We all have our preferred cardio routine–and that usually includes a beloved machine. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with dedicating most of your workouts to your favorite elliptical or cycling bike, you might benefit more from adding a new machine into the cardio mix. Here are a few reasons to double up and some cardio machine combos to get you started.
Why mix machines?
There are two main benefits to mixing up your routine with cardio machine combos: to add challenge and to prevent boredom. When you consistently perform the same exercise over and over again, your muscles and body adjust. This can lead to a plateau.
The same way your muscles can get a little lazy with the same workout on repeat, so can your mind. We can admit there’s nothing worse than hopping on a treadmill for the millionth time to do the same tempo and timed run. The boredom will kick in and quick.
Using different machines may also help reduce stress on your joints. If you’re a treadmill regular, switching to the elliptical or stair climber will help with this a lot. Those differences can help prevent injury and will help create a well-rounded exercise plan.
Some Machine Combination Ideas
There are plenty of options when it comes to machine combinations and, depending on what’s available in your gym, it’s pretty easy to target specific areas and work towards specific goals. First, decide how much time you have to work out and then break it down from there.
“I’ll do 15 to 20 minutes on the elliptical, then 10 to 20 minutes on stair climber, and follow it with a five to 10 minutes of HIIT intervals on the treadmill,” says Aaptiv trainer and certified holistic health coach, Kelly Chase. She also mentions that the order of machines doesn’t necessarily matter as long as your working for the same time. “Thirty to 45 minutes of cardio is a good amount of time for anyone.”
Here are some more goal-focused ideas:
For the Lower Body
Combine cycling and the stair climber for a serious leg and bum burn. Try HIIT on the stairs and then switch to heavier resistance on the bike.
For the Upper Body
Combine the elliptical with the rowing machine. Alternate between HIIT and longer intervals focused on endurance on both machines. On the elliptical, up the resistance and put most of your effort into the push-pull motion.
On those days you want to practice at a longer, slower pace, combine the treadmill with the cycling bike. We recommend starting on the bike before switching to running. You’ll confuse your muscles and they’ll work harder to adjust.
There are plenty of other cardio machine combos. Try mixing some machines at your gym and see what works best for you, your endurance, and your goals.