The elliptical is a great choice when it comes to cardiovascular training. It works both the upper and lower body, is low impact, burns fat, and simply put: it is a great workout. After using the elliptical for sometime however, you may find it to become easy. This is where interval training comes into play.

Interval training (also known as High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short) consists of alternating between bouts of intense and less intense activities. These bouts can last different lengths of time and can be manipulated to fit a person’s specific fitness level. To further illustrate this point, here is an example of a basic interval training workout:

High Intensity Bout: 15 second sprint pace
Low Intensity Bout: 60 second jog pace
For 12 total minutes

The low intensity bout is considered to be active rest. During this portion of the workout, the person remains active while the body works to gradually decrease the rate at which the heart is beating. This helps to strengthen a person’s circulatory system and assists them in burning more calories when compared to steady state cardio. The more fit a person is, the faster their body can regulate how fast the heart is beating.

For fit individuals the total workout time and high intensity bout can be made longer, while the low intensity bout (active rest) can be made shorter. Their workout might look like this:

High Intensity Bout: 20 second sprint pace
Low Intensity Bout: 40 second jog pace
For 12 total minutes

Another way to manipulate the workout would be to change the exercises. For example, the active rest can still be a jog pace on the elliptical but the high intensity bout will be an entirely different movement. In this example we will use lunges for the high intensity bout.

High Intensity Bout: 12 Lunges
Low Intensity Bout: 30 second jog pace
For 12 total minutes

You can also perform them in sets:

High Intensity Bout: 12 Lunges
Low Intensity Bout: 30 second jog pace
For 3 total sets

The possibilities are endless.

If you really want a challenging workout, perform an entire resistance training workout with active rest. Note that you will not be able to lift the same amount of weight as you normally do with this type of workout. This workout is not conducive to strength and size gains, but it can be great for overall fitness and cardiovascular health.

Here is an example if you are crazy enough to try it!

Overhead Dumbbell Press: 3X8-10
Bent Over Dumbbell Row: 3X8-10
Push Up: 3X8-15
Squat Thrust: 3X10

Comment below and let everyone know how you do!