What Muscles Does The Elliptical Work

What Muscles Does The Elliptical Work | Machine Work

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What Muscles Does The Elliptical Work

What Muscles Does The Elliptical Work | Machine Work:- The elliptical is one of the most popular machines that people, especially women, get on at the gym to get their cardio in. But are you getting an effective workout with it?

A lot of people step on the machine because it seems intuitive – you get on, you move your feet along with the track and you get your workout in, right? Wrong! Let’s talk about the settings on the elliptical machine. You have three main components that you can control. The first is resistance. So how hard it is to peddle. The higher the resistance the harder the work.

The next control is the cross ramp and that is going to control your incline. You’ll work in different muscle groups depending on how high or low you go. And the final control is the one that gets the most overlooked but perhaps is the most important because you control it with your speed and that is SPM or strides per minute.

Difference Between Elliptical, Treadmill Or StairMaster

So the difference between this machine and a treadmill or Stairmaster is that on those machines you set the speed and then you match it. So you set the treadmill to a six, you run at that level and all you have to do is move your legs to match the pace of the belt.

But the problem with the elliptical is that there is no speed setting so it is completely up to you. And a lot of people, because of that, don’t challenge themselves on the machine. So to get an effective workout on the elliptical it is important to be aware of your SPM.

The workout I am sharing with you today will take advantage of all three of those controls so we can make the most of what this machine has to offer. And as is the case with the treadmill and Stairmaster routines I have previously shared you don’t do anything for more than one minute. So it is quick. Thirty minutes of interval training – total body cardio. Woohoo! And as is the case generally with my workouts this is based at an intermediate fitness level but you can always modify to make it more or less intense. A note to keep in mind before we get going. There is a difference between RPM and SPM. Some ellipticals do say RPM on the display that is revolutions per minute. That is not the same as SPM – strides per minute.

RPM is a full revolution whereas SPM is one stride so it’s going to be about half the number of RPM. If you can, snag an elliptical that has SPM on the display because that is going to be what this workout is based on. Most ellipticals do say SPM but not all, just to be aware. Now let’s get peddling! Most ellipticals start to set out, when you get on, at a ramp level ten and a resistance level one. And I see too many people that get on with those settings and don’t ever change them for the entire thirty minutes that they are on. Don’t do that. Don’t waste your time. You’ve only got thirty minutes. Let’s make it count.

Elliptical Workouts For Beginners

To warm up you’re going to set your ramp down to an eight and your resistance up to a level three. It should be very light. Just getting used to the movements for a few minutes. Start to become aware of your SPM on the display. Aim for a range of 110 to 130. Once you start paying attention to your SPM you’re going to notice that that number wavers.

It doesn’t stay at exactly 120. It’s going to go back and forth between 115 and 125. That’s okay, that’s why I’m giving you a range to reach for the SPM at every phase of the workout. After about three minutes of warming up at a resistance of three you’re going to kick it up to a five to finish that warm-up, still light, but a little more intense. It shouldn’t feel tough though.

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After your five minute warm-up, we are going to kick it into workout mode. For format’s sake of this routine, we are going to think of the workout as three parts so here is the first. We are taking the ramp-up to a ten. We are going to stay here for most of the workout so you shouldn’t have to think about it. The resistance is going up to an eight so you’re going to be peddling a little bit harder and we’re going to be aiming for an SPM range of 130 to 140.

And if you have never paid attention to SPM before watching this video and you’re like, ‘what the heck is she talking about?’, trust me, once you get on the elliptical and see SPM on the display and start to recognize what it feels like, you’ll understand and this workout will all make sense. So just make sure you save the PDF to your tablet or phone or print it out so you can take it with you to the gym.

Elliptical Machine Workout Benefits & Disadvantages

So the workout has begun. You’re getting the heart rate up and we’re getting into our first segment of work. The resistance goes up to level ten. Remember that the ramp is staying at a ten for this entire part of the workout. And we are going to divide your one minute of work into three parts – so twenty seconds each.

