Does An Elliptical Burn Belly Fat? (What You Need to Know)

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: December 14, 2023
FACT CHECKED by Christiana Mikesch, CPT
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During my ten years of working as a professional trainer, I have tried and used many types of exercise machines and learned how each one works for losing belly fat.

One of the machines that has helped me torch body fat is the elliptical trainer.

Since then, I’ve always advised my clients to do elliptical training to burn excess calories more quickly.

To better explain the mechanisms behind this aerobic exercise to you, I talked to my fitness colleagues and did a week’s worth of research.

Here’s all the data you might need to reduce belly fat with ellipticals.

Quick Summary

  • An elliptical machine helps burn fat as it allows you to work on both your upper and lower body.
  • Proper machine techniques, observing good posture, and performing workouts, are some ways of making your elliptical workouts more effective.
  • According to studies published in Science Daily, elliptical cardio exercises combined with weight lifting can help you build bigger muscles and aid in calorie burning.
  • As a trainer, I've seen the elliptical work wonders for belly fat reduction for my clients, making it a top recommendation in my fitness arsenal.

Can Elliptical Machines Help You Lose Belly Fat?

A woman working out on an elliptical machine

Elliptical machines can help you lose belly fat because they allow you to work on the muscles in both your upper and lower body.

This causes you to burn more calories, reduce body weight, and eventually trim excess stomach fat.

The elliptical machine utilizes a cross-training method that can be in the form of low-impact, steady-state (LISS) exercise or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Both LISS and HIIT have been shown to help people lose weight, and doing these workouts on an elliptical machine can help accelerate the process of reducing belly fat, as reported by [1].

Here's how to get the most out of this machine.

How Can You Make Elliptical Exercise Work for You?

Close up shot of a person using an elliptical machine

You can make elliptical exercises work for you by learning proper machine techniques, maintaining good posture, and diversifying your aerobic workout routines for belly fat.

Proper Machine Techniques

From my years of training clients, I've seen firsthand how mastering proper machine techniques can enhance the effectiveness of elliptical workouts.

To burn calories, adjust the foot pedals downwards to work more on your quads, or you can push them back to work on your hamstrings and glutes harder.

You can also use your hands to push and pull the grips while striding.

According to CNET, this will allow you to work your upper body muscles, giving you a full-body workout and more calorie burn [2].

Finally, you can increase the degree of incline and resistance to intensify your workout, letting you challenge yourself more to reduce excess fat.

Observing Good Posture

A woman using an elliptical machine in the gym

I always emphasize posture in my training sessions. One of my clients improved her elliptical workouts dramatically by straightening her back and rolling her shoulders back, as I advised.

Also, keeping your core muscles tight can help you push the power through both arms and legs, allowing you to complete more demanding workouts.

Moreover, keeping your entire foot flat on the pedal as you move will not only challenge your leg muscles but can also help you keep your posture upright.

Varied Workouts

The final thing you can do to maximize the benefits of elliptical workouts is to perform or mix different workout routines.

As previously stated, this exercise machine can be used for both low-impact and high-intensity exercises. Each burns fat differently but has been proven beneficial for weight loss.

"If you're looking to do a marathon, mud runs, or endurance-based activity, put some energy into LISS. But if you're looking to be more explosive, athletic or build muscle, HIIT workouts are best suited to help you do that."

- Rafique "Flex" Cabral, Fitness Trainer

Furthermore, lifting weights in addition to elliptical cardio exercises can help you develop bigger muscles, which can aid in burning more calories over time, as shown by studies published by Science Daily [3].

Combining a variety of elliptical workouts with a healthy diet can help you see visible results in a matter of months.

However, adding natural fat burners to these weight loss efforts can help you lose fat considerably faster.

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What Are the Benefits?

A man using an elliptical machine in the gym

Through my years of training, I've observed numerous benefits of using an elliptical trainer. Here are some of them:

Effective calorie burner: Elliptical trainers can accelerate the fat loss process and improve your overall health.

Full body workout: They work the entire body including the quads, glutes, hamstrings, chest, back, triceps, and biceps.

Cardiovascular benefits: According to the American Heart Association, this can improve blood pressure levels and lower the risk of heart disease [4].

Low-impact exercise: Elliptical trainers are generally low-intensity cardio exercises that have a low impact compared to other cardio exercises such as running. Hence, they are suitable for people with joint and back problems.

Convenient: They are easy-to-use home exercise machines that allow you to work out and tone your muscles at any time of the day.

What About the Risks?

Below are the risks associated with elliptical training:

Can be dangerous: Like other cardio machines, ellipticals can be dangerous for people who overdo them, particularly those with underlying health conditions who do not seek medical advice and supervision.

Not good for people with low blood pressure: People with low blood pressure may further lower their blood pressure if they spend more than an hour working out on ellipticals. Excessive blood pressure reduction can result in a lower metabolic rate. According to research published on MedicineNet, a less efficient metabolism slows calorie burning, which can lead to weight gain [5].

They are less effective than high-intensity workouts: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is likely among the quickest and most effective methods for reducing belly fat and lowering overall body fat percentage, surpassing the effectiveness of elliptical workouts.

Limited targeting of abdominal fat: Although it's impossible to focus solely on losing abdominal fat, activities like running are more effective in burning calories and decreasing the total body fat percentage compared to training on an elliptical.


How Long Should I Use an Elliptical Trainer for Fat Loss?

For fat loss, you should use an elliptical trainer for only about 30 to 60 minutes per session to see significant progress.

This is because doing too much on an elliptical can put too much stress on your muscles and joints, which can lead to an injury.

Also, excessive exercise can eventually slow down your metabolism.

Should I Use an Elliptical Every Day?

You should use an elliptical machine every day to increase physical activity, but only for short periods of time and at low resistance.

On the other hand, you can use ellipticals 3 to 4 days per week at a higher speed, intensity, and duration to allow your body to rest and recover, resulting in muscle gains and faster weight loss.

Are Elliptical Exercises Effective for Burning Belly Fat?

Elliptical exercises are effective for burning belly fat because they can speed up the process of gaining muscle mass and losing weight overall.

However, visible results may take longer to show up.

Through years of experience with my clients, I learned that regular exercise, along with a healthy diet and natural fat-burning supplements, can provide greater efficiency in losing belly fat naturally and quickly.

We’ve extensively tested these products for safety and efficacy, so make sure to examine the lists and find the one that suits you the best.


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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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