As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Elliptical training has many advantages such as fat loss, endurance training, joint mobility and targeting major muscles, etc. The last one reminds me of what muscles does the elliptical machine work. Well, an elliptical gives you a highly-effective workout performance that assists in shaping your body muscles. The mechanism of an elliptical trainer is to mimic the motion of running, walking, or jogging. It is low-impact on your body yet done rigorously can help you reach the goal. Here, you can get both upper and lower body workouts. That’s why an elliptical is the most used exercise equipment in the gym. People wait in queue to get their number.
So, today we have made an all-out discussion on what major muscles group you can get worked on in an elliptical trainer. We have segmented them into two vital categories- upper body and lower body. Let’s see them one by one.
The human upper body is consists of these major muscles such as
- Arm muscles (Biceps, Triceps, and Forearm muscles)
- Shoulder muscles (Deltoids, Rotator Cuff)
- Chest muscles (Pectorals)
- Upper back muscles (Trapezius and Rhomboids)
- Core (Pelvic Floor Muscles, Transversus Abdominis, Multifidus, Internal and External Obliques, Erector Spinae, and the Diaphragm)
Here, we will only focus on the big muscles group.
Elliptical machine comes with moving handles. So, the push and pull action of the levers or handles work up on your upper body. Let’s get deeper into it.
Your chest has to apply force when you are pushing against the arm levers. Similarly, when you are pulling the handles, most of the labor is done by the biceps. Whereas, other muscles in the back also contribute to keeping you balanced in the elliptical.
Elliptical on Arm Muscles:
Let me be honest with you here. If you want to have John Chena’s arms then an elliptical trainer won’t be enough for you. Because it can give a moderate workout on your arm muscles.
When you are pulling the handles towards the body, the biceps and rhomboids engage. Again, when pushing them away, the triceps become engaged.
So, by increasing the intensity, you can decide whether to push or pull them more. This will allow you to strengthen these muscles more. You can even experience muscle gain if you work at a higher resistance level. For better results, you can add up a few sets of curls and pushups.
Elliptical on Shoulder Muscles:
The front and back of the shoulders are employed when you are using the swing handles. They are also known as small muscles group which get pretty worked up in an elliptical. Plus, they don’t require much resistance to activate. Normal push and pull motion in the elliptical handles will give the front and rear deltoid a great exercise. In turn, they will grow in size.
Elliptical on Chest Muscles:
Your chest muscles (pectorals) and front delts get engaged when pushing the arm levers with your hands in front of you. Your biceps also get played in this part which enables elbow extension and helps with shoulders. This somehow helps you to tone up the chest but it can’t completely help to build up. If combined with some pushups, an elliptical will be much beneficial on your biceps and chest muscle.
Elliptical on Back Muscles:
Your back muscle runs all along the back of your body. It consists of smaller muscles and together they combined to form a larger muscle group. These muscles allow you to pull the handles back and in this action, your biceps also contribute. The biceps are extended to the top front option of the arm. It is also the major muscle in the act when you perform a flex pose with your upper body.
Elliptical on Core:
Core muscles are located at the central section of the human body. They are also referred to as “six-pack” which most of us desire. A strong core keeps you upright and establishes a good posture while you work out. It also protects you from back pain and muscle injury. So, when you are targeting core on an elliptical, it is not directly engaged rather gets worked up indirectly. Hence, maintain stability as long as you are working.
In an elliptical, the most benefited body part is our lower body. Because it gets worked up more than the upper body. Our lower body is basically the leg area starting from the hips to the toes. It is comprised of some distinct muscle groups such as
- Quadriceps (Vastus Medialis, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedius, and Rectus Femoris)
- Hamstrings (Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, and Biceps Femoris)
- Glutes (Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus)
- Calves (Gastrocnemius and Soleus)
Now, we will see the function of an elliptical on these muscle groups.
Elliptical on Quadriceps:
The quadriceps are the toughest muscle located at the front of the thigh. Also known as the powerhouse of legs that provide power on every stride. It is composed of four different types of muscle. Such as Vastus Medialis, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedius, and Rectus Femoris. These muscles get engaged when there is forward motion on the elliptical during knee extension. When you extend the knee, the quads get activated. So, when you transfer your body load and push the pedal down, your quads get worked up. You can target the quads more by gearing up the resistance level. So, when you raise the incline, your quads have to work more to reach you up to that height. They also assist in hip extension.
Your quadriceps also get worked up when your legs will straighten up in the elliptical. However, if you don’t want to put much effort into the quads, you can set the incline lower.
Elliptical on Hamstrings:
The muscle located at the back of the thigh is the hamstrings. It consists of three different muscles. Such as Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, and Biceps Femoris. It works just like the quads but in the opposite direction. In an elliptical, when you are gliding, the thigh moves backward and at this time you will feel the glutes and hamstring.
They are responsible for knee flexion which acts importantly in elliptical training. Increasing the incline, you can get hill-climbing stimulation which can enhance leg flexion. Ultimately, it engages your hamstring muscles more.
A Cross-trainer elliptical can move in a reverse direction that puts more pressure on your hamstrings. As a result, your hams are targeted more.
Elliptical on Glutes:
Glutes are basically your butt cheeks or the fleshy muscles situated at the top of the leg. Here, the gluteus maximus is the largest of the three muscles of glutes that are directly involved with hip extension. It is considered the most vital movement in an elliptical particularly when the trainer is set at an incline.
Besides, the glutes muscles work with quads and hams to push down the legs. They also participate in actions like stair climbing to drive the body in the upward direction. You can strengthen up your glutes more by pushing the pedal in the backward direction.
Again, you can release the arm levers and bend slightly to put more pressure on your glutes.
Elliptical on Calves:
Calves are the smaller muscle group that runs from the back of the knee down to the ankle. They are constantly in use during every part of the day. When you are using the elliptical, calves contract in sync with quads and hams. Especially at the time of stepping up and pushing down the pedals.
Particularly, the gastrocnemius and soleus in the calves muscles assist you to do plantar flexion. This movement happens when you press down the pedal with the balls of your foot. So, when you work out at higher resistance levels, the plantar flexors have to grind harder.
An elliptical trainer provides you with a dynamic workout experience that will help you shape your body. Yes, it has other benefits as well. Now, to be honest, it has more benefits on your lower body than the upper body. If you want to tone up your leg muscles then you can consider having an elliptical in your house. Here, we have listed some of the Best Inexpensive Elliptical for home use.
Now that you know what muscle does the elliptical machine work, you can easily target them. And can achieve your desired fitness goals.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.