woman working out on elliptical

Is the Elliptical Good for Weight Loss

If you wander into any gym, you’ll notice that elliptical machines are very popular.  . There are many reasons why these exercise machines are favoured over other equipment , but the most compelling reason  is that they’re great for cardio and weight loss. 

In this article we’ll explain why ellipticals are particularly ideal if your goal is weight loss and explore some of the many benefits of elliptical training. We’ll also show you  how to use ellipticals for weight loss with 2 workout plans for elliptical training-1 for beginners and 1 for more advanced users.. And we’ll wrap it up by  discussing whether 30 minutes of elliptical training is enough to lose weight, and what happens if you train on the elliptical every day.

Why ellipticals are great for weight loss

Elliptical training is a type of cardio workout, which is essential for maintaining your health and for weight loss. This type of workout is incredibly important for your cardiovascular health because it strengthens your heart and helps it more efficiently pump blood throughout your body. It also lowers blood pressure, helps to regulate your blood sugar level, and can help reduce chronic pain.

Here are some key benefits of using ellipticals for cardio.

Good for your joints

Cardio and aerobic exercise can be taxing on your joints. Over time, the joint pain can worsen and cause chronic issues and pain. Elliptical exercise is a type of cardio training that puts less stress on your joints. Ellipticals allow for a smooth, fluid motion. This means that there is less tension and impact like what you experience with running. Treadmills or any kind of running require more from your knees, ankles, and hips. With the elliptical machine, your feet never leave the pedals, meaning your joints won’t be put through the same wear and tear as other high-impact cardio exercises. 

Full body workout

An elliptical machine with handles is one of the few workout machines that can provide a whole body exercise. It not only targets your leg muscles, but it also engages your upper body muscles like your arms and core. The key to targeting both upper and lower body is to distribute your weight and resistance evenly. 

To do this, you’ll need to pump your arms back and forth as quickly as you’re moving your legs. When you distribute the work evenly, the elliptical machine can target your quads, hamstrings, glutes, chest, biceps, triceps, back, and core muscles.    

Burns more calories

If losing weight is one of your workout goals, then consider adding elliptical training to your routine. The elliptical machine is ideal for burning calories. In fact, the calorie burn is higher on an elliptical machine than on any other stationary machine such as a stationary bike. Ultimately, how many calories you burn will depend on your weight and the intensity of your workout. However, on average, an elliptical machine can help you burn approximately 270-400 calories in 30 minutes

Burning more calories means burning more fat. Because the calorie burn is high on an elliptical machine, you will lose body fat at a higher level. To maximize calories burned and therefore, fat burning, consider adding high intensity interval training (HIIT) to your elliptical workout. Though both medium and high intensity interval training target fat loss, higher intensity exercise helps you accomplish more in a shorter time span than moderate intensity exercise.

How to use elliptical for weight loss

High intensity intervals can help you burn more fat during a 30-minute workout. To complete a HIIT elliptical workout, adjust the machine’s resistance and increase your pace to a level of intensity that is difficult to sustain and follow it up by short periods of rest. A rest pace doesn’t mean you stop moving, but that you’re moving at a slower, comfortable pace. 

On average you should be aiming for 150 minutes of cardio training per week. While intensity is important for weight loss because it’ll help you burn more calories in a single, shorter session, frequency and consistency are the biggest factors when it comes to fat loss. This will help you burn more calories overall and ensures you keep the weight off for the long term

man working out on elliptical

Elliptical workout guide

Whether you’re a seasoned elliptical trainer or a novice, there is a workout for you. Below you’ll find an elliptical workout routine for both beginner and advanced exercisers that focus on calorie burn and weight loss. 

Simply follow each segment of the workout, focusing on maintaining the level of pace and resistance. If at any point you feel too breathless or you’re experiencing uncomfortable muscle fatigue, slow down and let your body recover. Pick up the pace once you’ve regained your breath and strength.  

Beginner workout

  1. 5 minutes: begin by warming up at a comfortable pace, keeping your resistance low.

