Person working out at home on their Precor elliptical EFX 447

Blast Calories with This Tabata Elliptical Workout

Are you looking for ways to take your elliptical workout to the next level? You’ve come to the right place. Whether working out on an elliptical at home or in a professional fitness facility, this Tabata-style workout will really step things up.

What are Tabatas?

Let’s set the scene first. Though the terms HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata are often used interchangeably, Tabatas are a popular form of HIIT training. Trainers and group exercise instructors alike integrate Tabatas into exercisers’ workouts to expedite fitness gains in a limited amount of time.

Tabatas came out of a 1996 study published by Izumi Tabata that evaluated the effect of high-intensity interval training on anaerobic capacity and endurance improvements. Tabatas are structured, four-minute sets that alternate 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of recovery. If performing more than one Tabata, it is critical that you undergo a full recovery period, usually 2-5 minutes, before initiating the next Tabata.

Why use the EFX for Tabatas?

Tabata training requires intensity, and it can be challenging to produce the necessary level of work in a non-impact environment. The Precor Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (EFX) allows rapid resistance, direction, and speed of movement changes. It is a viable alternative for those looking to avoid plyometric or higher impact activities or for exercisers who prefer to train using mainly cardio equipment. The EFX also allows exercisers to target the larger muscle groups of the lower body.

Tips for Success

When performing Tabata elliptical workouts on the EFX, structure sets so that the rest and work sequences rely on similar movement patterns to facilitate rapid transitions. For example, don’t change the CrossRamp (training angle) in the middle of a four-minute work period.

Building Tabata Sets

There are many ways to build Tabata sets on the EFX. However, the best Tabata training plans include movements that:

  • Precisely target a specific muscle or muscle groups
  • Have a clear work and rest goal or steps per minute target
  • Are intuitive enough for exercisers to transition in and out of easily

Integrating Tabatas Into Your Workout Plan

Tabata elliptical workouts should be integrated into your training plan based on your physical ability and unique training objectives. Tabatas can be used as four-minute training bursts within an overall workout, or you can build out exclusive Tabata workouts. Those new to this type of training should gradually integrate Tabata intervals over time, while more seasoned exercisers with a higher fitness baseline may be able to participate in lengthier Tabata training sequences.

To get the most out of Tabatas, you’ll need to give full effort during the work periods of each set. It is better to do fewer sets well rather than give partial effort across a larger number of sets. Adequate recovery time between sets and training days is also critical to maximize the effectiveness of Tabata workouts.

When performing the suggested workout below, remember that these settings are recommendations. You can adjust training intensity by modifying your speed, resistance, and ramp angle.

As a reminder, before beginning any new exercise program, be sure to consult with your physician and take the appropriate precautions.

4 Minutes to Fitness: EFX Tabata Workout

This 35-minute elliptical workout includes three 4-minute Tabatas. During each interval, alternate 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Each 4-minute round consists of 8 sets. A 3-minute rest period follows each 4-minute Tabata.

Work Phase









Move easily and gradually increase speed of movement and resistance.

Round 1:

Resistance Challenge


(20-seconds work,  10 seconds recovery)



Choose a moderate ramp angle. Intensity comes from resistance before speed in this round. Set the resistance between 8-12 for the first set and choose a cadence that challenges you but that you can hold without dropping off for 20 seconds. Maintain your resistance setting, but slow down during recovery. Adjust resistance until you find a challenging level you struggle to hold during each 20-second set.


3-Minute Recovery

Drop your resistance and move easily for 3 minutes.

Round 2:

Speed Challenge


(20-seconds work,  10 seconds recovery)



Keep resistance and ramp angle steady throughout this round, but push yourself by moving as quickly as possible during the 20-second work sets.


3-Minute Recovery

Drop your speed and move easily for 3 minutes.

Round 3:

Hill Challenge


(20-seconds work,  10 seconds recovery)



Choose a challenging CrossRamp angle of 14-20, and do not change the angle during recovery periods. During work sets, achieve intensity by adjusting speed and/or resistance.

Cool Down




Drop your speed and move easily for at least three minutes. Make sure to stretch and hydrate when you finish!

If you are in the market for a new elliptical or want to supplement your at-home workouts with additional cardio and strength products, chat with our team online or visit your local Precor authorized dealer. We are happy to answer all your fitness questions and help you find the best equipment for your needs.