12 Mistakes You Are Making On The Elliptical

Submitted By Jenny Smith  

With the increase in cardio diseases, the use of the elliptical, or elliptical trainer, has increased exponentially over the past few years. Elliptical workout is one swift, easy and fun way to reduce those treacherous calories. No need to go from machine to machine to do different kinds of exercises or making a routine, you can simply read a newspaper or watch TV while working on one machine and all of your exercises are done. However, as easy or smooth the elliptical workouts seem, do not get over confident that you are doing it right.

It is not enough just to know how to spin and move on the elliptical trainer. There are mistakes that the majority of the elliptical users do and do not even know that they are doing it wrong. These mistakes cannot only drastically reduce the efficiency of your workout, but can also, sometimes, make the elliptical harmful for you instead of being healthy.

Following are 12 of the most common mistakes that people are usually making on the elliptical trainer.

12. Resistance


The resistance setting while taking a walk on the elliptical changes how much resistance you feel while walking on the elliptical. They can cause a mile of walk to be as easy as a pie or super tough. These are much more important than you would have thought of. It can change your workout from being your ultimate calorie burner to being just a waste of time.

You need to start with normal resistance, but if you do not feel hard to pace with or do not feel like doing real effort while walking, you need to step up the resistance. The resistance that is already set up in the machine or the resistance that you once set up on the machine is not enough as your body gets used to that resistance. You need to step up the resistance and walk at a moderate pace until you have the least bit of energy left in you. Only then will your elliptical workout become fruitful.

11. Calibration

CALIBRATIONDid you burn 200 calories yesterday according to the elliptical? Well you might have burned just 50. The elliptical calibrates itself according to the information that is entered for the user and shows the amount of calories burned etc. according to that information.

Most people don’t even know that you need to enter your information. The elliptical is generally customized according to a person with a weight of 150lbs. Before getting the calories burned on elliptical, you need to tell the elliptical information about yourself.

Workout according to calories burned is very important. According to many studies, a recommended value of 100 calories every 10 minutes has been set as the most efficient workout. After calibrating your machine according to your information, you should make a routine of burning 100 calories every 10 minutes to get the best results out of your workout.

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10. Direction

DIRECTIONThe most usual direction a person usually prefers, or naturally starts their workouts in, is in the forward direction. While striding in the forward direction is helpful too, changing the direction of your stride is very important too.

There have been several studies, which show a plethora of advantages for changing the direction during exercise. One advantage is that exercising will not bore you, physically and mentally. Changing your direction of stride from forwards to backwards changes a million things. It changes the muscles that are being fatigued – forward strides fatigue the quads while backward strides fatigue the hamstrings and glutes – and hence it relaxes the muscles a bit. Therefore, you would automatically exercise longer as the same exercise will not physically bore you.

The best researched way of exercising is sitting straight up and keeping your knees at a 90° angle and striding. Change your direction whenever you start feeling that that one particular direction is boring your muscles. This will get the best fatigue out of the proper muscles and get you the best possible results.

9. Sound Of Elliptical

SOUND OF ELLIPTICALElliptical machines are designed to be silent during your workout. This feature is not just for human comfort. It is also very helpful in telling you whether you are doing it right or not.

The elliptical is designed to be silent up until specific speeds. After those speeds, it starts making a whirring noise. If you can hear that whirring noise, that does not mean that you should be impressed of yourself to have beaten the machines designed specifications, you should realize that all of the work out that you have been doing was just going to a waste.

Set the resistance setting on the elliptical to a level where the max speed that you can get does not make the machine emit any kind of sound. If you hear the sound, your muscles are not doing any work as the resistance is too easy for it to overcome. Therefore, you always need to keep an ear out for that noise and increase the resistance whenever you hear your elliptical telling you to increase it.

8. Posture

POSTUREWhile many people do not pay any attention to their posture while exercising, they end up making one of the biggest mistakes of workout on the elliptical. You need to stand up straight on the machine while using it whereas people are used to resting theirs arms on the armrest while exercising.

Armrestsare not made to rest the whole of your arms while exercising. Resting your arms will make you feel more balanced while exercising and will make it easier. However,that is where you start to lose 50% less calories. It feels easier because it is giving less fatigue on muscles and it is burning lesser calories.

Standing up straight, according to numerous studies, engages your core and lengthens your abs. This helps to make your upper body muscles work as well. An upper body muscle working is just as important as we will see in coming headings.

7. Working On Arms

WORKING ON ARMSAs said earlier, working on upper body muscles along with lower body muscles is just as important. Upper body is half of your body and leaving out upper body workout means that you are missing out half of your workout capacity.

The moveable handles on the elliptical are given for the reason of exercising your arms along with your legs. So use them!

You do not need to work with moveable handles every day. You can switch between moveable armrests and stationary arm rests. The best combination is using moveable armrests for 2 days and then using stationary armrests for the rest of the days.

