What Muscles Does a Cross Trainer Work?
Do you want to tone your bum, thighs and legs? Or work your arms a little more? The elliptical trainer is the perfect fitness machine for strengthening almost all muscles of your body! In addition, the elliptical cross trainer has a great advantage: you can vary the exercises and the movements and thus precisely target the weaker muscles or those you want to work. Find out which muscles you are working out on the elliptical cross trainer and discover exercises that will allow you to effectively target the parts of the body you want to tone.
1. Which muscles are used on an elliptical cross trainer?
The first muscle involved is also the most important: the heart! As with any cardio machine, the elliptical trainer makes your heart work and increases its contraction strength, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (learn more about the benefits of the elliptical bike on the body).
The elliptical cross trainer offers the advantage over the stationary bike to work both the lower body muscles such as those of the legs, thighs and buttocks, as well as the muscles of the upper body like those of the arms, the belly and back.
Finally and this is rule N°1, muscles need resistance to work! Exercising without any resistance will only have a very limited impact on your muscles so make sure to increase the resistance of your elliptical trainer if you want to work and tone your muscles.
The muscles used on an elliptical cross trainer are:
The lower body muscles
- The quadriceps and hamstrings, the muscles of the front and the back of the thigh, work continuously when you pedal or stride. You make your hamstrings work more when pedaling backwards while your quadriceps are used more when pedaling forwards.
- The glutes (large, medium and small buttocks), also called gluteal muscles, are also trained during pedaling, especially when you pedal backwards. An effective exercise to maximize the effect on the glutes to tone your bum is to hold the motionless handlebars in the middle and put your buttocks back a little as if you wanted to sit while keeping your knees at a 90 degree angle and to do that in a HIIT workout.
- The calves, called triceps surae muscles, located at the back of the leg, also work during pedaling.
The muscles of the lower body (in red on the diagram) are constantly used when you exercise on your elliptical trainer, while the muscles of the upper body will be more or less working depending on your workout and movements.
The upper body muscles
- The biceps and triceps, the muscles of the front and the back of the arms, are mainly used when you are actively pulling or pushing the moving handlebars of the elliptical bike and thus use the strength of your arms. When you actively push the bars to pedal, then your triceps work while your biceps will work when you pull the handlebars.
- The chest muscles work out when you push the handles.
- The back muscles, the latissimus dorsi muscle (which forms a V in your back) works when you pull the elliptical trainer's moving handles. A very beneficial exercise consists in pedaling without the hands (without holding the handles) for a few minutes in order to work your balance and improve your body posture.
Don't put all your weight on your toes or on the front of your feet when striding. Put your weight slightly on the back of your feet, this will make your body muscles work harder.
Also make sure not to look at your feet when exercising but rather in front of you to keep your back straight!
2. Exercises and workout programs for cross trainer to strengthen your muscles
The advantage of the elliptical trainer is that it is really easy to target the muscles of the body you want to work by varying the movements and the way you exercise. For example, you can do a workout session during which you will actively pull the moving handlebars to strenghten your triceps, which are the muscles located under your arms, or do a HIIT workout during which you will hold the stationary handles in the middle and put your butt lower as if you were willing to sit to tone your bum (and get nice buttocks). These targeted exercises allow you to strengthen the weaker muscles of your body.
Which elliptical workout is the most effective to strengthen muscles? Knowing that it is necessary to increase the resistance of your elliptical bike to strengthen and tone your muscles, it is advised to perform an interval training (HIIT) in which you alternate between high intensity phases with high resistance (30 to 60 seconds) and moderate intensity recovery phases (1 to 2 minutes).
Here are 5 workout routines for elliptical trainer to gain muscle and lose weight effectively.
Find other HIIT workout routines in the Vescape app for cross trainer which is compatible with bluetooth elliptical trainers.
Which training to tone your muscles and lose weight at the same time? Recent studies show that the most effective way to lose weight is to alternate between cardio workouts of 45 to 60 minutes and interval training (HIIT). The HIIT workout will allow you to work your muscles, as long as you increase the resistance of your cross trainer during the high intensity phases, and burn calories and fat at the same time.
It is important to rest for a day between two HIIT workouts. It is actually during recovery that your muscles develop!
Here are two workout plans for elliptical bike to lose weight: N°1 (Goal: 0,5kg / month) and N°2 (Goal: 1kg / month):
Workout Plan N°1
• Cardio Workout on Tuesday (30 min)
• HIIT Workout on Thursday (20 min)
• Cardio Workout on Sunday (45 min)
Workout Plan N°2
• Cardio Workout on Monday (30 to 45 min)
• HIIT Workout on Tuesday and Thursday (25 min)
• Cardio Workout on Saturday (45 to 60 min)
The elliptical trainer is the ideal sport to strengthen your legs muscles, to firm up your thighs and buttocks but also to tone your arms and to work your back muscles and pectorals. Do not hesitate to vary and adapt these exercises to target the different muscles of your body!
Does the elliptical trainer make your thighs and legs bigger? The elliptical bike remains a fitness cardio machine and is not a strength machine. It will allow you to tone your muscles but not to inflate them as you would by lifting weights! So don't worry: your thighs and legs won't get bigger, unless you push the resistance to the maximum and train you several hours a day!
3. How long does it take to see results when you work out on an elliptical trainer?
As often said, you have to suffer to be beautiful! Results do not happen overnight but progressively! However, you must persevere, be constant in your efforts and above all exercise regularly.
If you exercise 2 to 3 times a week, you will notice that after 4 to 6 weeks, your training seems easier and less demanding, which means that you have made progress and that your body is adapting. Moreover, your legs, thighs and buttocks are already starting to be a bit more muscular and firmer. Your arms also have more strength if you have been doing interval training (HIIT) on your cross trainer (by actively pulling and pushing the handlebars with your arms).
If you continue to practice regularly at the same pace, you will fully see the effects of the elliptical trainer on your body after 3 months. Your body fat percentage has decreased and your muscle mass has increased. Your body gets more and more athletic. Continue in this way and you will see all the benefits that the elliptical trainer can bring to your body over time.
Last but not least, the elliptical cross trainer gives beautiful muscles because it is a soft and smooth sport that constantly works the muscles. The elliptical trainer is therefore the ideal fitness machine to refine your muscles, lose weight and have a beautiful body.
Start your workout now to get the benefits of the elliptical bike on your body and your muscles as soon as possible.
David Anderson is a professional coach with 15 years of experience in the sports and fitness industry. He has been writing about fitness and giving workout tips and advice since 2016.