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Elliptical Machine: What Muscles Do They Use?

Elliptical Machine: What Muscles Do They Use?

An elliptical machine is one of the most accessible and beneficial workout options available to athletes and exercisers at every stage of their training journey. Working out for an average of just 150 minutes a week can have long-lasting benefits for your heart, reduce the risk of conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, and even improve cognition and memory. 

With an elliptical machine, you can get a great workout in even less time, which is a convenient and fun way to stay healthy and active even with a busy schedule.  

While you have many excellent options for workout routines that you actually enjoy, like a long morning walk or a quick jog on the treadmill, there are many benefits to using an elliptical over all the rest. Target specific muscle groups, improve your stamina, lose weight and more, with a fun and challenging workout that you can tailor to fit your needs. 

Benefits To Using An Elliptical Machine

What makes an elliptical machine a better approach to your workout than running, walking, or hiking? There are a few excellent benefits to using an elliptical that will help keep you safe, reduce strain, and make your workouts enjoyable while still ensuring you get all those health and fitness benefits. 

To start, an elliptical machine is easier on joints than many other workouts. If you have pain or sensitivity in your knees or ankles or a previous injury to account for, an elliptical machine is a good way to reduce pressure while still burning serious calories. They’ll also help to improve your balance, which can be beneficial in a wide variety of activities and sports, provide a full-body workout, and increase your cardio capacity at a rate that works for you. 

Ellipticals also burn a lot of calories. When you want to hit the ground running—no pun intended—with a good sweat, the elliptical machine can provide a workout that helps you approach stubborn fat and begin building muscles. 

What Muscles Do You Use On An Elliptical Machine?  

When you use an elliptical machine, you’ll be able to target many different muscle areas with ease, helping you to tone and lose fat. Whether you’re looking to run a marathon, hike a mountain, or want to improve your daily yoga practice, there’s an elliptical workout that will help you achieve your fitness goals and feel great. 

Upper Body Muscles

If you’re looking to increase your upper body strength and control, an elliptical machine is an excellent option. When you flex and straighten your arms as you move the elliptical handles, you’ll be able to target your triceps, tightening the muscles on the backs of your arms. 

When you want to improve back, shoulder, and chest strength, the elliptical machine can help with that, too, offering significant resistance that helps build and tone muscles in your upper body. And taking resistance to the next level is easy, so you can continue to get that intense arm workout along with all the benefits of cardio. 

Lower Body Muscles

The most obvious benefit from working out on an elliptical machine or StreetStrider alternative is that you’ll tone your legs and make your leg muscles much stronger. Give your quads, hamstrings, and glutes an incredible boost with the benefit of higher or lower intensity options, speed changes, and elevation settings. 

If you really want to take your leg workout to the next level, consider peddling your elliptical machine in reverse, a movement that directly targets your calves and hamstrings. The more resistance you add in either direction, the stronger and more powerful your legs will become from fun and exciting daily elliptical workouts. 

In fact, evidence indicates that the elliptical machine surpasses the benefits of using a treadmill, depending on the type of workout you’re doing, helping you to burn fat and build muscle without straining your joints or causing more long-term physical complications. 

Core Muscles

Not only will the elliptical help you to strengthen your shoulders and build up the muscles in your legs, but it can also be used to target core muscles and the unique areas of fat and muscle in the middle of your body. The StreetStrider outdoor elliptical engages your core muscles much more than a stationary indoor elliptical.  By keeping the StreetStrider going straight your core muscles are engaged and they are also engaged when using the lean-to-steer system. 
An elliptical machine is an excellent way to burn fat quickly and help you to slim down. But it also increases the strength of your ab muscles, particularly if you’re using a turning elliptical, and that’s not all. Yogis and dancers will appreciate the benefit of improved hip flexor strength and flexibility. When you can target your obliques without an entirely separate workout, you save time at the gym. The elliptical provides a full-body workout, and your muscles are sure to thank you for it. 

Workout Options

You might be wondering what kind of workouts to try based on your fitness needs and goals—and you have many choices available to you when it comes to improving your personal health. Here are a few ways to follow up on your health journey and target each of the unique muscle areas in your body.  

Core Workout

The best way to boost your ab burn and build serious core strength is to skip the arm workout and move your body with your legs and abdomen alone. Take your hands off the handles and increase your resistance as strength and stamina build. You’ll definitely feel that workout in the morning. 

Quick Workout

One of the reasons the elliptical machine is such a great tool is that it fits into even the busiest schedules. If you don’t have a ton of time for a workout, an interval setting that includes both a warmup and cool-down period can be achieved in just 20 minutes (or less!) to great benefit. You can even target your intervals to specific muscle groups if you want. 

Glutes And Legs

If you’re really interested in focusing on building leg strength and improving your booty workout, then a high level of elevation is the trick. Increase your elevation carefully as you become accustomed to your workout, and you’ll begin to see results. 

Fat Burn 

Because the elliptical machine is such a full-body workout, you’ll burn serious fat no matter which type of workout method you follow. Increase elevation, resistance, or both slowly and carefully, and you’ll find your stamina improves, and you begin to burn weight with ease. 

Shoulders And Back

The shoulder and back workout that you get on an elliptical comes from the use of the handles, so you won’t be able to target both the upper body and lower body muscles in a single day. (You do have full body options available, however.) If you want to tighten your triceps and add power to your lift, increase resistance, and push from your shoulders and arms rather than your legs. 

How Do I Get Started?

The elliptical machine is a straight-forward and easy to use tool for burning fat, getting fit, targeting muscle growth, and building up a sweat. Whether you use a traditional gym elliptical or take a more innovative model out in the sun, it’s an intuitive and fun machine designed to help you realize your fitness goals. 

With every new workout plan, it’s important to be intentional and careful, so take the time to get to know your machine and your own limits. Begin trying out some full-body workouts to get a sense of your stamina and strength, and then slowly bring up the resistance and elevation levels to target different muscle groups and home in on your fitness goals. 

If you notice that a workout on the elliptical machine is causing pain or pressure in your joints or if your muscles hurt in a way that indicates strain or damage, pull back, give yourself time to heal, and return to your next workout only when you’re ready. 

Ellipticals are easy to access since they’re a standard machine at most gyms, but you can find great home and travel models as well. You’ll also want to consider an outdoor machine to blend your workout with time spent in the sunshine and fresh air. Scaling up your elliptical workout is smooth and easy, so no matter what stage of your fitness journey you’re in, there’s a setting to match your needs. 

Conclusion?

No matter what muscle group you’re interested in targeting or growing, an elliptical machine is an excellent asset. Ellipticals are full-body and low-impact workout options that shouldn’t put excessive strain on joints or previous injuries but will definitely help you to burn fat, build muscle, and break a sweat. 

Increase your practice slowly and carefully, or switch over from more intensive workouts to this versatile, fun way of hitting your exercise goal every day and seeing lasting health and fitness benefits. When it comes to which muscles the elliptical machine will help you tone and grow, the answer is simple—all of them. 



Sources: 


  1. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/elliptical-benefits#benefits
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/elliptical-machines/faq-20058294 
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