A great way to add variety to your elliptical trainer sessions is to use a technique called interval training. Researchers have shown that this technique can improve your cardiovascular fitness and also your stamina. Although it was developed for use by athletes, it is suitable for use by anyone.
The technique involves working out at high intensity for a short period of time, followed by a lower intensity workout. For instance, you may choose to workout at 80% of your maximum heart rate for two minutes followed by two minutes of working out at 65% of your maximum heart rate. This would count as one interval. You would then repeat the process.
Some elliptical trainers have interval training programs built into their computers. Alternately you can set it to manual and then you have full control over the length of time that the intervals last and how strenuously you work out.
How hard you work out in the high intensity phrase is a matter of personal preference. For instance, a fit athlete could work out for two minutes followed by a short recovery phase. But a person who is just starting an exercise program may be better advised to begin with a shorter work phrase and longer recovery phase. Remember that it is always easy to progress to a more intense program at a later time.
One of the advantages of using interval training is that it raises the metabolic rate as it places high energy demands on the body. This increase in metabolic rate can last for up to 18 hours after exercising. This is sometimes called the 'afterburn' effect, as calories will continue to be burned. This is one of the reasons why it is popular with people wishing to lose weight.
Interval training on your elliptical machine is very easy. It is ideal if you want to vary your exercise program, lose weight or just become fitter.