How effective is elliptical for weight loss

How effective is elliptical for weight loss | 8 Q&A

It’s never too late to get started burning your extra calories or to take good care of your heart. Maybe this isn’t your first rodeo but it’s been a long time. In that case, many people make the mistake of doing too much too soon, which results in injury to health rather than building it. Overall, it doesn’t matter if you are a regular flower or not, to ease into your exercise, we are here to help you decide.

The first things that can come into your mind are treadmill, Stairmaster, rowing, or ellipticals. As all of them are great for starters, we will be discussing (and recommending)  Elliptical workouts here. 

In response to the question “How effective is elliptical for weight loss” many studies show that it can significantly reduce weight or fat compared to walking, running, or other similar workouts.

Also, older adults can easily use these workouts without any constraints. You can do these elliptical workouts at the gym and home. As for your regard, we will provide workout benefits, and plans as simple as possible. 

(If you have previous knee or leg problems, you can also check this article “best elliptical machine for bad knees”).

How effective is elliptical for weight loss?

Elliptical workouts are known for low impact cardio workouts. Elliptical trainers have many features like different sets of resistance, tracking monitors ,and so on. These features and well-planned workouts can challenge your strength and stamina at different levels. 

Through your progression, your cardiovascular system (especially your heart)  adapts to the demands by pumping more blood which allows your muscles to get more oxygen. This results in a stronger heart and better stamina. And this increases the chance to perform more workloads and longer workouts.

Elliptical benefits for weight loss

  1. Increases stamina and endurance
  2. Burns calories
  3. Full body workout
  4. Maintain workouts even after an injury
  5. Low impact exercise
  6. Targets specific leg muscles
  7. Easy to learn
  8. Enhances cardiovascular stamina
  9. Minimizes high blood pressure 
  10. Improves balance and posture.

Are 15 minutes on the elliptical enough?

Short answer: Depends.

According to research, a person weighing 70 kg or 154.32 pounds will burn 88 calories doing elliptical exercise for 15 minutes (source: How  

Experts say, if you are just warming up your body for the workout, you should ride for 5 to 15 minutes max. And, if you want to grasp the maximum benefits of cardio, ride the elliptical for at least 15 minutes.

Elliptical for weight loss workout plan

Short Answer:30 minutes a day

For your sake, we are presenting 2 workout plans for both beginner level and cardio-blast level (HIIT).

Some elliptical trainers/machines have different measurements and levels. To make sure with our workout plans, keep the resistance levels on sprint times at 25% to 50% of max resistance level on your elliptical for beginner level and 50% to 75% of max resistance level for HIIT level.

Keep in mind that these workouts are highly effective to perform at least 2-3 times a week with 24-hour rest in between elliptical workouts.

Beginner level: 30-minute workout routine

Time (min:sec)ActivitiesBreathing(in and out)Resistance(levels)
0 – 3:00(3 min)Warm-upWith arm leversNormal2
3:00 – 5:00(2 min)Jogging*With arm levers Deep 3
5:00 – 5:30(30 sec)Sprint*No handsFast5
5:30 – 6:00(30 sec)Running*No handsNormal5
6:00 – 8:00(2 min)Jogging*With arm leversDeep4
Repeat these activities for another 7 times
27:00 – 30:00Cool downDeep3

*You can mix it up by one-time forward-pedalling and other times backwards-pedalling and repeat, which increases the intensity of the total workout.

Cardio-blast level: 30-minute workout routine

Time(min:sec)ActivitiesBreathing(in and out)Resistance(levels)
0 – 5:00(5 min)Warm-upNormal3
5:00 – 5:30(30 sec)SprintFast7
5:30 – 7:00(90 sec)Recovery Deep5
Repeat these activities for another 10 times
27:00 – 30:00(3 min)Cool downDeep5

For total body workout, you must push and pull arm levers for all time, which increases the chance to work the upper body muscles better.

If this feels too easy, you can increase resistance levels and mix it up with forward and backwards pedalling in the intervals.

What does an elliptical do for your body?

Elliptical workouts target specific muscle groups to ensure the most effective way to enhance cardiovascular condition and muscle endurance. Let’s dive into the specifics-

There are two major muscle groups in our body depending on the positions, Upper Body, and Lower body skeletal muscle groups. We will only be discussing the muscles that are affected by the elliptical workouts and results in benefitting our body.

Upper body muscles: 

As most of the modern elliptical trainers/machines come with arm levers, using these levers while riding the elliptical simulates skiing. This repetitive action works the triceps, the biceps, the pectoral muscles (supports your chest), the rhomboids (located in the upper back), and not to mention, the heart.

Lower body muscles:

While riding the ellipticals by our workout plans, we have estimated that the exercises bring the best result for lower body muscle groups (yay!).

When you begin to exercise on ellipticals, the hamstring muscle, located at the back of your thigh, works to support your body weight to ensure the stability of the body.

The quadriceps, located in front of your thigh, work less, however important stress during these exercises than hamstring muscles. If you want to work the quadriceps better, try different resistance levels or inclines on your ellipticals.

The muscles in your buttock, the glutes and the hip flexors, and the muscles in your calf, also feels moderate stress when you pedal forward against the resistance of your ellipticals. 

Lastly, your abdominal muscles, also known as abs, works effectively by lengthening and contracting while pulling or pushing the arm levers and pedalling at the same time. Consequently, the exercise greatly impacts on your core muscles.

What is moderate speed on elliptical?

Many people asked this very same question. While there are many opinions on this matter, we will be considering what experts say.

For moderate speed, it is better to set the resistance in a way that while riding the ellipticals, you feel like a casual run, not a walk, not a sprint. In the virtual tracker of your elliptical, it should be roughly 5.2 mph or 8.4 kph.

Generally, we humans walk casually at 180 steps per minute. In that sense, you should target 90 revolutions per minute simulating your walking behaviour.

Does the elliptical work your stomach?

Simple answer: No. And there’s a good reason for it.

Elliptical exercises don’t target stomach muscles or fat directly. But these exercises challenge your lower body muscles and abs to burn your calories fast. This way your body enforces your stomach muscles and fat to metabolize faster. Therefore, elliptical exercises indirectly work your stomach.

Does the elliptical burn belly fat?

As we mentioned earlier, elliptical workouts are highly effective for endurance and stamina. It simulates walking or running or skiing, so your body has to work hard. Thus your body has to consume more oxygen. This higher consumption of oxygen makes your body metabolize faster which ultimately causes you to burn calories. 

So, yeah, elliptical does burn belly fat. 


Surely you have no doubt about the question “How effective is elliptical for weight loss?”. As functional as it does, elliptical workouts are always the better option for losing weight or burning fat than any other exercise in this matter. You never have to think twice about injuries while taking care of your weight. So what are you waiting for? Ride your elliptical now and live a healthy life.

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