5 Cross Trainer Elliptical Workouts for Beginners to Lose Weight!

5 Cross Trainer Elliptical Workouts for Beginners to Lose Weight!


The Cross Trainer Elliptical workout is very appreciated for its benefits on your body: its a full body workout that tones various muscles in your arms, legs, thighs and buttocks while allowing you to burn a maximum of calories and lose weight. How to use the cross trainer properly and efficiently? Discover all our tips and advice to workout effectively, have the right position on your elliptical trainer and get the most out of your exercise.

You will also find 5 free cardio workouts for elliptical trainer for beginners and advanced to lose weight and gain muscle!

1) The right position on the elliptical trainer

Position of the back. Make sure to have your back straight and look in front of you. Do not look at your feet while working out because you would then round your back. Do not shrink and keep your shoulders up while training to avoid neck pain.

Position the hands on the handles. Place your hands on the handles on the heart sensors (no need to tighten). Do not put your hands too low, this may cause you to lean forward, which is not good for your back.

Position and movement of arms. When you use the outer handlebars (the moving ones), you also work the upper body and the arm muscles by accompanying the movement of the legs (see the section on the benefits of the elliptical bike below) while your legs and buttocks are mostly working when your hands hold the motionless handlebars in the center (and your arms therefore remain immobile).

Position of the feet. Keep your feet flat on the pedals. Push the pedals downward with your heel so that you do not strain the front of your ankle and avoid injuries, then raise your heel when the pedals go up. It seems complicated but it is in fact almost natural when you are working out on your elliptical trainer!

Movement of the legs. The movement of the legs must be fluid and as the name of the cardio machine indicates it "elliptical", that is to say form an ellipse (or a flattened circle). The legs must therefore go forward and descend at the same time and then go backwards by going up slightly and then repeat the cycle. It is not simply a flat or front-to-back linear movement. You have to get used to it at first but then it comes naturally.

2) The benefits of the elliptical bike

It is advised to exercise 2 to 3 times a week for 30 to 45 minutes in order to really see the effects and benefits of the elliptical trainer on the body! The WHO recommends to do at least 1hour and 15 minutes of intensive sport per week (this is a minimum!).

a) The crosstrainer to gain muscle!

The elliptical bike has the advantage of working all the body, especially the legs, thighs and buttocks as well as the arms, abdominal and back muscles. It is important to know that you will develop your muscle strength during high resistance exercises. When resistance is low but your training relatively long, you mostly improve your endurance. To increase your muscles, you need to increase the resistance of your crosstrainer, for example during an interval training! Basically, no pain, no gain ;).

Crosstrainer Elliptical Bike which muscles work

- The muscles of the lower body (red in the diagram) are working continuously, namely the glutes (buttocks), the hamstrings (just below the buttocks), the quadriceps (on the front of the thighs) and the calves (at the back of the thighs).

- The muscles of the upper body (yellow in the diagram) working when your arms are moving (hands on the moving handlebars) are: the biceps and the back muscles when you are pulling the handles, triceps and pectorals when you are pushing the handles, abdominals and pecs that you use to keep the balance.

- If you want to target the buttocks and thigh muscles, remove the hands from the moving bars and place them on the bars at the center (on the non-moving handles). If you also increase the resistance, it is perfect for the thighs and buttocks (you will also feel it!).

- When you pedal backward (reverse), you also work all these muscles but in a different way and you tone abdominals and glutes. When you pedal backward without holding the handlebars, your abs and back muscles work harder to keep your balance.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: For those who want to refine their silhouette and tone buttocks, thighs and legs muscles, don't worry: your thighs or your legs will not double in volume! The elliptical bike is not a bodybuilding machine but a cardio machine! It will allow you to lose fat and tone your legs, thighs and buttocks. In addition, the results appear gradually, not all of a sudden. So, you must persevere to see the results ;).

Our advice. Vary to spice up your workout! A little pedaling forward, then a few minutes pedaling with the hands on the handlebars at the center, then a bit of pedaling backward, etc. (see below the cardio workout programs with practical exercises).

