What Muscle Groups Do Elliptical Machines Target?

If you just started your elliptical regime, keep yourself aware of what muscles you will be working out. You may also want to know the fitness and daily life benefits you will gain. Elliptical equipment provides a full-body exercise experience aiming at almost every muscle as you work out. You do not need to do extra training apart from the elliptical training sessions.

To enhance functional strength, you need to incorporate weight lifting into your regimen. Elliptical workouts are the most excellent way to good cardiovascular health and building muscle endurance.
Let’s discuss the various muscles elliptical equipment aims at to help you determine whether you need to give it a try.

                                                               Top Elliptical Machines:

Ellipticals NameFeaturesPrice
Horizon Fitness Elliptical• Workout Programs: 32
• Weight: 175 Pounds
• Dimensions: 69 x 28 x 69 inches
Check Price
Bowflex Max Trainer• Workout Programs: 2
• Workout History: Up to 2
• Dimensions: 46.5 x 22.5 x 26.5 inches
Check Price
NordicTrack Spacesaver• Workout Programs: 30
• Weight capacity: 325 Pounds
• Dimensions: 78.7 x 31.9 x 66.4 inches
Check Price
Sunny Health & Fitness• Resistance Levels: 8
• Weight capacity: 220 Pounds
• Dimensions: 36 x 18 x 15 inches
Check Price

1. The Quads

The Quads

Quads is a major muscle group running from the hip front downwards to the knee and creates the biggest leg muscle.

Working it out

Any time a transfer of weight occurs, you push the pedals down, and you are already working out the quads. If you want to work the muscle to a greater degree, elevate the elliptical to the highest level.
For every higher elevation, greater quad action is needed to help you soar to that level.

If you do not want too much emphasis on your quads, lower the incline so that you won’t have to step up much on each stride you make.


It places you on a better edge to do lower body strengthening moves and exercises like squats and split squats.

Lifestyle Benefits

The quads work heavily every time you climb, sit or stand up. Daily movements get a lot easier due to the strong quads.

2. Hamstrings



Hamstrings muscle works oppositely to the quads. That means, as quads move in one movement direction, hamstrings work to finish the movement. At the back part of your leg is where the hamstrings are found. Exactly opposite to quads. They flow from the glutes to the knee joint.

Working it out

Every cycle of movement will work the hamstrings. They help press the pedal, returning it to the starting point. To lay more emphasis on the hamstrings, make reverse moves. That movement pattern entirely changes the nature of the workout to more hamstring centered than the quad.


It helps you do weight lifting exercises for your lower body. They are also crucial for performing a deadlift. If you include cycling and hill walk, you can expect carry-over advantages.

Lifestyle Benefits:

Helpful when standing up or walking downstairs and as you bend up and down around the waist.

3. Calves

Calves constitute a minor group of muscles running from the knee to the back and ankle. It is an endurance group muscle that constantly contracts all through the day.

Working it out.

Calves contract coordinatively with the hamstrings and quads every time you are working out on an elliptical. They also act as stabilizing muscles, maintaining stability to your whole body as you make movement patterns. Although it’s not a large one, it is powerful since it is used constantly to keep the body standing upright.

Fitness Benefits:

It builds endurance, strengthens ankles, and reduces the chances of an ankle injury.

Lifestyle Benefits:

It eliminates the issue of rapid fatigue as you go about daily walking activities. Boosts you whenever you need to climb as its main purpose is to raise the entire body on your toes.

4. Glutes

These are found on your bottom part of your leg’s top.

Working it out

There is usually a heavy use of the glutes anytime you are standing up. They operate in conjunction with hamstrings and quads and push your leg downwards. They are also important during stair climbing helping in an upward movement of the body.

Fitness Benefits:

If you have strong glutes, you will find it easy to do deadlifts and squats or other lower-body moves. Except for exercises where you strictly target the upper body, glutes are key in all body exercises.

Lifestyle Benefits:

Transferred to everything you get involved in because glutes are very important when standing.

Also Read: Front Drive Elliptical for Sale.

5. Core

These are also referred to as six-pack, and almost everybody wants to build them. The Core is a vital muscle to help you stay standing and is found at the center of your body.

Working it out

These are worked out indirectly since they help maintain stability during workouts.

Fitness Benefits:

A strong core is the basis of each fitness move you undertake. It will make you get stronger in all that you do and help you lessen injury chances.

Lifestyle Benefits:

Helpful in keeping good posture, avoid backaches and injury prevention. It could as well assist you to lose some weight if you aim at getting slimmer.

6. Back

The back is a major group of muscles that consists of other smaller muscles—that flow all along your back. When working out on the elliptical, back muscles help pull handles towards your body.

Fitness Benefits:

With a strong back, you can attain a strong physique. It also gives your waist a slimmer appearance. You will be able to do pull-ups, bent-over rows, and pulling movement exercises.

Lifestyle Benefits:

To swing a door open, it is your back muscles that work. It’s clear how things would get easier with a strong back. You need a full-back to stay upright and also control posture.

7. Front Delts & Chest

These are found at the front of your body as opposed to the back muscles. They assist in pushes while the back ones are for pulling.

Working it out

Every time you are pushing the elliptical forward handles, it’s the chest & front delts that you engage. Called into action are the tricep muscles that rest on your upside arm portion and play an important role in assisting your shoulders and elbow extension.

Fitness Benefits:

For successful push-ups, incline, or even shoulder pressing exercises, you need strong front delts and chest. The triceps are part of the muscles and come into action as well. Additionally, the triceps are part of your arm’s largest portion, and therefore, tricep building will result in a well-toned arm.

Lifestyle Benefits:

For activities involving lifting things, pushing to open doors, you will put chest & front delts to work. You will as well find it easy to lift things easy due to the strong arms. And as the discussion puts it, it’s clear how important an elliptical is useful for a standard workout regimen.

Also Read:

  • Updated March 18, 2023
  • Blog