Sandy Springs Gym explains Elliptical Do’s and Don’ts

Women at the gym exercising on machines


In addition to strength training sessions at Get Fit Now Fitness Studio in Sandy Springs, GA , we highly recommend that you get your cardio workouts in as well.

A combination of both cardio and strength training will get you in the best physical condition, and aerobic capacity is a very important aspect of fitness.

Today we wanted to explore the benefits of an elliptical machine.  Not only are they available at most gyms, but they are also used in homes.

To use an elliptical, stand on top of the pedals and grab the handles. Move your legs in a gliding back-and-forth motion. Other than their ease of use, these machines feature an array of additional benefits.  The elliptical helps increase your aerobic capacity by increasing your heart rate and making you break a sweat. Just 20 to 30 minutes three or more days a week is enough to increase your aerobic fitness.


You get a total body workout.

When you are running either outside or on a treadmill, you burn calories and get a lot of leg muscle recruitment. However, when you use the elliptical, you can work the upper and lower body at the same time. Elliptical machines work the legs, chest, shoulders, back and arms. With this machine, you can complete a full-body workout in as little as 20 minutes!

Lower Body Exercise

Elliptical trainers use a lot of muscles in the legs, which is an area a lot of people want to target. For an effective leg workout, place your hands on the center handrail, and just use your legs to move the pedals. To add a little variation to this, you can reverse the direction of the pedals, which will work your legs more intensely.

Calories Burned

According to Harvard Health Publications, you can burn up to 400 calories in just 30 minutes exercising on an elliptical machine, depending on your weight. The heavier you are, the more weight you’ll burn in this time frame. The intensity of your workout also impacts the amount of calories you burn, so increase the machine’s resistance or interval train on the machine to increase the amount of energy you expend during workout sessions.


Elliptical Do’s and Don’ts

We asked our personal trainer, Savannah if she would list Elliptical Do’s and Don’ts so that you may get the best, safest workout when using this machine and this is what she advises:



  • Tone your thighs:  If toning your thighs is your main focus you should pay attention to your feet when using the machine.   If you press more with your heels you will tone your hamstrings and butt.  Pressing more with your toes will tone your quads and the front of your thighs.  Also, to tone the glutes you can pedal backwards or increase the incline.


  • Time: If you don’t have a lot of time, you should use your arms and legs equally to get more out of your cardio workout.This will help to raise your heart rate and burn more calories and also help you burn your upper body too.  Push the handles to work your chest and pull the handles to work your upper back and shoulders.


  • For the core:  Use the elliptical with no hands.  By doing this your balance challenged and you really target your core.  Be sure not to sway from side to side and to monitor your posture throughout.  Put your hands on your hips.



  • Use zero resistance

–       Although you may be able to go faster with no resistance, you will not see results without resistance.  You should use enough resistance to where you can feel yourself push and pull through the stride.

  • Slouch

–       Standing up straight helps to lengthen your abs, giving you a chance to engage your core and even work your upper body muscles.

  • Not changing directions

–       you should always change directions because it allows you to change which muscle groups you are working the hardest.

  • Not changing your workout

–       There are two ways to add intervals to your workout.  You can break it up where you are going at an intense pace for one minute and then a moderate pace for four minutes.  Or you can maintain your speed and increase the resistance.

  • You go until you can’t feel your feet

–       Putting too much pressure on your toes can make your feet go numb when you are on the elliptical.  To fix this problem you should sit back into your heels.

  • Use low resistance

–       if the machine makes a purring noise while you are on it then that means you are going too fast without enough resistance.  Which means you are not getting enough calorie burn out of your time.

  • Not working your upper body

–       Incorporate working the upper moving handles two days a week.  You can do intervals by focusing on moving the upper handles for one minute then pumping your legs for four.

  • Large incline

– On the elliptical using a large incline will not increase the difficulty like it would on a treadmill.  Instead using a large incline makes it easier for your legs to push and pull your way through a stride.

Hope this answers any questions you may have had on the elliptical for getting your work out done correctly and adding a great cardio boost to your day!

Committed to your fitness,

The Get Fit Now Team


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