How to do HIIT Workouts with an elliptical trainer? πŸ‹οΈβ€β™‚οΈ ⏱️

Elliptical HIIT

What is the best way to to HIIT workouts on an elliptical?

Elliptical trainers provide many benefits. It is a fitness device that can be found in most gyms and more and more people are looking to get one or already have one. It is the ideal machine for regular sports practice. It allows a person to improve their cardio-vascular capacities and to lose extra fat. The elliptical trainer can sometimes seem monotonous. However, it is possible to use predefined Elliptical HIIT workouts programs if he has them or to vary the workouts by integrating, for example, interval training. Practicing HIIT on an elliptical trainer consists of alternating phases of high intensity with deceleration phases, known as active recovery phases.


First Of All: Spending hours doing cardio is not the best way to lose weight

If you go to a gym, and you’ll always see the same thing: all the treadmills and ellipticals occupied by people aiming to lose weight.

It seems to be accepted that only classic cardio work (cardio workouts) will make you slim. And yet, how many of you have spent hours on the treadmill, with only one consequence: great fatigue but no real weight loss?

More cardio is not the solution.

The only goal of losing weight is not to “burn calories”. It’s also about changing your metabolism so that it burns more fat while inflicting as little stress as possible.

Conventional cardio, which adds extra hours to your workload every month, is not the best option for achieving this metabolic adaptation. Because by maintaining a medium-intensity effort for long hours, you are teaching your body to function in economy mode.

What is the economy mode? Storing energy to be used slowly and progressively during the entire length of the effort. And yes: when I talk about storing energy, I’m talking about storing fat in the body, from which the body can draw. The problem then comes into play when you stop intense cardio. Your body remains in economy mode, and if you eat more than necessary, you risk weight gain.

Also, do you know how muscle fibers adapt to become enduring? By becoming thinner. As an illustration, just compare the physiques of marathon runners to those of sprinters. On the one hand a large and powerful musculature, on the other hand a fine and very enduring musculature.

Did you know that: HIIT Programs show benefits for those with down syndrome?
According to an article written by researchers at the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University, as HIIT Workouts take less time to perform, it is easier to receive the benefits of aerobic exercise. The sustained effort can give people with Down Syndrome better heart health, better control of body weight and better blood sugar and lipid levels.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training Training): train less to burn more

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), is a high intensity fractional training, alternating phases of intense activity and rest phases. It is carried out in sessions lasting from 4 to 30 minutes maximum, at a frequency of 1 to 3 sessions per week.
The alternation, during a short session, of very high intensity exercise phases and rest phases, generates several advantages:

  • An improvement in aerobic capacity (better respiratory capacity during effort)
  • An improvement in anaerobic capacity (the ability to perform an effort without oxygen, and therefore to prolong the effort and push your limits)
  • Improved metabolism (including the ability to consume calories, the ability to build muscle and burn fat)
  • A reduction in metabolic risks (classic problems: diabetes, cholesterol, etc.)
  • The creation of mental satisfaction
  • And even positive effects in people with diabetes

Thus HIIT, for a much shorter training time and recurrence than a simple classic cardio exercise at medium intensity, has greater and more effective effects.

HIIT improves your aerobic and anaerobic capabilities

Several studies have demonstrated the positive effects of HIIT on vascular capacity. The best known of these is the study by Professor Izumi Tabata, which shows that training alternating phases of very high intensity (20 seconds) and resting phases (10 seconds) for a total of 4 minutes can significantly increase the aerobic AND anaerobic capacities of your body. You will therefore improve your respiratory and general performance through short but intense training.

As a reminder, classic cardio training works mainly on aerobic capacity (respiratory performance) and to a lesser extent on anaerobic capacity (ability to perform an effort without oxygen).

But if HIIT allows you to develop your vascular capacities through shorter training, it also does so in a more efficient way. One study, which brings together several studies on the subject, emphasizes that HIIT is more effective than traditional endurance training in improving a person’s VO2 max (maximum flow of oxygen that you can consume during an effort).