In the first twenty seconds, you’re getting your heart rate up. Aim for an SPM of 140 to 150 and don’t forget to use your arms. Always grab an elliptical machine that has the arms. The ones that don’t have the arms are pretty much a waste of your time. That middle twenty seconds of the minute we are going to peak with a sprint. You are aiming for an SPM of 150 to 160, maybe even 170 if you’re feeling really good. But we want this to be challenging. Remember, it is only twenty seconds. And the final twenty seconds of that minute you go back down to that 140 to 150 SPM range.

So it’s still tough, you’re still working. We’re not recovering it but we’re not sprinting either. Then after that minute of work you get one minute of active recovery. Back down to an eight on the resistance and you can focus on a range of 130 to 140 on the SPM so this is not a break, it still works. You are actively recovering. So then we are going to repeat that pattern. You up the resistance to a ten.

You’ve got your one minute broken into three twenty seconds, twenty seconds and twenty seconds, with that sprint in the middle. After that minute of work again you have another minute of active recovery before you repeat it one more time.

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This time we are going to take that resistance up to a twelve so what has been at a ten during the first two minutes of work – but for the third one you know it’s the last one, you’re going to push it hard – take it up to a twelve.

That sprint at a twelve will feel a little bit more challenging but that’s the goal here. And after you peak at twelve you’re going to recover and change up our target. So when you’re going forward on the machine you’re mostly targeting the quads and the glutes depending on how high the ramp is but when you flip it and go backward you start to target the hamstrings. So after each segment of work, you will take one minute to recover going backward switching up that target a little bit. Resistance goes down to an eight, SPM is a moderate 120 to 130 range and you’re working the hamstrings. So you recover and you work the entire body. After that minute we will go on to segment number two.

Calories Burned On An Elliptical Vs Treadmill

Now segments two and three of the workout will repeat that first segment that you saw. The difference is in our movement. So in part two, we are keeping the same ramp resistance and SPM goals that we had in the first segment but we are going to do it without any arms. So you’re not resting your arms, you’re not using your arms. You’re just keeping them off of the machine. That is going to target your core. So we are going to get everything.

We are even going to get abs in our cardio workout. Let go of the handles, use your arms for balance and focus on using your core and your lower body to keep your body moving. Now because you don’t have your arms, those peak sprints are going to feel a lot more challenging. If you can’t reach the high end of that SPM range, that’s okay. Just go as hard as you can.

The idea is to make sure you’re challenging your speed since the machine cannot challenge it for you. If you do want to hold the handles during those minutes of active recovery in between the sprints, that is fine. Just make sure that during those twenty-second intervals of work you are not holding on. You’ve got another minute of rest going backward targeting the hamstrings.

And then we’ve got segment three. For the final round, we keep the same format but we are going to take the ramp so the incline down to a level five. When we lower the ramp we start to target the hamstrings and the calves, more than the quads and glutes. At this point, your entire body, your legs, should be tired. And this time you can use those handles again, using the arms squeezing the core, but working the backsides of the legs here.

Now this round at the lower ramp will be the hardest to hit those SPMs – that range – it’s going to feel a lot faster and harder but that’s okay because it is your last round. Just push through to the end and do the best you can. After your backward minute of recovery, we do four minutes of cool down and you are done! That’s the workout. Thirty minutes of the cardio – total body.

Is The Elliptical Good For Losing Weight

A few things to keep in mind on the elliptical and in general: try to keep the weight in your heels throughout the workout. If you’re leaning forward into your toes they will start to fall asleep and it becomes uncomfortable. Make sure you stay upright with the chest lifted and not slouching and finally make sure that you are switching up your routine. This goes for any piece of cardio equipment or any routine really at all.

If you do anything for too long and your body gets used to it it becomes easy. And we want to make sure we are always challenging our bodies. So do this for a few times or a few weeks and then switch it up. So no more zoning out with the TV on, mindlessly peddling away on the elliptical for thirty minutes. Make those thirty minutes count.

I think the reason a lot of people get on the elliptical is that it’s easier and they feel like they’re getting their workout in. But if it’s not an effective use of your time it just kind of becomes a waste. Most people don’t understand what the elliptical is capable of and how good a workout you really can get but now you know. You’re ahead of them.

PDF File For Your Gym Workout On Elliptical Machine

So just make sure you save the PDF to your tablet or phone or print it out so you can take it with you to the gym.

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