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Amazing Elliptical Machine Workouts for Beginners

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

There’s more to the elliptical machine than meets the eye. The elliptical has become one of the most popular cardio machines at home and in the gym, but most aren’t maximizing its features.

Elliptical workouts are proven to help build strength, improve endurance, support the aerobic system, and work the full body, all while being low impact on joints and knees.

There are many beginner friendly workouts that riders can try to truly get the most out of their elliptical machine, and have fun while doing it. Treadmill, who?


Interval training is a popular method of exercise that can be applied to many different workouts, including the elliptical. Interval training on the elliptical breaks down the workout into pieces, incorporating short bursts of speed, resistance, and recovery time.

Reasons to Love

This interval exercise is a perfect all-around introduction to the possibilities of elliptical fitness. Even better, it is much more fun and interesting than just keeping the same pace throughout.


Fabulous cardio — short intervals of increased speed strengthens the aerobic system without causing exhaustion.

Burn calories burn — muscles burn more calories while adapting to varied speed and resistance.

Muscle targeting — the workout exercises different leg muscles depending on the interval, which is good for ones not used frequently in daily life.

Time to complete: 20 minutes


Even though incline work is a fun part of elliptical workouts, the Straightaway workout gives beginners a smoother ride to start. This exercise is split into two parts that focuses on resistance training in the first half and speed work in the second.

Reasons to Love

Increasing the incline on the elliptical can be slow going at the beginning. The Straightaway workout gives beginner quads a break, allowing riders to focus purely on the aerobic benefits of an elliptical workout. It’s also a fantastic quick workout when time is a consideration.


Easy street — with zero incline and simple structure, this workout doesn’t require too much mental focus.

Aerobic assessment — the focus on aerobics gives beginners a good sense of their heart rate and breathing.

Burn calories burn — muscles burn more calories while adapting to varied speed and resistance.

Time to complete: 15 minutes

Rhythmic Workout

Fitness isn’t boring when you get into a rhythm, which is exactly the goal of the Rhythmic Workout. This workout is great for elliptical beginners who are already in good physical shape.

Reasons to Love

The Rhythmic Workout is made for people who can’t stand still and hate workouts that do too much of one thing. The exercise incorporates speed, resistance, and incline changes to always keep things interesting. It also incorporates some arm work that exercises the upper body.


Full body — added arm motions make this a complete body workout.

Tone it up — the rhythmic nature of this workout keeps motivation high and is also fabulous for toning the body.

Dynamic — the Rhythmic Workout is dynamic mental and physically, training muscles to adapt and respond to changes.

Time to complete: 17 minutes

“Hills and Drills”

Elliptical machines are very effective in building cardio and muscle endurance. “HIIT and Hills” is definitely the workout to start with for those looking to do just that. It’s a great gauge of endurance level as riders will be able to feel their progress as they do the workout over time.

Reasons to Love

Gone are the days of running as far and long as possible to build endurance. This elliptical workout effectively works on endurance by putting in longer stretches of inclines and speed increases. It’s smartly designed so that people aren’t left gassed during and after.


● Go longer — longer intervals train the body to pace appropriately and muscles to endure longer stretches.

● Core power — pushing through longer stretches activates the core at a deeper level.

● Strength builder — key leg muscles gain strength from the incorporation of longer inclines.

Time to complete: 25 minutes

Low Impact

One of the unique benefits of elliptical fitness is that it’s super low impact. That means you can save your joints and knees while still getting an amazing workout. Even though the elliptical is inherently low impact, this low impact workout is even more conscious of pressure on joints and knees.

Reasons to Love

This exercise proves that low impact doesn’t mean boring, and still effectively builds strength, burns calories, and tones. The workout adds and subtracts resistance and inclines/declines progressively, so there’s no abrupt changes to adapt to.


Easy on the knees — sensitive knees will breathe easy during this workout.

Full body — variations in resistance work the complete body.

Smooth ride — progressive build-ups and cool-downs make it easy for muscles to gradually adjust to changes.

Time to complete: 20 minutes

Speed Ride

Take the fast-track to great aerobic shape with the Speed Ride. This fun and fast-paced workout takes elliptical riders through intervals of increased and decreased speed.

Reasons to Love

The Speed Ride is a fantastic pure energy release. After a breezy two minute warm up it’s off to the races (at a very manageable, beginner pace). The rest of the workout focuses on speed. But don’t worry, there are rest intervals in-between to provide some reprieve.


Energy booster — this a great one for releasing endorphins, leaving people rejuvenated and refreshed.

Burn calories burn — the intervals and speed changes are effective ways of increasing calorie burn.

● Stress relief — there’s nothing quite like kicking it into top gear to melt away any feelings of stress.

Time to complete: 20 minutes

Summit Climb

Ready to climb that fitness mountain? This fun and creative beginner Summit Climb workout gets the energy flowing while making people feel like they’re on top of the world.

Reasons to Love

As a beginner on the elliptical, getting started can be overwhelming and can kill motivation. The Summit Climb offers a fun introduction to the features of the elliptical machine while still providing a workout that feels more advanced.


Motivator — creative pacing gets the adrenaline flowing and empowers riders to finish strong.

Stronger than yesterday — progressive inclines build strength without being too noticeable on the body.

Go higher — the incline-based structure of the program takes quad muscles to new heights.

Time to complete: 30 minutes

Beginner HIIT

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become a somewhat intimidating term in fitness. This Beginner HIIT elliptical workout is a fun, come-as-you-are workout that preps riders just starting out for the possibilities of elliptical fitness.

Reasons to Love

Beginner HIIT is designed to get the heart rate going while being low impact and fun. After finishing, participants feel the positive benefits of the HIIT workout structure and gain confidence to tackle the next workout.


Metabolic boost — the HIIT structure is known for boosting the body’s metabolism.

Endorphins galore — an engaging and fun structure provides a great endorphin release.

Time is the essence — HIIT workouts are designed to get more cardio and health benefits in a shorter period of time.

Time to complete: 16 minutes

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