Are you getting enough out of your elliptical workout? Too often, you hit the machine but just don’t experience the same burn as you first did.
Exercise plateaus are a real thing, and this article will offer you eight ways to burst through that plateau and make your workout count again.
1. Start With Proper Form
Unless you have a personal trainer who’s an expert on the elliptical machine, there’s a chance that you might not be using it correctly. Your form and posture when using the machine could be what changes from a sub-par workout to a great one.
Make sure that your feet are firmly planted on the ground. Too often, people end up standing on their toes which can cause an injury.
Also, make sure that your elbows and knees are bent slightly. This will help reduce the strain and soreness after the workout is over.
Finally, keep your core clenched and your spine straight. This has been shown to help burn calories a lot faster.
2. Add-In Core Exercises
If you still feel like you’re not giving enough attention to your core, then you should step off of the elliptical every three minutes and do some planks. Planks have been shown to be a great core exercise since it works your entire core.
Your plank should be held for about 30 seconds. Once it’s over, hop back onto the elliptical for another three minutes until it’s plank time again.
3. Work Your Glutes By Changing The Incline
If you’re not quite happy how your glutes look in your workout shorts, then the elliptical machine can help you out with that. One of its best abilities is to be able to configure the incline.
The steeper the incline is, the more you’re working out the muscles in your rear. A good idea to maximize your workout is to increase the incline at certain intervals.
For three minutes, start with the normal incline. Then after those three minutes, increase the incline by two intervals.
To achieve ultimate booty shaping, you can even challenge yourself by increasing it by intervals. Just make sure to decline, too, in order to give yourself a rest.
4. Go Backwards
Hamstrings remain a vulnerable and weak spot for many people. Your elliptical machine can actually help you strengthen them.
Your first impulse might be to just turn around on a machine. Don’t.
Instead, carefully rotate your feet backward instead of forwards. The machine will work in that direction and offer you an intense workout on your hamstrings.
To further challenge yourself, increase the steepness of the machine by single intervals every three minutes.
5. Add-In Pushups
If your upper body strength could use some help, then let the elliptical machine help you. Depending on what kind of machine you have, they usually have a countdown that lasts for a minute or so when you hit the pause button.
That countdown can be the perfect timer for you to hop off and get some pushups done. Try to aim for around 25 pushups in that minute interval.
Then just before the timer runs out of time, you can unpause the machine and get back to the elliptical workout. The machine is perfect for allowing you to quickly step off and perform other exercises in order to enhance your workout overall.
6. Don’t Use Handles To Encourage Lower Body Strength
Every elliptical machine has handles that you’re supposed to hold onto. What happens if you don’t?
For individuals who aren’t afraid of breaking the rules, you can actually enhance your lower body strength. Instead of using the handles to help pull yourself up and down, you should just ignore them entirely and use your legs alone to lift you up and down.
The opposite can be true when you focus on using the handles alone. By applying more strength to your arms than your legs, you can work out your upper body, too.
Just make sure that you do so safely.
7. Add Dumbbells
Every workout junkie should have a set of dumbbells lying around. You can use them to supercharge your elliptical workout.
Every three minutes, step off of the elliptical and either do a set of bicep curls or shoulder presses. You can use the timer on the machine to do as many as you can in the allotted time.
If you have a very good balance, then you can use the dumbbells on the machine, too, to further challenge your legs. However, this can become dangerous, so only perform the move if you’re sure of your balance.
8. Practice Interval Training
There’s a lot of love for interval training. When exercisers hit a plateau, the best way to burst through it is to introduce high-intensity interval workouts.
During those periods of high-intensity intervals, the body is shocked into breaking down fat and building muscle. It can help pummel through plateaus and keep the body in shape.
Elliptical workouts typically focus on a steady increase in cardio exercise. The impact is less potent than other exercises.
Because of that, many people enjoy the elliptical. However, if you feel like the elliptical machine isn’t doing what it used to do for you, then you should try your hand at high-intensity interval workouts.
You begin by working out normally. Your body should be warmed up before you start high-intensity workouts.
Once you’ve been at the machine for six minutes or so, you should turn the machine all the way to the highest resistance setting. As quickly as you can, use the machine for 30 seconds.
Then set it back down to the lightest resistance and recover for a minute. Once that minute is over, you hit back to the highest resistance setting for another 30 seconds.
This should be repeated for 10 to 20 minutes depending on your fitness and desired level of strength and tone. If you start to plateau with high-intensity interval workouts, then extend the period of high-intensity by 10 more seconds.