30-Minute Interval Workout for the Elliptical

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/27/2013 6:00 AM   :  26 comments   :  121,301 Views

See More: fitness, cardio, at the gym,
I know plenty of people who love their elliptical trainers—and there is plenty of reason to. The elliptical mimics the motion of walking or running but with very little impact on the joints. That means it's more comfortable for you to get your heart rate up and get really sweaty. Whether you want to go easier, go harder, or something in between, a standard elliptical has plenty of options for you.
 
But following the same elliptical programs day in and day out can make your elliptical workout turn stale—and hurt your results. So I developed a fun interval-style workout that'll challenge you and help pass the time. With frequent changes in speed and resistance, your workout will fly by—and you'll reap the fat-burning, time-saving, calorie-torching benefits of interval training!
 
Read below for more information to get the most out of this elliptical workout.


Don't forget to "pin" this workout for future reference! You can also print this page by clicking the "File > Print" option on the top left of your Internet browser.

Get the Most from This Elliptical Workout
  • I created this workout under the assumption that your elliptical cross ramp (also known as grade or incline) is fixed, since not every elliptical is adjustable. So use your fixed ramp level or choose the appropriate incline for your fitness level—usually somewhere between 15 and 40 degrees (higher is harder).
     
  • The workout also uses a scale of 10 resistance levels, although some elliptical machines have more levels (even up to 20). Adjust accordingly (i.e. double the resistance level listed if yours has 20 levels instead of 10).
     
  • SPM stands for Strides Per Minute, a common speed indicator on elliptical consoles. If your elliptical uses revolutions per minute (RPM), simply halve the number indicated. For example, 100 SPM is equal to 50 RPM. Some ellipticals only measure speed in miles or kilometers per hour; there is no accurate way to guess how many strides or revolutions per minute equal one mile, so if you don't have this output, simply increase or decrease speed along with the workout prompts.
     
  • The RPE column is to help you gauge your overall intensity. (Learn more about the RPE intensity measure.) Once you make the resistance and speed adjustments, your intensity level should line up with the number indicated. This is another scale of 1-10 where 1 is being totally sedentary and 10 is a maximum effort. If your perceived intensity doesn't match up once you adjusted your speed and level, this is your cue to change. If it still feels too easy, increase the level and/or speed, and if your intensity feels much higher than the indicated RPE, reduce speed and/or your level. This will allow you to follow this interval plan and further customize it to your own level.
     
  • Play with direction. If your elliptical trainer goes both forward and backwards, incorporate directional changes into your routine (even though they're not listed here). Set your own interval, such as switching direction every 5 minutes to work your muscles differently and keep your body guessing.
Like any workout, consider this plan a general guide. Use your best judgment and make adjustments to suit your fitness level, energy level, actual elliptical machine and other concerns.
 
Give it a try and tell me what you think. I hope the time flies by and you really get a great workout with this one. After all, that's the whole point!
 
Do you have a go-to elliptical workout? What are your favorite ways to maximize your results and prevent boredom when using the elliptical?





