock out your knees or elbows. Your joints should remain soft.

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