EFX® Workout Guidelines for Women
ACE Master Trainer Elizabeth Rae Kovar shares how the new Precor EFX helps women train with confidence and get results. Put this information to work with her EFX cardio and strength workout for women.
by Elizabeth Rae Kovar, M.A., ACE Master Trainer
The elliptical is one of the first pieces of equipment used by beginner exercisers, specifically women. Many novice female exercisers struggle with feeling comfortable in the gym, but find that the elliptical is an inviting piece of equipment that is easy to use and functions as a suitable tool to increase one’s cardiovascular fitness, while building movement confidence in the gym.
The newly released Precor EFX, or Elliptical Fitness Cross Trainer, is one piece of equipment that aides women in achieving their fitness goals. With innovative technology and a slimmer body frame, the EFX was designed to fit all body types. The smaller exterior appears less intimidating and the Converging CrossRamp® better replicates a person’s natural converging path of motion as they walk and run. Plus, using the machine feels smoother and more equipped to “fit” a woman’s body frame, including the size of the moving handlebars. This differs compared to other ellipticals that have a wider frame and bigger handlebars.
The best feature is that the EFX targets those challenging zones. Many women experience weight gain or adipose tissue storage in areas around the triceps, hips and buttocks. At certain CrossRamp angles and training directions, paired with the converging trajectory, women can focus on better activating the posterior muscles.
EFX Training Benefits
The newer technology allows exercisers to experience the following training benefits:
- For maximal gluteal impact, train in a forward direction with the ramp between 13-20
- Train in the reverse direction and high and low ramp angles to target the quadriceps
- Push the moving handlebars to activate the triceps
- Train in a forward direction at a lower level to activate the hamstrings
- To increase calf engagement, train in a reverse direction with a ramp level between 12-15
- Training backwards is challenging and will likely increase one’s heart rate
A Full Body Program
Alongside cardio, weight training is also ideal for weight loss and maintenance. Together, cardiovascular and strength training increases one’s metabolic rate and expends additional calories.
Below is an EFX cardio and a compound strength-training program. This calorie-blasting workout is perfect for women who can incorporate the EFX and weight training into their overall fitness plan.
What comes first? Strength or Cardio?
There is much debate on whether to do cardio before strength training. Some of it depends on your personal preference, but traditionally strength training is ideal prior to cardiovascular training, with the exception of endurance training. Weight training requires more mental energy and focus, plus post cardio sessions can “burn” the lactate built up from resistance training.
The following cardio and strength program can be completed in 30-40 minutes. Follow these steps to ensure a safe and effective workout.
Step 1: Warm up for 3 to 5 minutes. You can either warm up on the EFX or complete body weight exercises such as hip bridges, side lunges and squats. Any resistance should be light and the breath should remain steady.
Step 2: Complete the Strength Training Program with two sets of 15 reps. If the exercise is one-sided, complete 8 repetitions on each side.
Step 3: Complete the Cardiovascular Program as directed below.
Step 4: Cool down for 3-5 minutes with static stretching of the major muscle groups.
Cardiovascular Program: EFX Hill Interval Training
This multifaceted interval training program incorporates a 1:2 work to rest ratio, that targets different areas of the body with ramp changes and forward and backward motions. If you are a beginner, keep the ramp between 12-15 and progress as your fitness levels increase. To make the program more achievable, recover with the ramp at 10-12 until fitness levels improve.
During the work period, focus on maximal effort or an RPE of 7-9 on scale of 1-10, where one is light activity and 10 represents maximal effort. The recovery period can range between a 4 and 6 RPE.
*For a complete 30-minute cardio program, repeat the hill interval one more time. On the third time, perform the work and rest period in the same direction.
Strength Training Program: Free Weight Workout
Complete two sets of 15 repetitions. If the exercise is one-sided, complete 8 reps on each side to equal 16 reps. Complete one set if you are time-crunched.
Squat with Overhead Press
Place your feet hip distance apart. Hold the dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your wrists facing inward. Lower your body into a squat and return to center. As you stand up lift your arms overhead. Return the arms to center and transition into the squat.
Backward Lunge with Bicep Curl
Stand tall with feet hip distance apart. Hold the dumbbells in hand and lunge your right leg backwards while your perform a bicep curl with both arms. Step your right leg forward as you release the bicep curl. Perform the same movement on the left leg and continue to alternate on each side.
Row with Triceps Extension
Situate yourself in standing split stance with your left leg forward. Place the left hand on the thigh and hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Slightly hinge at the hip and keep the core engaged. Row the dumbbell toward the chest and when the arm is near 90-degrees, extend the right arm with a triceps kickback. Bend the elbow back to 90-degrees and release the arm back to the extended starting position.
Chest Press on Stability Ball or Bench
Grab a pair of dumbbells and position yourself on top of the stability ball or bench. In using the stability ball, keep your head, neck and shoulder blades on the ball while you keep your hips bridged. Bring the arms over the chest and lower the arms to 90-degrees. Return the arms to center and repeat.
Plank with Knee Drive
Position the body into a plank. Drive the right knee toward the right elbow and return the leg to center. Next, drive the left knee toward the left elbow and return the leg to center. Repeat this motion.
Forearm Side Plank with Leg Lift
Position yourself into a side plank with your forearm and shin on the ground. For a further challenge, keep both legs extended. Begin to lift and lower the top leg. Complete sets on both sides.
It is recommended to stretch the major muscle groups post exercise.
For other calorie-blasting workouts that target our challenging zones, try one of Precor’s preset workouts such as the Leg Sculpt, 4-3 Intervals (and 4-3 Intervals Plus) and the Glute Toner (and Glute Toner Plus).