4 Fast and Fun Elliptical HIIT Workouts

Are you looking for a way to make your elliptical workout more efficient and fun? If you’ve gotten bored with doing a basic exercise session, then you’ll be glad to know that you can incorporate HIIT techniques on the elliptical.

Or, maybe you’re new to the workout game and don’t know where to start. The sessions outlined here are easy enough for beginners to use, and you’ll be feeling the burn.

Confused about what an elliptical trainer is? Stumped by what HIIT stands for?

That’s ok. You’ll find everything you need right here.

Why Use an Elliptical Trainer?

An elliptical machine is a low-impact option to using a treadmill. Low-impact means that your feet don’t leave the platform, which makes this workout easier on your joints.

Just because an elliptical trainer gives you a low-impact workout doesn’t mean that you can’t dial up the intensity. Change the elevation, resistance and speed to challenge yourself to meet fitness goals.

People love the elliptical because it lets them get an intense, satisfying workout without causing undue stress to their knees, ankles and hips. Moreover, many people find that their old injuries aren’t triggered by this machine.

Science even backs this up. In one study, researchers demonstrated that elliptical machines make it possible for people to keep training without enduring the additional stress that comes from high-impact workouts.

What Is a HIIT Workout?

“HIIT” stands for “High-Intensity Interval Training.” Researchers have discovered that alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity intervals in a single workout can increase metabolism, help to blast training plateaus and increase excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which means that more calories are burned during and after a workout.

HIIT workouts can be done without any equipment or on any cardio machine. They take less time than steady-state workouts, with 30 minutes being the standard rather than 60 to 90 minutes.

The Advantages of Combining HIIT with Elliptical Training

HIIT is a faster, more efficient workout, and when you complete these sessions on an elliptical trainer, they also can be low impact.

This means that you can enjoy a total body workout in about half an hour. You can work your core, upper body, lower body and raise your heart rate, all without ever stepping off the elliptical.

Using HIIT on the elliptical trainer can be as simple as alternating between periods of maximum effort and recovery. “Maximum effort” means different things to different people.

Experiment to find your maximum effort by playing with elevation, speed and resistance on the elliptical machine. This enables you to work as hard as you can during your high-intensity periods.

If you’re ready for more of a challenge when combining HIIT with the elliptical trainer, then try one of the four fast and fun workouts below.

1. The Varied Grip Workout

Just the way that you grip the bars on the elliptical machine can radically change your workout.

Use the full grip, which means having your fingers wrapped around one side of the handles and your thumbs wrapped around the other. This is your default grip, and it should feel natural.

If you want to engage your back muscles more, try the curved grip. This involves having your fingers and thumbs all wrapped around the outside of the handles.

The open grip will give your core a challenge. Place your palms on the bars with your fingers pointing out to the sides.

If you need a rest, use the center grip. This just means that your hands are holding onto the stationary bars.

Here’s a workout that challenges you with all of these grips.

  • 1 minute: run with open grip
  • 1 minute: run with curved grip
  • 3 minutes: run with full grip
  • 1 minute: recover with grip of your choice
  • 1 minute: sprint with center grip
  • 1 minute: recover with grip of your choice
  • 1 minute: sprint with center grip
  • 1 minute: recover with grip of your choice

Repeat three times for a 30-minute workout.

2. The Core Workout

The core muscles are too often neglected. With this elliptical workout, you’ll work those critical muscles like never before.

All you have to do is periodically remove your hands from the handles. This requires your core to really engage so that you maintain your balance.

  • 3-5 minute warm-up
  • 30 second sprint at your top speed without holding the handles
  • 60 second recovery at moderate or low speed, using the handles
  • Repeat this sequence 10 times
  • 3-5 minute cool-down

3. The Upper Body Workout

If you think that the elliptical is just for cardio or maybe a bit of a lower-body challenge, think again. You can get a complete upper body workout by shifting your focus.

Take some of the intensity away from your legs by pushing or pulling harder with your hands and arms. Your back, shoulders and arms will get an intense workout while you work up a sweat.

In each recovery period, let go of the handles and let your arms relax while your legs and core take over for a full-body workout.

  • 3-5 minute warm-up
  • 20-30 seconds at high speed while pulling with hands and arms
  • 60-90 second recovery using low to moderate speed
  • 20-30 seconds at high speed while pushing with hands and arms
  • 60-90 seconds recovery using low to moderate speed
  • Repeat this sequence five times
  • 3-5 minute cool-down

4. The Forward and Reverse Workout

A forward stride is the default on the elliptical trainer. This can give your quads a great workout.

If you’d also like to target your glutes and hamstrings, just reverse the direction of your stride. A workout that combines both the forward and reverse directions lets you work all of these major muscle groups.

For this workout, you’ll use your high-intensity periods for sprinting forward and your recovery periods for moving in reverse.

  • 3-5 minute warm-up
  • 30 second sprint at high speed
  • 90-second recovery at moderate speed
  • Repeat this sequence 10 times
  • 3-5-minute cool-down

Rather watch a workout in action? Check out Adrian’s HIIT Elliptical workout that burns 800 calories.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *