Worst Workout Mistakes on the Elliptical Trainer Machine – Prevention.com

Spend enough time in a gym, and you’re sure to start noticing the little mistakes that hold people back from achieving the results they are striving for. Which is why I was drawn in by this article: Worst Workout Mistakes on the Elliptical Trainer Machine – Prevention.com.

Truthfully, the elliptical is a great machine – it offers a low impact workout, and, when used correctly, can offer great fat-torching benefits. But take a look around a gym, and you’re sure to see all of the mistakes mentioned in this list. Among my favorites: little to no resistance, warp-speed, slouching and, one that’s not listed here – paying more attention to your reading material than your workout.

Now, why are these no-nos? Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Little to no resistance: Yes, it does feel easy. Because essentially, you’re doing nothing. Personally, I love keeping the elliptical at a medium to high level resistance (usually between 10-16 out of 20 on my trusty Precor) – you may not be moving too quickly, but you are definitely forcing your muscles to work harder the heavier you go … meaning you add a muscle-building element to your cardio workout.
  • Warp-speed: If it looks like your machine is about to take off, you are probably moving too fast – which means your resistance is too light. Bump up your resistance. People are probably looking at you like you’re crazy.
  • Slouching: I’ve discussed this in the past – if you are slouching, you aren’t getting all the benefits out of your workout. Leaning on the machine can reduce your calorie burn upwards of 30%. So stand up straight, and if your machine doesn’t have handles, try to let go – you’ll work harder, and engage those ever-important core muscles (three words: bonus ab work).
  • Reading rather than working: If you are intent on your reading material, you are taking energy away from your workout. It’s a lot easier to “phone it in” when you are engrossed in your book or magazine instead of your workout. Add some new tunes to the iPod instead – it’s proven that listening to music while you work out can actually make you work harder (without even realizing it).

So, there they are – just a few reasons you could be holding yourself back without even knowing it. Check out the link for several more easily correctable mistakes that can help you get the most out of your elliptical workout (a few to check out: not putting your information in the machine – yes, ellipticals tend to be the biggest offenders when it comes to over-reporting calorie burn, and you don’t change directions – you’re missing out on working an entirely different set of muscles).

3 thoughts on “Worst Workout Mistakes on the Elliptical Trainer Machine – Prevention.com

  1. Hey there…I appreciate this article. I’m at week 10 or so of recovery from ACL surgery, and basically the only thing I get to do is the elliptical. Is resistance the same thing as incline? Also you mentioned going backwards, should you split time evenly between the two?



    • Thanks! Hope you’re healing quickly! There is a difference between the resistance and the incline-if you have a machine with both, it means you have more options 🙂

      The resistance is how heavy the work feels-the higher the number, the harder you’re working. The incline is how steep of a grade you’re working on-it’s essentially how high your knees are going. The higher your incline is, the higher you’ll want your resistance to be (it will help eliminate some of the momentum of your legs pushing down and make the muscles do the work instead).

      I try to spend even time between pedaling forward and backward. It balances out the work, and when you are moving in opposite directions, you’ll hit different muscles (this applies to your incline also).

      Hope that helps some!

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