How to get the most from your cardio machine workout

Tiktok’s latest viral fitness trend, The StairMaster Workout, has already racked up 24.7 million views. According to #stairmasterworkout devotees, this piece of gym equipment will help you achieve toned abs and glute gains – but it’s not the only miracle machine you can turn to for a major fitness boost.

cardio machines

The key to cardio equipment is not just how often you use it, but how you use it. Here’s how to get the most from your cardio machine workout, according to a personal trainer…

How to use cardio machines at the gym

StairMaster

A StairMaster is a great all-rounder for toning your calf muscle, glutes, quads, hamstrings and abdominals. So says Daisy Hill, a registered Personal Trainer and nutritionist who works with women of all ages and abilities to become healthier and happier with their fitness levels. She says: ‘This machine offers a slower pace to running and a different technique to walking, so you will be using different muscles which is really important when regularly training to stop muscles becoming shorter or reaching a plateau in your workouts.

‘Set the speed depending on what you want to achieve, the faster you set it the more calories you will burn. A slower setting allows you to concentrate on form.

‘This type of exercise is great for bone and joint health- it can actually reduce the chances of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis as it is low impact.’

Treadmill 

‘If it is wet or icy outside you can still get all the benefits of running outside plus more as the treadmill can be set at a specific speed or gradient to suit the workout you are aiming to achieve’ says Daisy. ‘It also has less of a damaging impact on bones than running outside, and you don’t have to constantly be looking out for potholes!

cardio machines

‘While using a treadmill it is really important to keep a good posture, a tall straight back, abdominals engaged, a heel-to-toe action, look forward and use your arms. This will provide a full-body workout.

‘Using a treadmill generally burns more calories than other cardio machines. It is really easy to get a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout using a treadmill too as you can change the speed and gradient up and down, thus maximising your calorie-burning potential.’

Spin Bike

Spinning is a great way to burn calories and become fitter, says Daisy, mainly due to the ease of changing resistance to create a HIIT workout. And we’ve found a fab half-the-price-of-Peloton machine right here. By having intervals of a fast pace or high resistance, along with slower rest periods you don’t need to do a long workout to get great results. Daisy advises to aim for around fifteen minutes three times a week and you will see a real difference in fitness and strength.

cardio machines

‘The bike is very gentle on joints but it strengthens muscles,’ she says. ‘Make sure you set the bike up so you’re not locking your knees out while pedaling, as this can cause pain in the knees.’

Another benefit of a bike is that you can work your core as well as your legs as long as you practice the right form:

  • Make sure the handles are the same height as the seat, sit on the widest part of the seat, slightly off the back of the seat if needed to ensure your back is in a straight line.
  • Bend your elbows, keeping them soft, and pull them in towards your waist to allow your shoulders to relax.
  • Pull your belly button towards your spine and keep your core engaged throughout the ride.

Rowing Machine

This cardio machine gives a great all over body workout but it is essential to keep a good posture while using it, says Daisy, as it’s easy to become lazy in your form as you become tired.

cardio machines

Sit up right, chest lifted, abdominals engaged, knees bent and wrists in line with your forearms. Uses an over hand grip on the bar and keep the handlebar in line with the middle of your body.

Remember the order –

Legs extend

Arms bend

Arms extend

Legs bend

Daisy says: ‘The rower works every muscle in your body so your heart rate will increase more quickly than while using other machines, meaning you will burn more calories faster.

‘Remember to use your core in each movement. You can adjust the resistance on the machine for a workout to suit you.

‘The rower is also very low impact so is safe for people with joint problems. It is also a great machine for people who have issues with balance as you are seated and close to the floor.’