5 Mini Elliptical Workouts To Get Fitter

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It is easy to realize that mini ellipticals can be helpful for staying more active. Get some inspiration about what workouts you can do for what goals.

Something important to note first is that good mini ellipticals come in two main categories, seated and seated + standing.

As the name implies, you only want to use the first category for seated workouts. Both in terms of balance and not breaking the machine.

1. Focused work

While they are not the most intense piece of fitness equipment out there, mini ellipticals do work in the sense that they can help you stay more active in a way that does not distract too much from whatever else you are doing.

This first “workout” is extremely straightforward but because it takes full advantage of one of the main benefits of mini ellipticals it is worth mentioning.

Seated mini ellipticals like the Cubii model are perfect due to their size and the angles of the pedals for this workout. Many standing-seated-hybrid mini ellipticals will work great too but for example, under a desk you want to keep the height in mind.

Additionally, basically anyone can do sessions of this sequence multiple times a day. That being said, here is the simple but helpful focused work mini elliptical workout:

  • 3 minutes of slow pedaling at a light resistance to start off the day
  • Adjust the resistance to something you can keep up for hours without being distracting.
  • Take breaks of 15-60 minutes when the mini elliptical becomes distracting
  • If you have a stretching routine, this is good to do when your muscles are warmed up from moving

2. Focused work HIIT

Some individuals will find the previous workout just a bit too boring. By just doing low-intensity steady-state cardio you are also leaving a few health benefits under the desk.

Most people already take breaks during their work sessions. At the start/during these, you can really pick up the pace to get your heart beating since you don’t have to be that focused anyway.

With seated mini ellipticals like the Cubii model you still want to do this workout seated. If you have a standing model, this is a great moment to make use of this feature to make your movements more intense.

The focused work HIIT goes as follows:

  • 3 minutes of slow pedaling at a light resistance to start off the day
  • Adjust the resistance to something you can keep up for a long time without being distracting.
  • At the start of your work break, turn up the resistance of the mini elliptical (and stand up if your machine is made for this) and pedal as fast as safely possible for 5 minutes.

Fitter individuals can also consider increasing the duration of the high-intensity part up to 10 minutes.

3. Steady-state standing

These next workouts will be for standing models and thus not for under desk mini ellipticals.

The muscles worked with mini ellipticals change by standing up. Instead of mostly using your quadriceps and hamstrings you will also use your glutes (butt) and to some extent core muscles and hip flexors more.

Additionally, standing workouts will be more challenging for your cardiovascular system which in turn can lead to more benefits if you don’t overdo it.

This first sequence is another light workout to start with. You can combine this one relatively easily with other activities like watching tv and listening to music.

  • 3 minutes of slow pedaling at a light resistance to warm up
  • Adjust the resistance to something you can keep up for 30 to 60 minutes
  • If desired, stretch your leg muscles

4. Standing mini elliptical HIIT workout

Similar to the seated mini elliptical workout, the steady-state standing one can use some improvement in terms of fun and effectiveness.

This is relatively easy to resolve by implementing some intervals of high intensity alternated with recovery periods, also known as high-intensity interval training.

A standing mini elliptical HIIT workout will look something like this:

  • 2 minutes of pedaling at a light resistance to warm up
  • 30 seconds of fast pedaling at a heavy resistance
  • 90 seconds of slow pedaling at a light resistance
  • Keep alternating between these 30-second and 90-second intervals about 8-14 times.
  • 2 minutes of pedaling at a light resistance to cool down

To adjust the resistance between each interval, you will likely have to step off, turn the resistance knob, and step on.

Individuals with very good balance could consider doing this while standing on the device if they can do so in a safe way.

As you get fitter, you can consider increasing the time of the high-intensity sessions up to 60 seconds and reducing the duration of the rest periods to 60 seconds.

Additionally, you can do more of these intervals as long as your body can deal with it. Fit individuals can sometimes go up to 40 and even 60 minutes of total time spent working out.

5. Mini elliptical with resistance bands circuit

Some mini ellipticals come with resistance bands and built-in anchors. These allow you to combine a few exercises with your cardiovascular workouts. You can also create this setup yourself.

An important thing to note is that for optimal muscle growth and strength, you want to do your resistance band exercises separately and with bands of the suited resistance.

This mini elliptical workout is more of a way to switch up your cardiovascular exercise sessions with some extra upper body movements. Not to really grow and strengthen your muscles a lot.

  • 3 minutes of slow pedaling at a light resistance to warm up
  • Adjust the resistance to something you can keep up for 30 to 60 minutes and keep pedaling while you do the following exercises
  • Do 12 shoulder presses
  • Do 12 bicep curls
  • Do 12 overhead tricep extensions
  • Do 12 lateral raises
  • 3 minutes of just pedaling
  • Repeat the sequence of exercises 4 to 7 times
  • 2 minutes of pedaling at a light resistance to cool down

Make sure you can do these exercises while pedaling in a safe way. You can initially leave out the ones that are too challenging when it comes to balance. As you get a better balance you can consider implementing them again.

You can also focus on one exercise per mini elliptical workout session. When doing this you want to do just pedaling for about 2 minutes in between each set of the exercise.

Again, this sequence of movements will likely not help you build that much, if any, muscle but it can be a fun way to switch up your mini elliptical sessions.


How long should I stay on a mini elliptical?

Due to the low intensity of seated mini ellipticals you can stay on them as long as they don’t become uncomfortable or distracting. Standing mini elliptical workouts can be made a lot more challenging. In these, you want to stay on the mini elliptical for up to 30 to 60 minutes at a time or until uncomfortable.

Is a mini elliptical a good workout?

A mini elliptical is a good workout in the sense that it can help you stay more active while seated at a desk or somewhere else. Standing mini elliptical workouts do help you move more but they are not that good in terms of intensity compared to many other options.

Can I use a mini elliptical every day?

Due to the relatively low intensity, most people can use a mini elliptical every day. That being said, if you feel any discomfort you may need to use your mini elliptical less often, improve your nutrition, and/or improve your sleep.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.