Exercise! - For those that do elliptical

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07-09-2008, 01:13 PM
Can you tell me how long you do elliptical typically. At what level and how many miles per hour?

Thanks so much!

Jennifer 3FC
07-09-2008, 02:15 PM
Well, that would depend on your abilities and the type of elliptical that you are using. In general, I probably have always been on the elliptical about the same amount of time that I use the treadmill.

The first time I was on an elliptical, I went for 7 minutes and thought I'd pass out. :lol: By the end of the month I was going for about 45 minutes at a time, (that is still my usual) and I alternate levels and inclines so I can relieve one muscle group when fatigued, and work another.

07-09-2008, 02:18 PM
I have always worked out on an elliptical...although now I am using a treadmill for a running program. I was told the best workout on an elliptical is to do intervals...the ellipticals at my gym have an interval program...you just enter how long you want to go for..for a good cardio work out I would say at least 45 minutes. The trainer I used also said to make sure and monitor your heart rate...you want to make sure you are in the fat burning rate...hope that helps :)

07-09-2008, 10:08 PM
There are two different ellipticals at my gym, one with a crossramp (incline) setting and stationary arms (my doctor calls it an EFX) and one with arms that move but no incline crossramp setting.

If I do either elliptical, I usually do it for 15 minutes with the intensity set to level 9. (I have no idea how to translate this to other ellipticals, but I do know that the intensity setting isn't always the same from one brand of machine to the next).

On the elliptical with the crossramp, I start with the crossramp set at 14 (just about the highest incline and supposedly concentrating on my butt muscles) and do 2.5 minutes at that setting, then I drop the crossramp to 12 for another 2.5 min, then drop it to 8 for another 2.5 min, then drop it to 4 for another 2.5 min (close to the lowest incline setting and supposed using all the muscles in my legs--butt, quads, hamstrings, and calves). Then I increase the crossramp to 9 and go in reverse for 2.5 min, then I finish with the incline set at 6 or 10 (I'm such a wild woman :lol:). For this last segment, I don't allow myself to hold the handrails and I go until I hit 180 calories, which usually takes me to 15.5 or 16 min total. Throughout the whole routine, I try to keep my RPMs above 150, except when I am going in reverse, then I just try to keep them above 140. Going in reverse requires more coordination, so I have go a little slower.
On the other elliptical, with the arms that move, I just set it to level 9 and go at it for 15 min. That one reports MPH instead of RPMs; I try to keep my MPH above 7.5 and often am above 8.0. My goal on this machine is to get to 150 calories and I can usually get there in 15 min. (BTW--the calories are just a way of making sure I do the same intensity of workout every time, I don't really take that number seriously. Unlike the TM where it sets the pace, on the elliptical, it's up to me to push myself; noting the calories it says I've burned is a way of making sure I push myself equally at every workout.)

The elliptical is always just part of my cardio workout. I usually also do about 20 min of intervals on the TM. If my knee is acting up and I can't do the TM, I might do the stepmill or both ellipticals in the same workout.

I would like to do intervals on the elliptical, but I've never really figured out how. Do you try to go really fast for 1 min then slow for 1 min, or do you keep your speed the same and just change the intensity? It's easy to do intervals on the TM where the machine sets the pace; it seems a lot harder do them on the elliptical where I have to set the pace.

07-10-2008, 05:11 AM
Barbara, our gym has both those machines too -- Precor EFX ellipticals and LifeFitness ones with handles, which all the gym members call "crosstrainers". Precors work better for my knees because I can change the angle of the crossramp if they hurt. Anyway, I do intervals on the Precor by changing the resistance but keeping the speed about the same (usually around 170 rpm). I used my HR monitor as my guide and increase the resistance for peak intervals, then drop it back down for recovery. It works for me because I can't increase the speed enough to elevate my HR into the high intensity zone without basically falling off (I'd probably have to be consistently in the 200s). I do one minute forward and one minute backwards at a peak intensity and then drop back to two minutes forward and two back for recovery. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Give it a try and see if it works for you. :)

07-10-2008, 08:30 AM
130 RPM altering resistance between 5-8 or doing the cross training or ramp programs on the machine... generally for 30 minutes....but that was after running 2-3 miles. Burned nearly as many calories as running too... or so it said ;)

Like Jennifer, my first experience was horrible. I thought you were supposed to go really fast with max resistance and I wanted to die.

07-10-2008, 09:08 AM
I've never used the ellipticals with the cross ramp you can change. My gym has both Precors and LifeFitness, but they both have movable arms. I used to only use the Precor, which I loved, but I came to realize that I actually could get a better workout on the LifeFitness--something about the angle of things--though I can't stay on as long before my feet get numb.

