Ellipticals are an excellent alternative to treadmills for sprint workouts.
If you're at the gym and all the treadmills are taken or your joints won't allow you to run, don't despair. You can get an excellent sprint workout on an elliptical trainer. You also give your arms some work to do, further raising your calorie burn and giving them strength and definition. You should be used to working out consistently before adding speed work to your routine.
Start with a five minute warm-up and stretch your arms and legs. You will use a rated perceived exertion (RPE) scale of 1 to 10. A rating of 1 equals a pace you could endure for hours, while 10 would be a pace you could only hold for 30 seconds. For your sprints, set the elliptical to a number as high as you can maintain for 45 seconds; this will be an 8 or 9 level of perceived exertion. For your recovery, reduce the setting until you are at an RPE of 2 or 3 for 75 seconds. Go as slowly as you need to so you are ready to put the setting as high as you can on the next sprint. Your workout will consist of 10 sprints 10 and recoveries. Finish with a cool-down of five minutes at an RPE of 2 or 3.
Begin with a five minute warm-up and stretch your arms and legs. You'll perform a five set workout. Start moderately for two minutes at an RPE of 6 or 7, then recover for one minute at an RPE of 2 or 3. You'll use this same recovery after each set. Increase the difficulty for one minute at an RPE of 8, then recover. Increase the difficulty one more time, going all out for 30 seconds at an RPE of 9. Work the 30 seconds as hard as you can, then recover. Follow with one minute at an RPE of 8, a recovery, and then one last set of two minutes at an RPE of 6 or 7. Finish with a five-minute cool-down at an RPE of 2 or 3.
50 Seconds Hard, 50 Easy
Start with an easy five-minute warm-up and stretch your arms and legs. You are going to alternate speed with recoveries, each lasting 50 seconds, with each speed interval getting faster. Recoveries will all be done at an RPE of 2 or 3. Start with 50 seconds at an RPE of 5, then recover. Do your next 50 seconds at an RPE of 6, then recover. Increase the difficulty and do 50 seconds at an RPE of 7. Increase the setting and do your fourth interval at an RPE of 8, then recover. For your last sprint, take the difficulty as high as you can maintain for 50 seconds, and then recover. Finish with a cool-down of five minutes.
Cut the Fat
Warm up for five minutes at an easy pace and stretch your arms and legs. You will be doing five one-minute sessions of work with progressively shorter. You will do each of your work sessions at a level that is initially 7 or 8 on the RPE, and your recoveries at an RPE of 2 or 3. Your five one-minute work intervals will be followed by a two-minutes. Each recovery session will then be cut in half from the one before it. Cool-down with five minutes at an easy pace.