Use the elliptical to sculpt a smaller waist.
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The elliptical is one of those convenient pieces of exercise equipment -- they allow for a great workout even when it's hot and miserable outside. Elliptical machines are primarily used to train the cardiovascular system but can also be helpful for muscle strengthening if a high resistance is applied. When the handle bars are used, the elliptical works nearly every aspect of your body, even those pesky love handles.
The love handles are areas of excess fat that accumulate on the sides of your abdomen. Their only job is to make it difficult to fit into your skinny pants. While spot-training is not possible, the elliptical can help you to shed excess fat throughout your entire body, including the love handle region. The love handles lie on top of the oblique muscles, which are responsible for moving and twisting your torso from side to side. They also act like a girdle to keep your abdominal contents pulled in. While on the elliptical, try rotating your torso from side to side to engage your obliques and tighten your waistline.
Exploit the Elliptical
If you're going to use an elliptical, take full advantage of it. While riding an elliptical for 30 minutes at a nice steady pace is great for your heart, it will do little to burn fat. High intensity is the key to shedding excess fat. Rather than attempting to go hard for 30 minutes straight, try interval training. This involves going hard for a specific amount of time, then recovering. For example, push yourself for one minute then slow down and recover for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat the cycle throughout your workout.
Lose the Handles
If losing your love handles is your primary goal, you'll have to do a bit more than just elliptical work. Concentrate on eating a healthy diet of whole, fresh foods and lean sources of protein. Add strength training to your workout routine to build muscle and lose fat. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, which means the more you have the higher your metabolism. Strength train three nonconsecutive days per week, performing exercises that target the major muscle groups such as squats, lunges, deadlifts and shoulder presses. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise.
Always begin your workouts with a five- to 10-minute warmup consisting of light intensity activity such as walking or, in this case, ride the elliptical at a nice easy pace to gradually elevate your heart rate. Perform a 20- to 30-minute interval workout on the elliptical. Use intervals that are comfortable for your fitness level, but be sure to challenge yourself. Finish your workout with a five-minute cool-down by gradually decreasing your intensity and allowing your body to return to its resting state. Then thoroughly stretch the major muscle groups, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
Consult with your health-care provider before beginning a new exercise program to ensure that you're healthy enough. If you experience any pain or discomfort during your workout, stop exercising immediately.