PART ONE: If you are proficient on the elliptical, why not add some upper-body reshaping exercises to your routine? I teach a great class called “Cycle and Sculpt” where we perform reshaping exercises on the Spin bike while continuously pedaling. It’s a great cardio and muscular endurance combination workout and here I have adapted a portion of it for use on the elliptical trainer!
Start by choosing an elliptical without moving arms – as they will just get in the way. Begin pedaling the elliptical at a good pace (on my standard Precor I usually recommend no lower than 140 strides per minutes) – making sure you have enough resistance so that the pace is challenging and you feel stable (all ellipticals vary, but aiming for level 6 is usually a good goal.
Once you feel 100% confident on the elliptical and can pedal for most of your workout without the use of balancing on the handrails, you can then try to add in upper body resistance. Use your core to help you balance by pulling your abdominals in.
*Remember – at any time you can grab back onto the handrails if needed! The key is to always be in control.
Grab some light dumbbells – start with 1-3 lbs and I don’t recommend going any heavier than 5 lbs. You can even start without weights and do the movements with just your arms to make sure you are ready.
After a 3-5 minute warm-up begin the shoulder series:
- 1 minute – full shoulder press (elbows bent at 90°, extend arms overhead so weights lightly touch)
- 1 minute – wide shoulder pulse (small presses just above head, elbows still about 90°)
- 1 minute – flyes (elbows at 90°, bring elbows together then back out wide)
- 1 minute – narrow shoulder pulse (hold wrists together at pinkies, elbows at 90°, small presses)
- 1 minute – rest (either set weights down or “jog” with them – careful not to swing!)
For ~30 minute workout, repeat this 5 minute series up to 5 times and then finish with 3-5 minutes of a cool-down.
Check out the video…
*Once you are proficient at these exercises you can add different exercises for more variety.
*You can also add resistance to the elliptical while maintaining your speed for an even better cardio effect.
PART TWO: For an extra challenge, repeat the sequence and do not rest between sets.
- Regular Crunches in the Middle Up for 3, Down for 1 – 20 reps
- Regular Crunches in the Middle Up for 1, Down for 3 – 20 reps
- Pulse Regular Crunch in the Center – 20 counts
- Legs Extended, Ankles Crossed – Reverse Crunches (hips only) – 20 reps
- Legs Extended, Ankles Crossed – Double Crunches (hips & shoulders) – 20 reps
- Pulse Double Crunch – 20 counts
- Knees Drop to Left – 20 Crunches then 20 pulses
- Knees Drop to Right – 20 Crunches then 20 pulses
- WATER: Drink at least two 8-ounce glasses of water before your meal. It will fill up your stomach and cut down the calories you consume during your meal.
- EAT SLOWLY: Did you know that it takes almost 20 minutes for food to pass through the digestive system and about the same time for you to ‘feel’ full? If you eat rapidly, you are more likely to consume three to four times the calories they need before your body even has a chance to feel full. Slow down!
- AVOID DISTRACTIONS: Most of us consume at least one of our meals while we are completely distracted. If you eat while watching TV, standing up, driving, etc. you could be easily consuming more calories than you need without even realizing it. During your meals, think about your food and savor each bite!
- FIBER: Foods that are high in fiber fill you up on fewer calories! Whole grains, such as whole wheat breads and pastas, oatmeal, and brown rice, are complex carbohydrates that have more fiber and nutrients, and, typically, fewer calories than simple carbs like those in cake, candy, and soda.
- SMALL & FREQUENT: Try to eat more frequently and avoid skipping out on meals. If you happen to miss a meal, there is a strong chance of over-consuing at your next meal. Try to eat in small intervals (i.e. every 2 to 3 hours) to help avoid feeling overly hungry at your next meal time.