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Comments

  • 26
    I will try this tomorrow
    I general, I burn over 400 calories in 30 minutes on fat burn level 16 - 4/4/2014   8:08:40 PM
  • 25
    Thanks especially for breaking down the Level, spm and rpe. I also have a hard time determining what level of work is needed for the rpe. - 4/4/2014   2:57:09 PM
  • JGMARIE80
    24
    Thanks for the information. I'm going to hang this in my elliptical machine. - 3/25/2013   6:25:03 PM
  • 23
    I started a new routine, every two minutes I increase my level until my last 5 minutes of cool down, when I go back down to the easier levels. Works great for me! I might use this to switch things up, too! Thanks! - 3/21/2013   10:18:20 AM
  • 22
    i have a new gold's gym stride trainer 410...at anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes that thing kicks my rear. i am trying to gradually build up my endurance and using a recumbent bike in between elliptical workouts. - 3/19/2013   4:36:31 PM
  • 21
    With knee pain sometimes being an issue for me, the elliptical has become my favourite workout friend! - 3/16/2013   4:22:52 PM
  • 20
    I LOVE my elliptical time...I hope I can use this soon! :-D - 3/11/2013   11:00:27 PM
  • 19
    Typo on minutes 21-23, says level 5 at 140 spm, but all other level 5s say 130 bpm. level 7 appears to be 140 bpm, so you might want to adjust or fix it. great plan though, I am going to try it next time I'm at the gym, and maybe add a playlist with bpm songs to mostly match it. - 3/11/2013   1:03:03 AM
  • 18
    It is boring no matter what a person says, but it is a different workout than the bike or treadmill. I mix mind up about ten minutes each. - 3/1/2013   3:15:28 PM
  • CHERYLHURT
    17
    good article - 3/1/2013   9:13:07 AM
  • CATN88
    16
    This looks great, I'm printing it for the next gym trip. Thank you to Bronhi for providing the graphic link!! - 2/28/2013   6:33:59 PM
  • 15
    Great information here. - 2/28/2013   4:37:50 PM
  • 14
    I did this today and I enjoyed every bit of it. - 2/28/2013   3:09:46 PM
  • 13
    http://www.sparkpeople.com/assets/u
    ploads/graphic_ellipticalplan.jpg
    is the direct url of the graphic. If you copy and paste that in your browser, it'll pull up the graphic only. That may make printing easier for some - 2/28/2013   12:18:26 PM
  • AZURE-SKY
    12
    I use the preprogrammed resistance routines on the ellipticals at my gym. Most of the programs are broken up into 12 segments, so I set the total minutes for my workout to 24. That makes each segment 2 minutes. I also switch from going forward to going backwards during those segments - it really works the legs differently. After I'm done with the 24 minutes, I move on to the treadmill for a cooldown. My gym has a 25-minute time limit on all the aerobic machines, but if no one is waiting for the elliptical, I'll stay on it longer.

    Using the moveable handles also adds resistance to the program & upper body work. - 2/28/2013   11:09:00 AM
  • FWALLACE1968
    11
    Ctrl-P will always bring up a print dialog box in any Windows program.

    I use my elliptical everyday and just use one of the "Programs" that are in it. The program will vary the resistance and makes for a great workout.

    I've lost 45 pounds since June and want to lose another 25. I try to watch what I eat, to help me lose weight but I rely more on time on the elliptical.
    - 2/28/2013   11:06:19 AM
  • 10
    For those asking about the 'print' option.... it depends on your browser. The button isn't on the Spark page. For instance... Internet Explorer - it's the little wheel on the right that contains the print option. FireFox - that is on the upper left under File like the article says. Chrome - on the right, the little symbol with 3 parallel bars. CometBird - top left, actually have to click the CometBird button with the down arrow, opens options including 'print'. Other browsers might be different, but I'm sure you get the idea... - 2/28/2013   9:12:44 AM
  • CHERYLHURT
    9
    gotta try this! - 2/28/2013   8:22:04 AM
  • NGVCME
    8
    I have been combining elliptical workout and rowing. I elliptical on level 3-4 random after completing 5,000 meters full strength on the rower. After 65 minutes I am done! - 2/28/2013   5:31:41 AM
  • 7
    I'm so going to try this! - 2/27/2013   2:09:14 PM
  • LOVINGKATE
    6
    Why can't I print this!!!! - 2/27/2013   11:03:22 AM
  • 5
    This is perfect for me - JUST what I was looking for :) Perfect timing! Thanks, Nicole! - 2/27/2013   10:58:10 AM
  • IDOL559
    4
    I love using my elliptical! Thanks for this article - 2/27/2013   10:08:51 AM
  • 3
    where is the print button??? - 2/27/2013   9:11:38 AM
  • IDICEM
    2
    Good article. I hope to make more use of ellipticals, though they aren't my favorite machines. Why isn't there a "print" button on the left? It's mentioned in the article, but it's not there. - 2/27/2013   8:04:33 AM
  • 1
    sounds interesting. - 2/27/2013   6:57:51 AM

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