Elliptical machines feature foot pedals and handheld poles that move back and forth in an alternating motion. This low-impact form of exercise works multiple muscles in the upper and lower body, such as the arms, back, chest, shoulders, butt and thighs. Interval workouts alternate bursts of intense activity with spans of lighter activity. By choosing this form of activity, you can boost your caloric expenditure while exercising and increase your post-workout metabolism.
Standard Interval Workout
A standard interval workout starts with a light warmup of five to 10 minutes. Glide slowly and gradually increase your pace by the time you reach the 10-minute mark. Once you have finished your warmup, glide at a pace that is 80 percent of your maximum effort. Stay at this pace for 20 to 30 seconds, then slow down to 50 percent maximum effort for 40 to 60 seconds. As soon as your low-intensity interval is up, glide at your high-intensity pace again and repeat for the rest of your workout. When you first start doing intervals, you may need to keep your times shorter. The important thing is that you make your low-intensity bouts twice as long as your high-intensity bursts.
With a sprint interval, the idea is to go all out for a short period, then go slow for three to five times as long as your sprint. For example, start out with a light warmup, then glide at a maximal effort for 30 seconds. Once you are done, slow down for 90 seconds. Simply follow this pattern for the rest of your workout. Being that this workout is so intense, you do not need to do it for a long period of time. Aim for reps instead of a time. When you first start, eight to 10 reps is sufficient. To continually make progress, add one or two sprints to your workouts per week.
A progressive interval starts out at a low or easy resistance then gradually increases the intensity. Begin your interval routine at a resistance level of 6 then increase by one level every minute for a total of 5 minutes. On your sixth minute of intervals, reduce your intensity level down to level 7; increase the level one time every minute for a total of 5 minutes. Repeat this progressive interval for a total duration of 30 minutes.
The Tabata drill is a high-intensity workout done the opposite way of a standard interval. After doing your warmup, glide as fast as you can for 20 seconds and glide slowly for 10 seconds. You can also completely rest for 10 seconds. Continue this pattern for your whole workout. Due to the short rest breaks, you will need to start this program with brief workouts. Four minutes of intervals is a good starting point. Slowly increase the number or intervals you do as you gain more aerobic capacity.
- Man-Health-Fitness-Solutions: Elliptical Exercise Equipment Examined
- Strength and Conditioning Journal; High-Intensity Interval Training: Applications for General Fitness Training; Brad Schoenfeld, et al.