How To Use The Elliptical To Lose Weight?

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Do you want to use an elliptical machine to lose weight, but are not sure how to use it effectively for weight loss? Or you might be wondering how effective the elliptical is for weight loss in the first place.

Several debates are going on about just how efficient an elliptical machine actually is for weight loss. The answer is varied. Theoretically, it's the next best gym equipment. However, it has also been deemed the most misused machine in the gym (I'll expand on that later).

Fortunately, much to the 'elliptical-haters' dislike, this machine can be your best friend when you want to ditch the pouch, firm up your butt and define those fibrous leg muscles. 

If you want ideas on how to lose weight using your elliptical machine, keep reading for helpful tips.

How to Use an Elliptical Machine for Weight Loss? (correctly)

As I just mentioned, an elliptical machine is perfect for burning fat and calories. When compared to other cardio machines you find in the gym, such as a StairMaster, exercise bike or rowing machine, the elliptical trainer will burn a more substantial amount of calories.

But in saying this, it's vital to know how to use it correctly. According to LiveStrong and several other sites, the elliptical machine is the most misused machine, mainly because people have no clue how to use it efficiently.

The problem is, while it enables you to move your legs and arms with some resistance, it's commonly seen that people tend to "slack" off while using it. Personally, I've always applied it as a form of warmup, as opposed to where I get my cardio done. 

Fortunately, as I've expanded on my knowledge of fitness, it's clear that the elliptical machine is an invaluable tool to up your endurance and increase your weight loss. 

Proper Form

To get the best use of your elliptical trainer, keep a proper form. A wrong posture will get you nowhere. Stand tall; your head should be over your shoulders, drawing a straight, imaginable line to your hips. 

Use Your Arms

You'll get the most out of the machine if you incorporate your arms, so utilize the handles to push and pull and feel your upper body working. This is where the elliptical machine gains its advantage; you can engage more muscles in the activity. 

However, make sure not to grab too tight, relaxing your shoulders is key. Tightening your muscles too much may result in pain and injuries. Additionally, it's likely to tire you faster, so you'll end up slacking your way through the workout.

Speed and Resistance

Adjust your speed and/or resistance according to your needs. This is what's going to get your heart rate up, to maximize your caloric burn. Try to avoid speeding too much as this will create momentum, which—in turn—makes the workout easier as you'll begin to bounce.

To lose weight, you should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity. If you want to burn more calories, do a longer workout. This will also help to build up your endurance. 

Does the elliptical burn fat (effectively)?

At a medium intense elliptical workout, you're able to burn between 270 and 400 kcal in 30 minutes, depending on your weight. Which is, compared to other fitness machines, a relatively high amount of calories. So to answer the question; yes, the elliptical does burn fat effectively!

It should be noted that remembering to pace yourself is essential. Don't do more than 30 minutes if you're a beginner. Gradually work your way up to 60 minutes. Keep in mind that weight loss requires time and effort.

If you're still not convinced and want to compare the elliptical trainer with other cardio machines, you might want to check out one of these articles:

Elliptical Workouts for weight loss

Keeping your routine uniform may not be a good idea in the long term. You might enjoy your elliptical machine; however, spending all your time doing the same workout over and over, will eventually get boring. 

Besides getting bored, your body will slow down as it accustoms to the exercise. This is where your caloric burn will lessen and weight loss stops. Your system will preserve its energy, so if you're not ready for this, you'll be gaining weight back again. 

Keeping your routine varied by surprising your body with new workouts on a regular basis will stop you from entering this phase. Usually the machine itself will offer you a variety of workout programs.

If you don't have a machine yet (and are overweight), you might want to check out this article, which gives a few recommendations about different models specifically designed for weight loss and overweight people.

If you lack workout ideas, below are a few solid workouts you can do on your elliptical machine.

Hill Climbs

You can do hill climbs on your elliptical trainer by gradually increasing the resistance, about every two to five minutes. 

You can mix this up by alternating the placement of your hands. To mimic a rowing motion, place your hands in the middle of your handlebars. This will work the muscles in your lower back.

If you place your hands at the top, you can increase the intensity as you push and pull. This will raise your heart rate further and you’ll feel the sweat.


Alternating between quick bursts of low and high intensity will really make you sweat. Additionally, it will enable aerobic exercises. When exposing your body to this type of workout, it will begin to draw energy from your fat stores as opposed to its sugar reserves. 

This will have you burning an adequate amount of fat, even post-workout. Try to do more than one session per week, for about 20 minutes in the beginning. 

Another way to do intervals is through "mile repeats." You can do this by increasing the intensity for five minutes, followed by three minutes of recovery. Repeat this for 45 minutes. If you're a beginner, do less time at first.


Cardio is almost essential to lose weight. It will burn those extra calories, but it’ll also increase your endurance. 

When doing cardio, think long distance and keep to a moderate to high intensity. Begin with 10 minutes three times a day. Increase this to 30 minutes total three days a week, until you're comfortable with 60 or more. 

Cardio is an anaerobic exercise. In contrary to the latter, this will have your body tapping into its sugar reserves to get the energy needed.

If you’re still hungry for tips and ideas, you’re welcome to watch this useful video:


A healthy weight is essential for the human body. Being overweight can lead to various diseases. So, by already taking the first steps and looking into the subject, you're on the right path.

An elliptical machine is an exceptional workout tool, both for your home or in the gym. It's capable of burning more calories than any other device, due to its multifunctions. However, it's important to know how to use it. 

Keep a good posture, control your speed and increase your resistance and you'll see results in no time.

Has the elliptical machine helped you lose weight? You're welcome to share your experience in the section below.

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