How to Use an Elliptical Trainer for Beginners?

When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

As a beginner trainer, an elliptical is one of the best equipment pieces, as this machine helps individuals get accustomed to a cardio workout regimen.

Also, for those whose focus is more on imposing less stress on the joints, an elliptical is a great choice as it enables conditioning the lower body and your heart.

It is always better to become familiar with the functionalities and features of the machine before starting to use it.

Also, if any machine comes with provisioning for reverse movement functionality, beginners should avoid this until they become comfortable using the elliptical.

Below are various ways in which beginners can use the elliptical.

Top 12 Expert Tips for Your First Time Using the Elliptical Machine

Get onto the Elliptical Carefully

Be careful before stepping onto the elliptical. Once an individual starts training in the machine, the pedals start moving at an average pace.

But, there are chances that the person might lose balance. Hence, it is better to be cautious and get hold of the handlebars as soon as the individual steps onto the pedals.

By doing this, balance and parity are maintained, assuring safety.

Start Pedaling to Switch on the Machine

Don’t expect the console to light up automatically as the screen comes to life only after pedaling a couple of times on the elliptical. Otherwise, switch it on by pressing the start button.

Pace up Evenly

Soon after starting to pedal, ensure to swing the arms along the shafts. The left shaft must automatically come towards the body as soon as the right foot is pushed.

Reverse the same method for the other leg (left).

Avoid going to higher speeds during the initial days of the workout. Start with lower speeds and gradually increase once you understand that the body is ready for higher speeds.

Don’t Bolt the Knees as Much as Possible.

As a beginner, most individuals are not familiar with the pedaling mechanism. Hence, it is no wonder that most beginners bolt the knees on every stroke while straightening the legs.

Never do this, but ensure to keep the knees slightly bent down while pedaling.

Maybe, relate the action to cycling on a bicycle without a seat.

Impose Resistance

It is wrong to assume that speed is the primary means to achieving better results, especially on a cross-trainer machine.

Switch on the resistance button to keep pushing in a challenging way, and by doing this, the muscles also reap better benefits.

Varying between resistance levels benefits different parts of the body and keeps us engaged better.

Individuals who work towards a particular fitness goal reap greater advantages using different resistance levels.

Switch Between Forwarding & Reverse Strokes on the Pedals

Amazingly, the pedals of an elliptical can go both forward and in the reverse direction.

Doing reverse pedaling is one way to incorporate variations of superior exercises. This way, the hamstring, and the glute muscles also get ample workout possibilities.

Reverse pedaling also benefits some muscles that don’t get activated during the forward motion.

But, reverse motion imposes more pressure on the knees, and hence, please be cautious about it and prevent any harm to the body parts.

Use the Handlebars Wisely

Every elliptical comes with handlebars, and the only difference is that while some come with swinging arms, others have fixed ones.

The body enjoys a full-body workout with swaying hands, but such an action has a decreased effect on the legs and butt.

Some individuals prefer using machines with fixed arms to reap lower-body exercise benefits. But, this movement requires such individuals to have better balance and awareness of the pedaling motion.

Increase Resistance & Inclination Levels Gradually Based on Your Ability

Step onto the pedal and start training at a slow speed, maintaining the pace for at least a couple of minutes before increasing the speed levels.

Continue exercising, and then at the end of the workout, reverse the pedaling motion getting back to the slow pace for a couple of minutes, and then finish the workout.

Maintaining such inclination and resistance levels produce better outputs.

Maintain an Upright Posture

It is commonly seen that most individuals reach out straight to the handlebars. Such a posture increases the flexibility of the workout, but, truly speaking, this doesn’t give optimal workout benefits.

It is better to position the body straight over the machine rather than leaning forward—this way, there are better chances of working out the abs and core muscles.

Bring in Variations to the Exercise Routine

Following a dedicated workout routine might be beneficial initially, but the benefits might be compromised in due course.

Introducing variations to the regular workout routines helps break the monotony of the fitness schedule and makes it more interesting and better advantageous.

Don’t Stray Away but Stay Focused on the Exercise Session

We have many models captivating individuals with Bluetooth features, provisioning to keep electronic gadgets or speakers.

While this helps to engage individuals and keep them entertained, such distractions take away the 100% advantage that could otherwise be achieved using the elliptical.

Stay away from any diversions and focus completely on doing the exercise mindfully.

But, most individuals love combining a good dash of music with exercise, which depends on your requirements and mindset.

So, do what’s best for you to stay attentive, be mindful of the body, and bring about variations that keep the exercise routine dynamic and advantageous.

Monitor Console Numbers

Keep track of the metric details displayed in the console that help track the number of calories burned, the number of steps taken, and the distance covered.


Different machines show the statistics in different ways. Some display details by considering heart rate, weight, calories, time, and the number of strides, but these numbers aren’t always perfect.

As soon as you become used to working out on the machine, count the number of strides taken per minute. Generally, individuals take about 140 movements/minute, while advanced trainers take about 160 steps/minute.

Pin It on Pinterest