Bored on the Elliptical?

Note: this photo is courtesy of HerCampus, which has even more tips for avoiding elliptical boredom.

(And how come I just realized after writing the word boredom that I think I pronounce it as though it were spelled "boredRum" when it seems there is only one R in the word?  Crap. I've been doing that for about 50 years now, wonder if anyone noticed?) 


Does Anyone Else "Play" on the Elliptical Machine?

If you are a person who uses an elliptical machine, you may have discovered that you need to experiment to keep it from getting excruciatingly tedious.  The HerCampus article above has more of a "distraction" approach, whereas immature Crabby prefers a more ridiculous approach...

Dance to da Music!

Music helps, especially if you don't mind looking like an dork and dancing along to it.  I am a firm believer in hands-free ellipticalling; way more fun and freeing and I figure there are plenty of other ways to work my arms that don't spoil my cardio. Certain songs just call out for fist pumps, jazz hands, twisty hips, and pogobounding, a term I just made up, and these are all constrained by the use of arm thingies. Note: I am not a role model for proper elliptical form.

Competitive Much?

You people know who you are. :)


You can also experiment with different tempos, inclines, resistances and directions. (And yes, at least on some machines you can go sideways as well as forwards and backwards.  Warning: you may feel somewhat self-conscious, especially if the machines are close together and this has you peering right at the annoyed person inches away from you.  But it works some of those sideways leg and core muscles).


Closing your eyes is for increasing periods of time highly recommended! This will enable you to (a) improve your balance (b) block out the sight of your ugly basement or the line of sweaty asses in front of you if the ellipticals are in the back row of cardio machines at the gym and (c) learn the location of your local hospital emergency room when you make an unplanned high speed exit!


Yes, while awkward, it may be possible for you to do interval training on an elliptical.  You crank up the resistance and the speed, and flail away until your legs are on fire. You then proceed to make those horrid gasping noises that inspire anyone within half a mile of you to pump up the volume of their music and squint at you with that WTF-is-your-problem-look.

But don't miss the BEST part of your intervals...

What few people seem to add to this routine is the payoff part during recovery.  You have to experiment with the right incline and resistance to find the perfect setting, but basically you bring them both down to the point where the elliptical is moving your legs for you while you catch your breath and wait for the next round of torture.

It's like magic!  You are rocking out to your music and the elliptical is dancing you along with no effort on your part!  I believe it's all in your mind, just based on a kinesthetic illusion, but that only adds to the fun because YOU get the credit.

Note: works for longer interval protocols, not recommended for Tabatas unless perhaps you are crazy fast with the controls. 

A similar but more sedate phenomenon occurs when you step off a treadmill after running really hard on it and find the world whirs by you at a weirdly accelerated rate, as though you have acquired super-powered turbo-charged legs. If you are a "cool down" person you may miss this, but it can be worth checking out as it pairs well with post-exercise endorphins and smugness.

Anyone else play on the elliptical or other exercise machines? Or discover that you've been mispronouncing a word for decades and decades? 

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