An elliptical machine is another popular fitness machine that many people are using because it offers a low-impact workout while raising the heart rate. You may already be using it and familiar with the health benefits it provides to your body.

But while using an elliptical machine, there might be a few frequent mistakes you might be doing that could hinder you from receiving an effective workout and possibly put you at risk of having an injury.

Don’t worry. Here are some “elliptical” mistakes that you can avoid to make sure that you can utilise the machine properly.

No Goal Setting

Just like any other things you do in your life you must have a goal that you want to achieve. And that is not different from using your elliptical.

Elliptical machines look simple because all you have to do is get on it, start exercising and wait for the results to happen in your body. However, you must set both short-term and long-term goals for yourself if you want to maintain motivation and a reliable habit. Without goals, you’ll eventually reach a plateau and develop the habit of performing the same exercise routine repeatedly without making much progress.

Begin using your elliptical by planning out a workout routine and be sure to track your progress. The only way that you can reach your goal is by continuously improving and setting up new challenges for yourself.

You Only Rely on Using the Elliptical

You shouldn’t generally use one machine exclusively. If you frequently use your elliptical, consider adding some simple weightlifting exercises to your regimen or switching to a new type of cardio. This way, you won’t become bored with your program because of the variety it brings, which prevents your muscles from adapting to just one sort of action.

You are Slouching

One of the most crucial aspects when working out on these home gym machines is posture. Most of the time, they are simple to overlook or disregard if you don’t fully grasp their significance and how poor posture may lead to injury. Most slouching on ellipticals is typically caused by users leaning excessively on the handles. This can happen when the resistance is too great for them.

If you struggle too much to maintain good technique or can’t keep your posture, a higher resistance may not necessarily provide you with a better exercise. Try decreasing the resistance and do your workout at a normal pace. Standing up straight will ensure that you are working on your core muscles and provide the full-body workout you need.

You are Using the Wrong Level of Resistance

If you want to reduce weight, keeping up the same boring pace won’t get you very far. This is because a moderate amount of cardio is insufficient to activate your body’s fat-burning mechanisms.

There are no benefits when you use an elliptical with little to no resistance because you aren’t working any of your muscles or getting your heart rate up.

Having said that, you also don’t want too much resistance. If that happens, you have to exert all of your body weight only to go forward and you will notice that your body is bending or twisting as a result of strain.

Find the right resistance that suits your needs to maintain a smooth, continuous motion. You may need your legs to be pushing during each stride. When you do, continue with it throughout the rest of the session, and then it’ll start to feel effective.

Pushing Too Hard on Your Toes

Although it might seem insignificant, where your feet are placed on the elliptical machine can make a big difference. In the middle of an exercise, if you notice that your toes start to tingle, it’s probably because your front feet are bearing too much weight. To activate your muscles and get rid of the ache, move back onto your heels.

Bouncing Up and Down

You’re almost probably bobbing up and down when using your elliptical machine, which is another common error. Your body must remain level during your workout, just as it would while walking or running.

Staying level lessens the additional impact on your joints; otherwise, you risk waking up with a little knee pain and stiffness. By allowing the machine to lift and lower you, you are using your weight and gravity to move the pedals rather than straining your body. Staying leveled and straight prevents you from “cheating” on your workout.

Not Going Backward

On an elliptical, it only makes sense to move forward; after all, few people ever run backward on a treadmill or cycle backward on a stationary bike. But the ability to pedal backward on an elliptical is a special benefit that makes it stand out from other exercise machines. On the elliptical, moving backward works your hamstrings and glutes as well as other major muscle groups. If you want to change up your routine and your other muscles may use a break, try going backward.

Not Programming Your Machine

Before beginning your workout, double-check that you are entering your weight and height into the machine. This will help calculate how many calories you burn every workout.

However, don’t stop there! To maximise each session, use the virtual programming on your elliptical. To keep active and motivated, consider HIIT workouts or online coaching!

How To Use an Elliptical Properly

To make sure that you are working out properly, follow these steps:

  1. Place your feet firmly on the footplates. Make sure your entire foot, not just your toes, is on the plate.
  2. Hold on to the handles. Your hands should ideally be at a height between your hips and your chest.
  3. Look straight ahead as you stand up straight and don’t look down.
  4. As you begin to step, pull with one arm and push with the other. It should feel as though you are utilising your arms and legs equally.
  5. As though you were walking or sprinting, let your feet naturally rotate from heel to toe. This will prevent the numbness in your feet and put pressure on just one foot.
  6. Adapt the resistance to your current level of fitness. Do about 30 to 40 steps per minute.

Elliptical Workouts To Get You Started

The elliptical trainer is excellent for beginners, especially when easing your way to cardiac training. It is also a good choice because it provides less stress on your joints. Here are some elliptical workouts that you can try:

20-Minute Beginner Elliptical

If this is your first time giving the elliptical a try, here’s a workout that you can try. You can do this workout 3x a week, with a day of rest in between.

Here’s how to do it:

Start with a 5-minute, moderate-intensity warm-up, then increase the resistance and/or ramps (1-4 increments), or until you’re working harder than your warm-up pace. Increase the resistance for a bit more for about 2 minutes then decrease again until it reached the baseline for about 3 minutes. Increase again for another 2 minutes or until you are working harder than the baseline. Gradually decrease and finish with a 5-minute easy cooldown with no resistance.

30-Minute HIIT Workout

The majority of cardiovascular exercise machines can be used for HIIT or high-intensity interval training. This kind of exercise is difficult and prevents boredom. It is also the most efficient kind of exercise for getting rid of belly fat.

Here’s how to do it:

Start with a five-minute warm-up at a simple-to-maintain pace. Then increase for a further 30 seconds until you are almost out of breath. After 30 seconds, return to an easy pace and go back and forth between the intensities until you’ve completed 30 minutes. In between the paces, you can either increase your speed, incline, or resistance. You may also make the intervals longer.

While HIIT is considered an advanced workout, beginners can still enjoy using this technique because you can modify it according to your fitness level.


Avoiding these mistakes can help you fully utilise your elliptical machine thus providing your body an effective workout. But aside from avoiding these mistakes, you also need to be aware of the duration and the frequency of your workout.

While exercising with the elliptical provides many benefits, it won’t magically make you lose weight. Hence, it is also important that you eat right and make the necessary lifestyle changes to improve the quality of your life and improve your health.

1. Can you do reverse pedaling on an elliptical?

Doing reverse pedaling on the elliptical is something that you should consider. The act of pedaling backward on an elliptical will improve your posture and engage your core. It allows you to work more muscles, burn more calories, and provides more variety in your workout.

2. How long can you work out on an elliptical?

To maintain a high level of cardiovascular fitness and calorie burn, 20 minutes on an elliptical trainer is all that is required. According to experts, using an elliptical machine for fifteen minutes a day has considerable advantages for overall health.