How NOT To Use An Elliptical – And Why

Home > Ellipticals > How NOT To Use An Elliptical – And Why
By Natalie Martin

 How NOT To Use An Elliptical Machine – and Why


Knowing how not to use an elliptical is just as important as knowing how to get the most out of it. Not only will this ensure that you get maximum results, but it is also the best way to prevent injuries. Here are a few helpful tips on how NOT to use an elliptical.



Don’t Do This on an Elliptical


  1. Don’t leave your resistance at “zero”

If you want to feel great when you step off of  elliptical machine and the thought of working up a sweat is just not for you, then go ahead and leave your resistance set a “zero”. However if you want to burn calories, strengthen and tone leg, core and upper body muscles it is important that you take advantage of the resistance settings.


  1. Don’t slouch

If you want to strengthen your core and successfully work your upper body, it is important to stand up straight. When you slouch it is harder to work these muscles, and there is also research that indicates this can limit the number of calories you burn during a workout.


  1. Not entering your information

According to most experienced trainers the majority of elliptical machines are preset for users that weigh 150 pounds, but this might not be accurate for you. If you don’t take the time to enter in your information you won’t get accurate readings after your workouts. When you don’t know the results from your workouts, tracking your performance will be almost impossible.


  1. Don’t keep going until your feet are numb

A common problem experienced trainers often warn their clients about is putting undo pressure on their toes. This can result in your feet going numb, and this will usually force you to shorten your workout time. If this problem keeps occurring not only will you not get the results you are looking for, it could even result in foot problems that will continue to plague you after the workout is done.

Simply putting your weight on your heels instead of your toes will usually resolve this problem. This also allows you to work larger muscle groups which in turn can increase strength and stamina, and burn more calories. If you are standing up straight on the elliptical you’re more than likely already putting your weight on your heels.


  1. The motor continuously sounds like it is winding up

If the small motor in the elliptical sounds like it is constantly “winding up for takeoff”, you are not using the machine properly. When the motor starts to make these noises it generally means that you are not using enough resistance. Even though you are moving at a fast rate of speed and this is why the motor sounds like it is winding up, you are still not getting the most out of your daily workouts.

The resistance should be set to where you are moving at a steady and moderate pace so your muscles are being forced to work. This will help get your heart rate up so your workouts are actually effective.


  1. Don’t ignore the moving handles

One of the advantages of using an elliptical is that it can work your upper body, but only if you incorporate the moving handles into your routine. Most experienced trainers recommend using the handles twice a week, and the other days simply grab onto the stability bar. Even if you aren’t trying to build upper body strength, it is still advisable to stop ignoring the moving handles if you truly want to get the most out of your elliptical machine.


  1. Don’t only focus on the Elliptical

Even if an elliptical is the only exercise machine that you own, experienced trainers all agree that it still should not be the only way you get a workout in. While it is true that there are several advantages to using an elliptical, it is still important to switch up your workout routine occasionally.

Adding a little strength training will continue to challenge your muscles, which in turn helps build lean mass. Getting your cardio from a brisk walk or other type of exercise can help prevent boredom, and keep your heart rate elevated. This will boost your metabolism so you can continue to burn fat and calories, and have plenty of energy.


You DO want to do the following


Before you start training with an elliptical it is recommended that you first get approval from a licensed physician to ensure that it is safe for you. This is advice that you will want to follow anytime you start working out on a new piece of equipment. Even though elliptical trainers are generally considered “safe”, it is always best to double check with an expert.

You also want to make sure that you take advantage of all of the features. Most elliptical trainers allow for the resistance and incline to be adjusted, and some will even let you change the stride length. Increasing the resistance periodically will help prevent plateaus so you can continue to get the results you are looking for.

It is also important to keep your info updated, since it will change. This is especially applies to anyone with a weight loss goal. As the pounds are worked off, you will want to enter your new weight. This will help ensure that everything is accurate so you can easily track your goals and milestones.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure

BodyGearGuide is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to In simpler terms, we get a small commission when you buy a product through