Who can do HIIT Workouts?

High Intensity Interval Training can be done by most of us, regardless of the sport we practice and our abilities. Be careful, this does not mean that a beginner can launch himself from one day to the next in split training with maximum effort and incomplete recovery. It is obvious that this method must be adapted to your abilities. Thus, you can very well start a program by repeating 10 seconds of effort, followed by 50 seconds of recovery, then evolve by increasing the effort times (up to 30 seconds maximum in order to use the anaerobic system as a priority) and/or by reducing the recovery times. The number of repetitions and series can also be adjusted. For example, a beginner could start with 5 sets of 4 x (10 sec. of effort + 30 sec. of recovery) with 2 minutes of recovery between each set, to progressively evolve to 3 sets of 10 x (20 sec. of effort + 20 sec. of recovery), with 1 minute of recovery between sets.

The advantages of HIIT on ellipticals

With the elliptical trainer, 80% of the body’s muscles can be worked. In addition, it is an affordable and accessible fitness machine. The elliptical mainly activates the muscles of the lower body, while toning the abdominal strap and upper body with the vertical bars.

Interval workouts on the elliptical trainer allows you to make quick progress without spending a lot of time on it. Indeed, high intensity sessions require an individual to reduce the length of his or her sessions. However, they are just as effective as longer sessions. Indeed, by activating the metabolism in an intense way, the body continues to burn calories after an elliptical session. Moreover, practicing HIIT allows you to vary your workouts and thus stay motivated over time. The HIIT Tabata is the most intense and is done in 4 minutes.

In addition, a person’s body quickly adapts to the physical activities that it imposes on it each week. The benefits of HIIT on an elliptical trainer can therefore be seen very quickly. If an individual wants to progress and improve his physical condition, something new is needed in the duration or intensity of training. Constantly increasing the duration of a training session is not possible. A person will probably end up doing split elliptical trainers if they want to progress. In addition, it is entirely possible to alternate HIIT exercises on the elliptical trainer with body weight exercises, for example.

🎬 The video below shows an insane Tabata Workout you can do on your elliptical 🎬

Examples of interval programs in elliptical trainers

Of course, before any HIIT session on an elliptical trainer, a person must warm up for a few minutes at low intensity. The aim is to increase the heart rate and prepare the muscles for physical exertion.

Elliptical trainer HIIT beginner’s workout program

HIIT is not suitable for a person who does not practice sports. An individual must have been engaged in regular physical activity in cardio-training for at least one month before engaging in HIIT training. Otherwise, it can be dangerous.

Here is a 30-minute elliptical trainer HIIT program specially designed for beginners:

Time Resistance
5 minutes level 2: warm-up
5 minutes level 3: warm-up
3 minutes level 4-5
2 minutes level 5-8
3 minutes level 4-5
2 minutes level 5-8
3 minutes level 4-5
2 minutes level 5-8
5 minutes level 2: return to calm

This elliptical trainer HIIT program is designed for beginners but is still intense and tiring for them. They must therefore be in good health and excellent physical condition before undertaking this split program. Of course, the resistance levels shown are only indicative. This will depend on the elliptical trainer used and the fitness level of the individual.

πŸ‹οΈβ€β™€οΈ Our advice for this elliptical HIIT training plan:

Even if this is a interval training plan for beginners, this type of training remains in any case more tiring than classic training. Therefore, make sure that you are in good health and fitness before starting this program.

As always when we indicate the resistances, they are noted only as a guideline, and will depend on your elliptical trainer, but also on your fitness level.

If you wish to make this program longer, you can do so in a very simple way: reproduce the alternating periods of high and low intensity as long as you want.

Medium DifficultyΒ interval elliptical trainer programs

In order to perform a slightly more intense split elliptical trainer program, a person can then do 20 seconds of effort and 40 seconds of recovery over a period of 10 minutes. The heart rate will very quickly reach a high level and the number of calories burned will also be high.

