Yes, the elliptical machine does decrease fatigue and wear on the body, especially the joints. This does not give the user a reason to slack off in the gym, however. When muscle and body fatigue is lowered, there is reason to work even harder with every workout. High intensity workouts are a fantastic part of interval training, at home or in the gym.
High intensity training (HIIT) has been shown to burn more calories than any other style of workout. The reason HIIT workouts work so well is due to the theory of muscle confusion. The muscles of the body tend to remember a workout quite easily. Once the body remembers the movements you are making every day, the intensity of the workout will never reach its original proportions. Calorie burn will be decreased and heart rates within a target heart range will be difficult to achieve. Insert HIIT.
HIIT works on an elliptical very well. The idea is to alternate high intensity bursts of movement with normal elliptical activity. For instance, moving at a rate of 10 MPH on the elliptical is not uncommon. The user would work at that rate, once warmed up, for two minutes. Then, the machine would increase resistance and the user would move faster for one minute. This series is repeated for the duration of the workout.
HIIT works well with any machine, but the elliptical is perfect for this type of alternating workout. There are no speeds to increase and alternate like the treadmill and no chance of falling as is the case with outside runs. The elliptical can move flawlessly from 0 resistance to a higher resistance with just a few pushes of a button, and the speed increase is dependent up on the user.
High Intensity Workouts and Being Overweight
Another huge benefit of performing HIIT on the elliptical is the fact that anyone can do it. People who are overweight, obese or morbidly obese can still use the theories of HIIT to increase the intensity of their workouts. The duration of the high intensity can be reduced as needed. An altered plan may include 15 seconds of faster pedaling, followed by 2 to 3 minutes of moderate movement.
Losing weight with HIIT is all about the power output. When a person walks, the energy needed to complete the movement is minimal. The body is used to walking, remember, so it has found interesting ways to reduce the energy needed for that movement. Running is great, but sprinting is not a movement the body can do for a prolonged period of time. Herein lies the power of the elliptical. The machine allows the user, any user, to increase the movement of the body from moderate to intense levels quickly and easily. This forces the body to burn huge amounts of calories for short periods of time. The body then recovers and the process is restarted.
HIIT is just one way to create a high intensity workout on your elliptical machine. Many people choose to add the machine into a cross training routine as a cardio burst during the loop of fitness, which can also be a good choice for increasing overall fitness levels.