I do intervals on the elliptical the speed way. Two minutes more slowly and then one minute as fast as I can go, which usually ends up being between 10 and 12 mph. The slow two minutes are in the 3-4 mph range. I can do between 35 and 40 minutes of intervals this way and am totally whupped when I'm done. My heart rate goes way up, and my total mileage is higher than when I do other things on the elliptical.

But I only do that once or maybe twice a week. I often use the programs on the elliptical as well--Life Fitness has a personal trainer program, which is basically a 10 minute cycle of doing something different every minute or two--I like it because it has some variety built in.

I used to spend at least an hour just on the elliptical, but since I've diversified my routine, now it's more like 35 minutes per workout, give or take a few, as part of a longer workout. It's still my favorite machine, but the benefits of diversifying (I also use the stair climber, the bike and the treadmill for running) have been so good that I'm willing to give up some elliptical time.

07-10-2008, 10:31 AM
I started using the elliptical about 2 weeks ago and on average I work out for 30 minutes and get to about 1.7 miles. The ellipticals at my gym have different workout programs you can select, and I've been doing the "random hill" program. It increases and decreases the workout automatically. As far as what level I use. I usually start out on 5 go up to 10, then slowly decrease back down to 5. Then I do my cool down on 1.

07-10-2008, 03:16 PM
Ahhhh. I :love: the elliptical. I prefer the EFX. I can get my running fix on this machine by using it without holding onto the stationary handrails. It helps to have pretty good core muscles to do this but in the beginning I would just "run" on it until I needed to recover and then held onto the stationary hand rails. Within a few weeks I could do about 80% of the workout without holding on keeping my arms in a running piston like motion. Great fun.

My resistance level is usually set to 8 or higher as a baseline. If I need more of a challenge I'll bump it up 11 but then I'm going much slower. This past winter I did this machine for about 35 minutes doing intervals. This kept me in maintenance mode through the holidays. When I want to lose a few extra pounds I'll do 45 minutes five to six days a week. Great fun with a well loaded iPod and a great stress buster as well.

I've also begun using this piece of equipment from Precor that arrived this past winter in my gym


It took a couple of weeks to become comfortable with this piece. I found that resistance is really your friend on this machine. Without any resistance you kind of bounce all over the place. But, you can go up and down, jog, fullout stride, and backwards. I also tend to do this one without using the arms but it takes a lot of leg and core to keep that thing going. Toward the end I'm holding onto the display console for dear life. :s:

07-10-2008, 04:09 PM
I would like to do intervals on the elliptical, but I've never really figured out how. Do you try to go really fast for 1 min then slow for 1 min, or do you keep your speed the same and just change the intensity? It's easy to do intervals on the TM where the machine sets the pace; it seems a lot harder do them on the elliptical where I have to set the pace.I actually find it harder to do intervals on the TM because it takes so long for it to come up to speed or slow down between intervals. On the elliptical, I can speed up while the intensity is going up and slow down while it's going down.

I do intervals a couple of different ways on the elliptical.

Most often I do this:
Set the intensity about 5, which at a moderate pace, gets my heart rate around 145 (about 2 or 3 mins).
Then ramp the intensity up to 8 and go as hard and fast as I can for 1 min. At the end of the 1 min, I'm up around 176/180
Drop the intensity back to 5 and slow down until my heart rate reaches 145 again (again, 2 or 3 mins).
I can do this for about 8-ish cycles. By the end of the 8th HI cycle, "as hard and fast as I can" is pretty darned lame. :)
Then I cool down for about 5 mins to get my heart rate down into the low 130s.

Every once in a while I set the intensity at 10 and the incline at 10 and just use my own speed to control my heart rate. This one is harder to do for me since it means really forcing my stride, so it gets my heart rate up higher, faster.


07-10-2008, 09:58 PM
I actually find it harder to do intervals on the TM because it takes so long for it to come up to speed or slow down between intervals.

It's true, that is really annoying. I wish you could set how long the TM would take to change speeds. I end up doing my sprint for extra long and gypping my recovery period. One thing I like about intervals on the stepmill is that it assumes a normal reaction time (as opposed the TM, which apparently thinks I have an abnormally slow reaction time) and changes speeds almost instantly.

Maybe on Sunday I will try to do some intervals on the elliptical.

07-11-2008, 10:12 PM
I love the elliptical. I tend to stay on for about 45 min. But push for an hour. It is amazing how many calories you can burn on it. I love it!!

07-20-2008, 10:23 PM
I do level 12 hills for 40 minutes 5 times a week. I love the hill setting.

07-20-2008, 10:58 PM

I started to sweat just from watching the video!!