The elliptical cross trainer is the go-to exercise machine for most people. It is very easy to use, efficient and places less pressure on the joints.

However, just like any other home exercise machine, you need to know how to use it properly to gain its full benefits and keep you away from injuries. So what is the proper form for using an elliptical cross trainer?

The proper form for using an elliptical cross trainer is to stay in an upright position. A hunched-over position will put you at risk of developing lower back pain.

This article will delve into the proper form for using an elliptical cross trainer, its benefits and how you can challenge yourself using this equipment.

How To Have Proper Form When Using an Elliptical

The key to a good elliptical trainer workout is proper posture. Here are some tips on how to use the elliptical cross trainer the right way.

1. Pay Attention to Your Back

Oftentimes, people slump, hunch or lean too far forward when using the elliptical trainer. This bad posture may cause you to suffer stiffness and back pain after your workout.

Make sure that your back is straight so that your spine is long and your head and shoulders are high. Keep your core tight to help you sustain that posture throughout your workout.

2. Watch Your Feet Position

Place your feet inside the edge of the pedals to keep them from tingling. Remember to concentrate your weight on the heels and not on your toes. Do not run on your toes because it will decrease the blood flow and may cause a prickly and numbing feeling.

3. Be Gentle on the Grip

Some people often make the mistake of gripping too hard on the handlebars. You must take it easy on the grip and keep your arms relaxed. If you are uncomfortable with the handlebars or if they are hard to reach, it is better to just let go and place your arms by your side and let them swing freely.

4. Spread Your Weight

Your body weight must be evenly distributed while working out. You need to keep your weight on your butt, thighs and quads. Do not lean on the machine for support. What you should do is slightly bend your legs like you are trying to squat.

The elliptical trainer machine will bend your legs as you move forward. Do not forget to keep a straight back when you move your legs. Unbalanced distribution of weight may cause pain and discomfort while working out.

The Benefits of Using an Elliptical Trainer Machine

Working out on the elliptical cross trainer has many amazing benefits. It is a great option for people who want to do a low-impact cardio workout as well as a high-intensity interval training cardio workout.

Here are some of the benefits of using an elliptical trainer:

• Boosts Stamina and Cardio Capacity

The elliptical is a great aerobic machine that can strengthen your muscles, lungs and heart. A 15-minute high-intensity elliptical workout can help boost cardio stamina. You will feel an improvement in your stamina levels when you do it every day for at least ten days. Fun fact: Did you know that the elliptical cross trainer is an effective cross-training alternative for runners?

• Reduces High Blood Pressure

Devoting at least 5 minutes to the elliptical trainer will reduce your stress. Exercise increases levels of serotonin which is also known as the feel-good hormone. Serotonin can help reduce high blood pressure.

A low- or moderate-intensity elliptical workout daily can have good effects on hypertension. Then again, it is better to check first with your physician if you are taking medicines for hypertension or had a previous major surgery.

• Burns Calories

Elliptical exercise is one of the best workouts for burning calories. If you are looking for an easy way to burn calories in a short period, then you must hop onto your elliptical trainer now. It can burn about 270 to 400 calories in half an hour depending on your weight.

Increase the intensity of your elliptical workouts if you want to burn more calories.

• Tones the Entire Body

An elliptical trainer can give you a full-body workout. It targets not only your lower body but also your upper body. Using a treadmill won’t give you the same benefit because it only targets the lower body.

• Improves Balance

Performing an elliptical exercise without holding the handles can help improve your balance. Just make sure that you are doing your exercise in proper form and that the resistance and incline are adjusted to manageable levels.

• Great Workout after Injury

People who are nursing an injury and can’t do their regular fitness routine can still maintain their fitness by working out on an elliptical trainer. The elliptical allows you to do a low-impact exercise which is great exercise after an injury because it puts less pressure and stress on your joints. This can also help in regaining a full range of motion and helps in strengthening your muscles and joints.

• Easy to Use

Some exercise machines can be intimidating to use. But that’s not the case with an elliptical trainer because this machine does not take long to figure out how to use it. However, you may want to ask a trainer to give you tips on proper usage especially if it’s your first time.

• Targets the Lower Body

By changing both the incline and resistance of the pedals, you can target the muscles in your lower body which include your glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings.

• Enhances Balance and Mobility

Elliptical trainers are good for improving balance and mobility. Mobility and balance are very important to keep you from falling and injuries as well as for enhancing your agility and flexibility. Using elliptical trainers can help improve coordination between the brain and the body.

• Decreases Chronic Inflammation

A sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits may result in chronic inflammation. A 10-minute elliptical workout can possibly help release serotonin, reduce blood pressure and burn calories. Hence, it may help in easing stress and inflammation. That is why you feel better and lose weight after some minutes of an elliptical trainer session.

• An Enjoyable Workout

The interchanging movement of the legs and arms makes this workout very enjoyable. It is very relaxed yet very effective in burning calories and helps you get back in shape in no time. You can do this workout while you are listening to your favourite music or even watching your favourite show.

You can also learn more benefits of elliptical machines in this article.

Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Elliptical Exercises

If you feel like you need a little challenge with your elliptical, below are some of the best tips you can do to get a great elliptical workout.

1. Incorporate Some Core Exercises

For you to have proper form and get all the benefits out of each elliptical workout, you want to ensure that you keep your core engaged.

One thing that you can do to help engage your abs with your elliptical workout is to add some core exercises such as doing planks.

2. Vary the Incline

If you want to work on your butt muscles, try to vary the incline. You can adjust the incline level every other minute just to get a good sense of it. You can start at zero for 60 seconds and then move up in increments of two each time and then you can go down again.

3. Add Dumbbells

Place some light dumbbells beside your elliptical trainer so you can pause and do some curls and presses. Taking a pause will help you direct your energy to do arm movements and keep proper form during the arm workouts.

4. Use the Pause Button

Use the pause button to do other exercises. You can do the elliptical for a minute then followed by 15 to 20 pushups. Doing this will challenge your body more and can help you do other exercises that you want to incorporate with your elliptical workout. You can do other body-weight exercises such as plunges and squats.

5. Know When to Lose the Handles

If you want to emphasise your lower body then use only your legs, without holding the handles. Driving through your hamstrings and glutes will exert more force and pressure on your lower body. Doing this can also target your core; just make sure to keep your balance while you are moving your legs.


Having the proper form when using the elliptical cross trainer is very important to gain its full benefits and keep you from possible injury.

Standing in an upright position is the proper form for using an elliptical cross trainer. Some of the benefits of an elliptical workout when done correctly include improvement in balance and stamina, burning of calories and reduces high blood pressure.

1. Are you supposed to lean forward on an elliptical?

You should avoid leaning forward, leaning on the handrails or slumping your shoulders during your elliptical workout. You need to stay in an upright position to avoid lower back pain.

2. Does the elliptical target belly fat?

Elliptical trainers can help reduce belly fat, tone the body and help burn calories. An elliptical workout works the whole body and can engage the muscles in your lower body.