CAREFUL: If you have knee problems, the elliptical trainer may in some cases be contraindicated. Ask your doctor or physiotherapist in that case!

b) The cross trainer for weight loss!

How many calories are burned on the elliptical trainer? The number of calories burned mainly depends on the intensity of your exercise and therefore the power you provide which itself depends on your speed and the resistance of your elliptical machine. If you go very slowly at a low resistance, you will burn much less calories than if you move fast with high resistance. The calories we give here are therefore an indication.

Physical Activity (1h)Calories burned
Walking (5km/h)207 kcal
Elliptical Trainer, moderate training450 kcal
Elliptical Trainer, intense training650 kcal
Elliptical Trainer, very intense training830 kcal

To lose one kilo, you have to workout 3 times a week on the elliptical trainer intensively for one hour, that is about 13 hours on the elliptical machine per month (650 x 13 = 8450 kcal). 30 minutes of cross trainer 3 times a week help you lose 0.5 kg per month. In general, the more intense the exercise, the more calories you burn. However, the more intense the training, the more difficult it is to train for a long time. Our advice: alternate between cardio exercises at an medium intensity 1 to 2 times per week for 45 min to 1h with an interval training (HIIT, see below) of 30 min once a week (or 2 times a week for the most motivated ones).

Lose 1 kg per month. 1 hour of training on the elliptical bike 3 times a week can help you lose 1 kg per month. If you want to lose weight with the elliptical bike, you have to be persistent to get results and it's better to exercise 30 minutes 3 times a week for several weeks rather than 2 hours on the first day and stop after the second workout session!

c) The elliptical trainer for rehab

The elliptical trainer is a relatively smooth sport without shock and jolts, which makes it in many cases a cardio machine suitable for rehabilitation, but you should discuss that with your doctor or your physical therapist in that case.

3) Our 5 cross trainer elliptical workouts!


Time: 35 min

Difficulty: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Calories burned: 230 kcal

Time (min)ResistanceSPMComments
00:00-3:003130Warm up
3:00-5:005130Warm up
20:00-22:307140Hands - Push
22:30-25:005130Hands - Pull
25:00-30:005140Forward no hands
30:00-35:003130Cool down

* The speed corresponds to your stride (in SPM = strides per minute).


Time: 30 min

Difficulty: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Calories burned: 300 kcal

Time (min)ResistanceSPMComments
00:00-3:003130Warm up
3:00-5:003150Warm up
5:00-7:005150No hands
7:00-9:007170Hands - Pull
9:00-11:005150No hands
11:00-13:009170Hands - Push
13:00-15:005140No hands
18:00-19:007150Forward no hands
19:00-21:009170Hands - Push
21:00-23:005130No hands
26:00-27:003120Cool down!
29:00-30:003110Cool down, it's really the end now!

* The speed corresponds to your stride (in SPM = strides per minute).

If you find the workout routine too easy or too difficult, adjust the speed and resistance values ​​(e.g. change all resistances by 2 units or the speed by 20 units).


In this high intensity interval training (HIIT), you will alternate between phases of high resistance with recovery phases. This elliptical HIIT workout is perfect to burn a maximum of calories while toning your legs, thighs and glutes!

Time: 30 min

Difficulty: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Calories burned: 300 kcal

Time (min)ResistanceSPMComments
00:00-3:003130Warm up
3:00-5:005130Warm up
5:00-10:009140Keep the pace
10:00-12:0011140Keep the pace
12:00-15:007140Recover a little
20:00-23:0011140Keep the pace
23:00-25:009140One more effort!

* The speed corresponds to your stride (in SPM = strides per minute).


Here is a HIIT workout that will allow you to burn a maximum of calories in a minimum of time! HIIT is a type of cardio workout that alternates between very intense phases of exercise (high intensity intervals) with recovery phases (low intensity intervals).

