How to Use an Elliptical Trainer

In order to accomplish the best results with an elliptical trainer, you have to focus on both arm and leg movements. At the same time, you need to keep an eye on the digital readout, so you know when the calorie target is reached. The cross trainer will help you achieve your goal weight in a very effective way, by combining fluid running with the low impact bicycling.

Movement of the Legs on an Elliptical Trainer

When first using an elliptical trainer, you will notice that it features a pair of foot pedals on which your feet will sit. Before starting the exercise, make sure that the feet are secured on the pedals. It is recommended to place the foot on the center of the pedal, so your weight gets distributed uniformly.

The stride should be normal, the same as when walking. If it is longer and wider than usual, using the elliptical trainer will soon become uncomfortable. The best thing about the newer models of cross trainers is that the length of the stride can be adjusted. A stride that is shorter than usual will not be effective either, and will create the impression of spasmodic exercising.

Movement of the Arms

If you place your arms on the handles of the cross trainer, they will move at the same time as your feet. However, if working out your arms is tiresome, you can place them on the stationary handlebar which is placed between the handles.

People may also choose not to place their arms on anything, but to keep them near the body, as if running or speed walking. This alternative exercise seems to be the most intense. In addition, your core muscles will get stabilized and will be able to provide more efficiency. In this particular situation, the number of calories burned is greater than when placing the arms on the swinging handles or on the handlebar. Though, if you decide to place your arms on the handles of the cross trainer, you are highly recommended to do this carefully. The intensity of the exercise can drop considerably if you concentrate your body weight forward, on the handles.

How to Use the Digital Console

The majority of the elliptical trainers include digital consoles on which the parameters of the workout are displayed. While more advanced models feature sensors for determining the pulse, the basic features include display of:

  • Calories burned
  • Elapsed time
  • Distance covered or steps per minute

The digital console may display these parameters only when you are exercising, but it is also able to motivate you afterwards. If you know the details of your workout, you can easily monitor your progress and even set new goals. While the digital consoles may not be 100 percent accurate, the parameters that they provide can still be used as a guide.

If you are just getting started with exercising on an elliptical trainer, do not be surprised if your muscles need some time to get used to the new movements. The duration needs to be increase progressively, until you manage to exercise for at least 20 minutes at a time.


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