Elliptical Training and HIIT
I exercise during my lunch hour 5 days a week. Since I've wanted to lift weights 3 of those days, that only left 2 days a week for the elliptical, which just isn’t enough. I wanted a minimum of 4 days a week with 5 being optimal.
The only solution was to do both the elliptical and lift weights during my one hour lunch break.
However, the math didn’t add up. My weight training sessions took 30 minutes on a fast day and I needed 30 minutes for my elliptical workouts. This combined routine may have worked wonders on my body, but I’m sure I would have found myself looking for a new job in short order!
I was stumped until I decided to finally give HIIT a try. My plan was to limit my elliptical workouts to 13 minutes followed by a greatly abbreviated weight training session of no more than 3 exercises totaling 15 minutes maximum. I would do the combined routine on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and a full 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by abs on Wednesday and Friday with no weight training.
I was highly skeptical that such abbreviated sessions with both the elliptical and weights would work.
The concept of HIIT is to perform short bursts of higher intensity anaerobic effort followed by short rests periods that are aerobic in nature. The net effect is more calories burned during a shorter period than during a longer, lower intensity workout.
A very important point I need to make is that HIIT is an advanced exercise technique. You should NOT try HIIT until you have attained a reasonable level of fitness! The risk of injury is just too great or you may give up on exercise completely if you find it too difficult. Remember my advice from the mini-course to always take things slow and work your way up.
Here’s my elliptical HIIT routine:
1.5 minute warm up at 60 RPM
1 minute high intensity interval at 80 RPM
1 minute rest interval at 63 RPM
(repeat combined intervals 6 times)
I found that getting up to 80 RPM requires me to hunch down a bit to really get my feet moving. Proper form on an elliptical is to stand up straight, but in this position it’s too easy to slip when going fast. Just think about the difference in position between sprinters and distance racers. Of course, you should stand up straight during the rest interval.
My weight training routine consists of compound movements such as the bench press and barbell curl to get the most intensity from my weight training sessions.
My goal when I started was to lose 8 lbs and shed some body fat while retaining most of the muscle I had built up. To date, I’ve shed 5 lbs, but haven’t lost nearly as much body fat as I’d like. I attribute this to not being strict enough with my diet and also not getting the intensity high enough on the elliptical.
I recently upped the resistance and I’m also targeting a much higher heart rate.
I’m definitely encouraged that I’ve been able to combine both the elliptical and weight training into an abbreviated workout. There’s no question in my mind that HIIT does work.
If you’re at an advanced level of fitness you may want to give HIIT on the elliptical a try.