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Beginner Level Cardio-conditioning and aerobic base 2 building - Elliptical Trainer

This workout builds on the aerobic base you have begun to develop through the fat-burning / aerobic base 1 building workouts. Completing these workouts allows you to continue to develop your aerobic fitness by strengthening your heart muscle while continuing to challenge your muscle metabolism to burn higher percentages of fat and calories during your workouts. The fat burning workouts helped to solidify a base which will be optimized during this phase. This workout emphasizes slightly higher levels of intensity to achieve strengthening of the heart muscle while continuing to train the muscles to convert fuel to energy using oxygen. A benefit of doing this workout is that you will develop a strong base of aerobic fitness and endurance which will provide multiple health, quality of life, and fitness benefits.

This workout requires the use of an elliptical trainer with an adjustable ramp (incline). Elliptical provide an excellent aerobic workout without the impact associated with running or walking. It has been found that users have a lower rate of perceived exertion on the elliptical than other forms of exercise. The elliptical trainer provides a whole body workout when you use a hands-free approach, similar to walking, jogging or running depending on the stride frequency (slower or faster leg motion). Additionally, the adjustable ramp allows you to target various muscle groups to begin to condition your muscles, tendons and joints along with your fat burning metabolism.

The beginner cardio program will help you to achieve a strong endurance base, develop your aerobic fitness and train your body to burn more calories during exercise. The way it works is to remain in a moderate intensity level in order to train the heart to pump enough oxygen to the working muscles to optimize endurance.

In addition to strengthening the heart, this workout also builds endurance, reduces cardiac risk and provides multiple health and fitness benefits.

Prior to entering the cardio zone at the beginning of the workout it is advantageous to complete one fat burning interval in order to prepare the muscles for higher intensity exercise. Throughout the workout, you will alternate fat burning intervals with cardio intervals to maintain an aerobic quality of the workout.

Prior Experience:

Prior exercise experience:6 weeks of fat burning or aerobic base 1 training including 2 weeks of advanced fat burning either on the elliptical or the treadmill.
Medical clearance: Consult your physician before starting or advancing any exercise program.

Workout Detail:

Precor Machine:Any EFX with CrossRamp® technology
Workout Duration: 30 minute workout
Frequency: 4-5 days per week
Number of Weeks until ready to advance from this phase: Completion of 2 weeks of consistent workouts 4 days per week
Next Recommended workout type: Intermediate cardio workouts.
Program: Manual
Intensity Level: 75% to 85% of predicted HRmax. This workout should feel fairly easy to somewhat hard (11-13 on the modified Borg scale). Warm up and cool down are always between 55-65% of predicted HRmax
Resistance: Varies depending on heart rate response. Heavier people will be able to get to higher resistance levels due to the effect of gravity while lighter people will need to stay at the lowest settings in order to keep their heart rate in the target range.
Strides per minute: minimum of 130 strides per minute and try to increase to 170 strides per minute as long as heart rate is in target range.

Pre-Workout Tips:

  • Incorporate a general flexibility program as part of your regular exercise routine. If you plan to stretch prior to your workout, it's best to warm up your muscles first with 3-5 minutes of brisk walking.
  • Begin the workout adequately hydrated. Consume 8-12 ounces of water or sports drink within 1 hour prior to the workout.
  • Begin the workout properly nourished. Consume a meal or snack containing carbohydrates and protein 1 hour prior to the workout.
  • Do not work out if you are sick, injured or have a fever.
  • Use the handrail grips to see your target heart rate or purchase a HR belt which allows you to see your HR during the workout.
  • Calculate your target HR range:
    • Calculate your predicted HR max: [220 - your age = _________ ]
    • Calculate the four following HR's:
      • Warm-up / cool down low limit:Multiply your predicted HR max by 0.55 to get your low limit HR for the warm up.
      • Warm-up / cool down high limit:Multiply your predicted HR max by 0.65 to get your upper limit HR for the warm up.
      • Fat burning low limit:Same as your warm up high limit.
      • Fat burning high limit:Multiply your predicted HR max by 0.75 to get your upper limit HR for the fat burning intervals.
      • Cardio low limit:Same as fat burning high limit.
      • Cardio high limit:Multiply your predicted HR max by 0.85 to get your upper limit HR for the cardio intervals.
      • Write these 4 separate values on a piece of paper to refer to during your workout.

0 - 3 minute Warm up HR target zone = 55-65% of predicted HRmax:Begin moving comfortably, finding a stride rate that allows you to reach your target zone without having to increase the resistance much. Try not to increase the resistance unless you are tolerating a stride rate of 130 and staying in your target zone. Increase the ramp to level 3 to simulate walking or jogging. Try letting go of the handlebars and stabilizing your body by engaging your trunk and abdominal muscles. Use the bars for balance and to check your heart rate as needed.

3-7 minutes fat burning interval - target HR range = 65-75% predicted HR max. Target muscle group = quadriceps and calves:Keep the ramp incline low. Begin increasing your strides per minute to keep your HR in the 65-75% range. If you are up to 130 strides per minute, you may increase the resistance setting to bring your HR to 65-75% of the predicted maximal HR. Your breathing should be comfortable and you should be able to converse without shortness of breath. If you are having breathing difficulty, slow down until you are comfortable.

7-12 minutes cardio interval - target HR range = 75-85% predicted HRmax. Target muscle group = quadriceps and shins:Choose a ramp setting that is comfortable. Try pedaling backwards using your abdominal, trunk and gluteal muscles to stabilize the motion. Aim for a minimum of 130 strides per minute but do not increase the resistance unless you are able to stay in your HR range at 150 strides per minute. Allow your stride rate to increase to a maximum of 170 strides per minute as long as you remain the target range. If your heart rate drifts too high at more than 130 strides per minute, then maintain the highest stride rate you can rather than increasing resistance.

12-17 minutes fat burning interval - target HR range 65-75% predicted HR max. Target muscle group = hamstring and quadriceps:Place the ramp at a medium level. Return to forward pedaling. Reduce the resistance level and continue to aim for a minimum of 130 strides per minute in the target HR zone. Reduce the resistance until you are able to stay in your HR range at 130 strides per minute.

17-22 minutes cardio interval - target HR range = 75-85% predicted HRmax. Target muscle group = variable:Choose a ramp setting that is comfortable. Aim for a minimum of 130 strides per minute but do not increase the resistance unless you are able to stay in your HR range at 150 strides per minute. Allow your stride rate to increase to a maximum of 170 strides per minute as long as you remain the target range. If your heart rate drifts too high at more than 130 strides per minute, then maintain the highest stride rate you can rather than increasing resistance.

22-27 minutes fat burning interval - target HR range = 65-75% predicted HR max. Target muscle group = gluteal:Raise the ramp to a moderate incline. Reduce the resistance level and continue to aim for a minimum of 130 strides per minute. Reduce the resistance until you are able to stay in your HR range at 130 strides per minute.

27-30 minutes cool down HR target zone = 55-65% of predicted HRmax:Lower the ramp and the resistance to 1. Reduce your stride frequency to bring your HR to the target range. See how long it takes you to reach the target range. With improvements in your fitness, your HR will lower more quickly with reduction in exercise intensity. Continue the cool down until your HR has remained in the target range for a minimum of 1 minute.

Congratulations! You are beginning to develop heart muscle strength and power!