Tips To Improve Your Elliptical Workouts & The Mistakes To Avoid

Elliptical machines are one of the best full-body, low-impact cardio machines around, and we’ve shared with you before different ways to help you get the most out of these machines, which you can find here. Yet some elliptical users are still making mistakes, and not reaching their optimal calorie burn. We want to make sure our readers and buyers are getting the most of their elliptical purchases.

I found a list of the Top 10 Mistakes You Make on the Elliptical Trainer from, which you can see all 10 here. I found these all to be very common mistakes I’ve seen in elliptical users, so I wanted to make sure our readers are not making these workout mistakes, and instead give you tips on how to improve your elliptical workouts and increase your calorie burn with each workout.

  • Increase Your Resistance. Many keep the resistance on zero when working out on the elliptical, and this is a big mistake. Though at the time you may feel powerful and strong going a mile a minute, but without any resistance you will not see any results. If it feels too easy, it probably is, which means you’re essentially doing nothing, meaning low calorie burn. Use enough resistance that it is causing you to push and pull through your strides, and even though you may not be moving too quickly, you are forcing your muscles to work harder through every push and pull. This is what helps to increase the muscle-building effect on top of the cardio thus increasing calorie burn.
  • Stand Up Straight. If you are slouching, you are not getting all the benefits out of your workout. According to this post on StrongFitBeautiful, “ leaning on the machine can reduce your calorie burn upwards of 30%.” Standing up straight lengthens your abs, which helps to engage your core.

  • Lean Back on Your Heels. One big elliptical machine mistake users make is putting too much pressure on their toes, to the point their feet go numb. If you’ve ever experiencing a tingling or numbing in your feet try leaning back and placing more of that pressure on your heels instead. This not only helps you to keep standing up straight, but it also makes your large muscle groups work harder, while giving you more stamina to go for longer.
  • Use the Moving Handles. Incorporating the moving handles helps to give you more of an upper body workout, once again the more muscles you are able to incorporate, the higher the calorie burn. You can even have fun with it and try intervals, focus on your arms for 1 minute, then pump your legs for 4 minutes, repeating this throughout your workout.
  • Switch Up Your Direction. Switching up your direction not only keeps you from getting bored, but it also changes which large muscle groups you are working. Moving forward uses more of your quads, while going backwards uses your hamstrings and glutes. Prevention suggests sitting back slightly, keeping your knees at a 90-degree angle as you stride to max out the effect.
  • Ramp It Up. Just like changing your resistance and direction involves more muscles, increasing the ramp, or incline, on the elliptical is going to incorporate more muscles. Altering the ramp helps you to hit different muscles being used, especially targeting your glutes and hamstrings.
  • If possible, enter your information. You will not get an adequate calorie burn if you do not enter your weight and height. Although this still does not guarantee that the calorie count is right, entering in your correct info can give you a better idea of the amount of calories you are burning.
  • Switch It Up. Although we do love the workout an elliptical machine provides, it’s always important to switch up your routines and cause muscle confusion. Doing the same workout day in and day out, your body begins to get used to this and starts burning less calories. So if you are one who runs to the elliptical every workout, try doing free weights, or

Use these tips to help you get the most out of your elliptical machines and burn the most amount of calories. Elliptical machines provide an excellent full-body, muscle building, low-impact cardio workout, so make sure you are not making any of these mistakes and are taking advantage of all the machine has to offer!


Have any other tips to help burn more calories while on the elliptical?

Share some of your favorite elliptical workouts!


Written By: Jentry