July 19, 2024
Muscles Used on Elliptical

The elliptical machine is a favored piece of equipment for cardio. The great thing is that the device helps you with a full-body workout to improve your cardiovascular health and it is a highly useful way to burn calories. The elliptical exercise is like most other layouts of aerobic workouts while you perform it. But the question is which muscles are used on the elliptical?

However, The elliptical machine offers you a whole-body workout including the major muscle groups of your body. It primarily uses the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves of your lower body. On the other hand, the muscles used on the elliptical are the rhomboids and triceps muscles of the upper body. Here we are going to discuss which muscles are used on the elliptical in detail.  

Muscles Used in the Legs

The elliptical workout works both your lower body and the upper body. It typically targets the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings on your legs. You will feel your glutes and hamstrings when your thigh proceeds backward during the gliding action. Let’s take a look at your legs muscles are used on the elliptical.

A. Quadriceps

Your quads consist of the four front muscles of your thigh. The four muscles are,

  1. Vastus medialis,
  2. Rectus femoris,
  3. Vastus lateralis, and
  4. Vastus intermedius.

When the all muscles perform together, they are the most muscular muscle in your legs. 

During the elliptical stroke, the quads work along with the hips to provide you with downward power while the pedal stroke. Also, the quads lengthen barely during the eccentric on the upward phase of the elliptical stroke.

B. Hamstrings

The hamstrings exist on the back of the upper thighs. They are the opposite muscle group of the quads and their major role is to flex your knee. You see this activity when your lower leg goes from a straight position to a bent position while pedaling on your elliptical machine. Hamstrings activate along with the quads to pull the foot back to the top of the pedaling cycle.

C. Glutes

The glutes are a group of three external hip muscles behind the buttocks. The three muscles  are the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. There are two fundamental functions of the glutes during the elliptical pedal stroke. The functions are the concentric contraction of the glute max creating a hip extension and a little hip hyperextension.

Muscles Used in the Core

Your core is the central part of your body. The core includes your stomach, lower back, hips, and pelvis. An elliptical workout also engages your core muscles. This mainly involves your abdominal, Lower Back, and Obliques muscles. Let’s take a look at your core muscles are used on the elliptical.

A. Abdominals

These muscles go down the center of your stomach from your ribs to the front of your pelvis. The muscles maintain your internal organs in place and hold your body stable during the elliptical movement. The Abdominals may form bubbles occasionally called a “six-pack” when somebody has a trim, fit abdomen.

B. Lower Back

Your lower back muscles conduct all along the back of your body. It is a major muscle group consisting of many small muscles. When you perform the elliptical, your back muscles will be utilized to pull the handlebars towards your body, doing so on every single rep you take. 

C. Obliques

Your obliques consist of two muscles. Those muscles are internal and external obliques. They are seen beside the rectus abdominals varying from the hips to the rib cage. They’re responsible for the circuit of the trunk. and also they prevent the trunk from rotating as you move.

Muscles Used in the Arms

An elliptical workout does exercise different arm muscles. You know that most elliptical machines have handholds that move in pairs with the foot pedals. While you move your arms throughout your elliptical workout still engage your biceps, shoulders, and triceps. Even if you may not have any weights in hand. Let’s have a look at which muscles are used in your arms on an elliptical machine.  

A. Biceps 

The Biceps Brachii (BB), is typically known as the biceps. It is a large, thick muscle on the ventral part of your upper arm. This muscle is comprised of a short head and a long head. The long head is located on the lateral side of the biceps while the short head is found on the middle side.

B. Triceps

The triceps brachii is Latin for the three-head muscle of your arm. They are three different muscles with various origins. The triceps attaches to the same spot on your elbow and run along the back side of your arm. They work when you push the handlebar of the elliptical away from you and when you pull the handlebar towards you.

C. Shoulders

During the elliptical movement, your shoulders flex and extend opposite your knees and hips. Its flexion is controlled by the pectorals,  deltoids, and biceps, while the extension is handled by the latissimus dorsi, deltoid, pectorals, teres major, and triceps.

Benefits of Using an Elliptical 

The elliptical machine is a great piece of workout equipment. It provides you with lots of health benefits if you properly use this workout machine. The elliptical is also perfect for low-impact workouts, good for people who are starting on their fitness journey for calorie burn. Here are some of the benefits of using an elliptical machine. 

 A. Improved cardiovascular health 

Elliptical exercises are great for your cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular health means the health of the heart and blood vessels. The elliptical machine can work your heart and lungs harder with a moderate elliptical movement. The elliptical movements engage both your upper and lower body.

Whoever, the elliptical works on almost all major muscle groups. It also improves your heart rate and blood vessels. So your muscles get more oxygen which improves your cardiovascular health. 

B. Increased calorie burn 

An elliptical trainer is workout equipment that undervalues stress to your joints while supplying an aerobic workout. The liquid motion of an elliptical machine is perfect who desire to build a strong body and wish to increase calorie burn. 

Moreover, the elliptical machine provides you with whole-body low-impact workouts that burn more calories and boost your cardio fitness.   The resistance level, intensity, and pace of your workout on the elliptical machine influence your calorie burn.

C. Low-impact workout

The elliptical machine is very famous for  Low-impact workouts. Using an elliptical is normally regarded as a low-impact activity, and it shouldn’t drive knee pain if you are using it accurately. Whereas ellipticals provide low-impact aerobic activity, they can be a good option for running or jogging for you, if you have joint pain due to arthritis.

Tips on Getting the Most out Of an Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical Machine Advantages

The elliptical trainer is the best versatile exercise equipment. It provides you with different resistances to full-body aerobic exercises. Using the elliptical machine you can get lots of health benefits. Here are the tips on getting the most out of an elliptical trainer.  

A. Adjust the Resistance

The elliptical machine provides you with many resistance levels to make effectual workouts. Every resistance level provides different challenges to get the most out of the elliptical trainer. If you desire to enhance your endurance, you need a moderate, comfortably contesting elliptical resistance level. 

But if you wish to build strong muscles, you need to work out at a higher intensity. Higher intensity means heavier elliptical resistance. So, make a variation using the elliptical resistance levels for better results.  

B. Increase Intensity

You can work out on an elliptical machine using different intensities. Changing the intensity of an elliptical machine is a great way to get the most effective result. A moderate intensity on the elliptical maintains your heart rate at 50 to 70 % of your maximum while vigorous exercise will get your heart rate into the 70 to 85 % range. 

Sixty minutes of forceful-intensity elliptical exercise is equal to 60 minutes of jogging. But 60 minutes of moderate-intensity elliptical workout is just equal to 30 minutes of jogging. 

C. Vary Your Workouts

The elliptical machine provides you with a variety of workout options to get good results from your workouts. If you wish to get the most out of your elliptical workout, you should  Increase speed, ramp incline, resistance, and movement of pedal rotation too.

High-intensity break training is a fantastic way to add variety to a single, low-impact workout. You can also try varying your time of day for your workout to get effective results.


It’s time to break free from the discussion of which muscles are used on the elliptical machine. The elliptical machine is one of the best versatile exercise equipment. So, it allows you many types of resistance to make a whole-body aerobic exercise. The elliptical trainer benefits your body in many other ways, like toning your entire body, improving your heart rate and strengthening your heart muscles, improving your stamina, decreasing your hypertension, and enhancing blood circulation to the entire body, and more. 

However, exercising on this kit also assists enhance your body coordination and balance. So, include an elliptical workout in your fitness regimen and see the effects for yourself within a few weeks.