While using moveable arm rests, it is best if you keep switching your concentration between arms and legs. Make a habit of concentrating on your arms for 1-2 minutes and then concentrating on your legs for the next 7-8 minutes. This should be enough to give your body the maximum calorie burn that it can tolerate.

6. Monotonous Routine

MONOTONOUS ROUTINEA very huge mistake and a problem that every gym member faces is the monotonous routine of exercises. Following the same routine of exercises for months and months make your body used to the routine and get bored with it. It might sound as a non-important issue but when your body starts getting bored with something, it naturally starts putting less and less effort into it. This means that you will get tired without even burning the amount of calories that you usually burn.

To solve this issue, gym instructors suggest a change in routine of exercises every month. This is exactly the same thing that you need to do while using an elliptical machine as well. Change your workout routines on the elliptical.

Furthermore, a very famous variation in the exercising that has been devised to solve this issue is to vary the resistance on the elliptical while trying to keep the same pace or trying to vary your pace while keeping the resistance constant.

5. Shifting Machines

SHIFTING MACHINESJust as following the same routine on the elliptical will make your body get bored of the workout and will reduce the results that you were getting, using the same machine every day gives the same effect. People usually get mesmerized with the greatness of the elliptical machine and go to the gym only to work on the elliptical. This is another huge mistake.

You need to use other machines as well along with the elliptical to keep your body from getting used to the movements of the workout. Take a trip on the rowing machine or the stepper machine once every week to make your body feel like it is not on a fixed routine.

The best combination of machines to use along with the elliptical is perhaps weight lifting machines. Weight lifting machines help you gain some mass and gaining mass is surprisingly a huge source of burning calories. When you are gaining mass, you burn calories even when you are sleeping at night!

4. Weight Distribution

WEIGHT DISTRIBUTIONThis is another one of the most common mistakes that are done on the elliptical and this is also one of the mistakes that can lead to harm instead of being beneficial. When you stand straight during exercise, the balancing of your weight on the whole foot is very important.

Most people put the whole pressure of the body on the toes of the foot while exercising. This is very harmful for the toes as it is bearing too much weight and force. It is pretty much like standing on stilettos, which puts all the pressure on your spine instead of putting pressure on your feet. Another problem with this is that it will make your toes go numb just after a little workout and you won’t be able to continue further on.

The solution is very simple, but it is hard to follow. While exercising, try putting the pressure on the heels of your foot while exercising. This will help you distribute the weight properly on the whole foot and it will also group together the muscles and will make them work together.

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3. Inclination

INCLINATIONPeople that have shifted from using the treadmill to elliptical are most prone to be doing this mistake. Remember, an elliptical is in a LOT of ways different from a treadmill, including the fact that a treadmill makes you work hard when you are running at an inclined one, while an elliptical does not.

The purpose of an inclination on an elliptical is to ease up your exercise instead of making it hard to use. The inclination makes it easier for you to push and pull during exercise, reducing the amount of calories that you burn by a huge amount.

Try using as lower inclination as you can. Don’t reduce the inclination to zero right away as that is the most difficult one to use. Reduce the inclination to as much as you can for maximum calorie burning. Depending on your age and your health, everyone will feel comfortable using a different inclination, so there is not a fixed suggestion for this. You need to deduce it on your own.

2. Pay Attention

PAY ATTENTIONThe best thing about an elliptical is no doubt the fact that you can watch TV or read a newspaper on your iPad while exercising isn’t it? Well this is also a big mistake.

Most people consider involving their minds in some other activities makes them work more and more as their minds don’t pay much attention to the fatigue. In reality, what happens is that when your mind is not paying attention towards your workout, your body automatically reduces the amount of stress it is putting on your workout. This reduces your efficiency by a considerable amount.

Concentrate on the workout and put on some heart pumping music to help you keep your mind concentrated at putting the best your body can give on the exercise.

1. Water

 WATERThe last one of the mistake is also the most dangerous mistake that you can ever make on the elliptical. Water is a majority part of our body mass and it is majority part because it is needed in that huge amount. Think of it as a lubricant for your muscles and a coolant for your body.

When you work out on the elliptical, the burning of calories results in sweating which is a major source of losing water of the body. This can result in cramps or even muscles tissue damage.

Always make sure that you have a water bottle along with you whenever you go for a work out on the elliptical and take small sips of water every 5 or 10 minutes to keep your body hydrated throughout. In fact, this applies on every other workout as well. Always keep a water bottle to keep yourself hydrated during your workout.

Avoiding these simple mistakes while working on the elliptical will help you maximize the outcome that you can get from this wonderful invention and you will start to see the results of the work out in no time.

OLWOMEN Points to Remember

  1. Do not overburden your body, slowly work your way up.
  2. Direction matters a lot. Change the direction every now and then.
  3. Keep your water bottle with you during exercise.
  4. Calibrate according to your physical needs. Take help from the instructor if needed.
  5. Change your workout routine, in order to keep yourself from getting tired and bored of working out.
  6. Work on every part of your body, not just legs but arms, chest, shoulders, etc.

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