Time: 20 min

Difficulty: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Calories burned: 250 kcal

Time (min)ResistanceSPMComments
00:00-3:005140Warm up
3:00-5:005150Warm up
5:00-7:008150Increase the pace

* The speed corresponds to your stride (in SPM = strides per minute).


HIIT workout is very demanding and this one is particularly so! This cardio exercise can greatly increase your physical performance (power and speed).

Time: 35 min

Difficulty: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Calories burned: 420 kcal

Time (min)ResistanceSPMComments
00:00-3:005130Warm up
3:00-5:005140Warm up
5:00-7:007150No hands
7:00-9:009150Hands - Push
14:30-16:005140No hands
24:00-24:307140Keep the pace
24:30-25:005130Recover a little
27:00-30:005140Hands - Push
30:00-35:005130No hands

* The speed corresponds to your stride (in SPM = strides per minute).

Find other HIIT workout routines in the Vescape Cross Trainer App which is compatible with the bluetooth connected elliptical bikes.

CAREFUL: High intensity interval training (HIIT) should be practiced only if you have a very good physical condition because it is very demanding! If you haven't been doing sports or practicing any physical activity for a long time, we recommend you to follow an HIIT workout routine only 2 to 3 months after resuming sports.

Find here the 5 workout routines in PDF which you can download!

Here are two elliptical trainer workout plans for beginners (N°1) and advanced or confirmed (N°2):

Workout Plan N°1

• Workout Routine N°1 on Monday (30 to 45 min)

• Intense Workout Routine N°2 or N°3 on Wednesday (30 min)

• Workout Routine N°1 on Friday (35 min)

Workout Plan N°2

• Workout Routine N°2 or N°3 on Monday (30 à 45 min)

• Cardio Workout Routine N°1 on Wednesday (30 à 60 min)

• HIIT Workout program N°5 on Friday (35 min)

3) What diet to accompany your elliptical trainer workout in order to lose weight?

Drink enough water to hydrate yourself!

During training, drink at least 2 mouthfuls of water (10 to 20 cl) every 10 to 15 minutes, especially during intensive interval training programs. If your workout lasts longer than one hour, take a break during which you can drink a little more.

What should you eat before and after the workout?

If your goal is to lose weight, it is absolutely necessary to combine (regular) training with a balanced and varied diet, without too much sugar and fat. Do you know the rule of 5? 5 fruits and vegetables per day (5 portions). It is difficult but start for example by 2 portions per day and increase it little by little.

What should you eat before the workout? You can eat a banana for example, at least 1 hour or even 2 hours before your training and not just before, otherwise you may feel heavy and have bloating (digestive problems or even vomiting during an intensive training).

What should you eat after the workout? You can again eat a banana or a yoghurt with dried fruits. It is essential to eat after your workout even if your goal is to lose weight because your body needs to regenerate.

You now know everything about the cross trainer elliptical workout! Follow our tips and advice to stay in shape, muscle your legs, thighs, buttocks or abs or to lose weight. Keep in mind: The key to success is tenacity!


  1. The WHO recommends 1h15 of exercise or intense physical activity per week as a minimum.
  2. The elliptical trainer allows you many variations and helps you to target many muscles of your body so do not deprive yourself of the possibilities that it offers (pedal forward, backward, without hands, pushing the handlebars with the force of your arms, pulling them, keeping your hands in the center to tone your buttocks, etc.).
  3. Always start with a warm-up phase of 5 to 10 minutes to increase your pulse (heart rate) gradually.
  4. Be regular and persistent in your workout! Do not stop after the second training session.
  5. Combine the cross trainer workout with a varied and balanced diet (not too much sugar or fat) if you want to lose weight.
  6. Drink regularly during training: 2 mouthfuls of water every 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Eat a banana 1h to 2h before training and again a banana or a yoghurt with dried fruits within 30 minutes after training.


Clara Miller

Clara Miller

Fitness Writer

Clara Miller has a Master's degree in Sports Science and has worked for famous sports and fitness brands. She is passionate about sports and regularly writes about fitness, weight loss and motivation for various blogs and magazines.