  2. 3 minutes: slowly increase your resistance by 1-4 increments. You should be at a pace that’s more difficult than your warm-up pace, but still be able to carry on a conversation. Consider this your baseline pace.

  3. 2 minutes: increase your resistance until you’re working slightly more than your baseline pace.

  4. 3 minutes: reduce your resistance back to baseline pace.

  5. 2 minutes: increase your resistance again so that you are working slightly harder than your baseline pace.

  6. 5 minute: cool-down period. Reduce your resistance and pace back to a comfortable level.

Make sure that you’re monitoring your intensity and keeping an eye on your heart rate, especially as you increase your speed and resistance. Make adjustments to your workout to stay at a moderate intensity level. As you advance in your level of fitness, you can work up to high intensity intervals. 

Repeat this workout 3 times per week and give yourself a day of rest in between. This will help prime your muscles without over-exerting them and  reduce the risk of injury.

Advanced workout

  1. 5 minutes: begin by warming up at a consistent pace at level 3 resistance. 

  2. 2 minutes: drastically increase your pace so that you’re sprinting at level 8 resistance.

  3. 1 minute: reduce your pace so that it’s more difficult than your warm-up pace, but you’re not sprinting. This is your baseline or recovery pace. Set the resistance back to level 3.

  4. 2 minutes: increase your pace back to a sprint pace at level 8 resistance.

  5. 1 minute: reduce your pace back to your baseline or recovery pace. Set your resistance to level 3.

  6. 2 minutes: increase your pace back to a sprint pace at level 8 resistance.

  7. 1 minute: reduce your pace back to your baseline or recovery pace. Set your resistance to level 3.

  8. 2 minutes: increase your pace back to a sprint pace at level 8 resistance.

  9. 4 minutes: reduce your pace back to a warm-up pace at level 3 resistance.

If talk of HIIT got your blood pumping, this is the perfect workout for you. More targeted toward those who are at a more advanced stage of fitness, this workout will keep your heart rate up by alternating between high and maximum effort to get your heart rate up in minutes. 

If you are at an advanced level of fitness and work out the majority of your week, you may repeat this workout during any of your cardio sessions.

Is 30 minutes on the elliptical enough time to lose weight?

A half an hour elliptical workout routine is an optimal length of time spent during one session if your goal is to lose weight. However, weight loss doesn’t happen over the course of a single session, or even a week’s worth of dedication. Your consistency over time is what will deliver long lasting results. 

What happens if I use the elliptical every day?

Frequency and consistency is what will allow you to reap the weight loss and health benefits of your elliptical workouts. This means that the more consistent your exercising is, the more likely you’ll see positive results. Not only will you see physical results, but exercising every day is healthy for your overall well being and will  improve your cardiovascular fitness. 

Using an elliptical machine is an ideal workout if you are doing cardio training every day because of how low impact it is in comparison to other kinds of cardio exercises. This means that, over time, your joints won’t experience the kind of wear and tear that’s associated with higher impact cardio like running on a treadmill. 

Wrapping up

We hope that this guide shows you the potential weight loss that you can achieve using an elliptical machine. Along with demonstrating how effective ellipticals are at burning calories, the cardio workouts we provided can be incorporated into any fitness routine and will help you shed some pounds in the process. Whether you are just beginning your fitness journey or you are advanced, ellipticals are the ultimate cardio machine.

Justin Tardif-Francoeur

Justin Tardif-Francoeur

With over a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry, Justin has a rich background ranging from personal training in bustling gyms to practicing massage therapy in health centers, and eventually running his own practice. An avid advocate for self-improvement, he tirelessly pursues the latest research to broaden his knowledge of human physiology and the body's potential. When he isn't enriching his understanding or assisting clients, Justin can be found embracing the great outdoors through paddle boarding, yoga, and hiking, or immersing himself in a challenging workout. His passion transcends personal growth, as he's equally committed to inspiring others on their own journey of self-improvement.



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