For more experienced people, they can for example do a very fast sprint for 2 minutes, followed by a recovery period at a slower pace for 2 minutes over a period of 20 minutes. They can play with resistance to increase the intensity.

40-minute split program

A 40-minute interval elliptical trainer program is relatively long. It is therefore not recommended for beginners. This is a training in the high range. Most elliptical HIIT workout sessions are no longer than 20-30 minutes. If you plan to do this workout program, make sure that you are fit to do it.


Here is an 40 minute high Intensity interval workout program to follow with the elliptical trainer:

Time Resistance
5 minutes level 2: warm-up
1 minute level 4-5
1 minute level 8-10
2 minutes level 4-5
2 minutes level 8-10
1 minute level 4-5
1 minute level 9-11
2 minutes level 4-5
2 minutes level 8-10
1 minute level 4-5
1 minute level 9-11
2 minutes level 4-5
2 minutes level 8-10
3 minutes level 5
1 minute level 4-5
2 minutes level 8-10
2 minutes level 4
4 minutes level 5
5 minutes return to calm

This elliptical trainer HIIT program, given its duration, is not for beginners. Once again, the resistance level is given as an indication. It depends on the elliptical trainer used and the endurance level of the individual. He will adapt the training program according to his abilities.


Why are High-intensity elliptical workouts good for you?

4 good reasons to train at high intensity with your elliptical trainer: motivation, time saving, faster metabolism and improved fitness.

High intensity training Benefits

Your goal is to get into or back into shape. To do this, you have read our various articles on how to train properly with your elliptical trainer. So you’ve got a workout built in.

It is now necessary to optimize it (maximize the effects to reduce the time needed).

The easiest way to do this is to use high intensity training. This is the method that will allow you, every time, to lose weight (fat) and reach your fitness goals.

But not only that: the diversity it offers also increases motivation, allowing you to surpass yourself without realizing it and to progress beyond your expectations. So, if you’re not yet determined to cut down on your long, monotonous sessions, here are the four main reasons to include 1 to 2 high-intensity sessions in your workout week.


Cycling for long periods (30 to 90 minutes) at a steady pace requires a lot of motivation to persevere and therefore progress. It quickly becomes very annoying to say to oneself “come on, let’s go for my 4th identical training of the week”.

Conversely, a high-intensity session necessarily involves changes in rhythm, variations in resistance or inclination. In short, change and this is possible with each new training session. There is no monotony in high intensity training on your elliptical trainer.

You will therefore be less inclined to skip a workout for the wrong reasons.

Time saving

High intensity sessions have the characteristic of forcing you to reduce the length of your sessions. Don’t worry, the progress and calorie consumption will be the same (or even higher) than your long, boring sessions.

In fact, energy consumption equals training time multiplied by intensity. The more intense the workout, the more the equivalent time decreases.

Acceleration of the metabolism

The rise in metabolism (consumption of calories) never stops as soon as you stop the effort. The return to normal is gradual. Thus, the higher you climb in consumption, the more time it takes to return to normal. It’s all beneficial.

Improvement of physical condition

In order to make progress, there is a mandatory principle: adaptation.

When the body functions, if this functioning is abnormal, there is adaptation (in the right direction as well as in the wrong direction). On the other hand, if the functioning is normal, there is no adaptation. Only a maintenance or more often a decrease in physical condition.

To create an abnormal functioning and thus improve your physical condition, something new is needed in terms of duration or intensity. Increasing the training duration is not possible indefinitely. Intensity is therefore the key to your success.



Doing HIIT sessions on an elliptical trainer is perfect for someone who wants to improve their athletic performance, endurance, and lose fat mass quickly in a short period of time. A person can adjust the resistance of the elliptical trainer by monitoring his or her heart rate. This is an effective method to progress. The ideal is to create your own training program according to your goals, your level, and your metabolism.

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