Is it possible to gain muscle on elliptical trainers? 💪

Is it possible to build muscle on an elliptical trainer

Building muscle on elliptical machines? Is it possible?

Originally designed to reproduce the movements of running while limiting the impact on the joints, the elliptical trainer also allows a wide range of movements. Ideal for consistent weight loss and body shaping, it will also allow you to target specific muscle groups by using it in other ways.

At home or in the gym, the elliptical trainer is an efficient and comfortable cardio training device. Good for your joints and heart, it also helps tone your legs, arms and other parts of your body. It can also be used to build muscle. Find out in the following paragraphs how to build up your muscles with an elliptical trainer and feel all the benefits of your workouts, whether at home or at your favorite gym.


Is the elliptical trainer effective for building muscles?

The elliptical trainer is not the best choice for building muscle! It is a cardio training device that helps you burn calories and lose weight. It will not primarily build muscle, this can be a side effect of prolonged physical effort on a consistent basis

If you’re looking to build muscle, it’s best to opt for a rowing machine, an exercise bike or a biking bike, or regular bodybuilding exercises. The rower will obviously be more complete since it using both the upper and lower body! Otherwise, opt for a weight-lifting machine, which may be more cumbersome and take much space around the house if you plan to workout at home.

sports that make you gain muscle

If training on an elliptical is not the best sport to gain muscle, what are the best sports then?

Bodybuilding is not just for bodybuilders. In fact, more and more men and women are deciding to take up physical activity to strengthen their abs, thighs, buttocks… In addition to making us do physical activity, choosing a sport that builds muscle is also a good way to achieve a well sculpted, firm and toned body. But what sport should you choose to build muscle? Which muscle sport is the most muscular? Here is an overview of effective physical activities to develop your muscles.

List of the sports that build the most muscle:

  • Squash
  • Rowing, a sport that strengthens the whole body
  • Running
  • Swimming, a sport that quickly builds back muscles
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Cross fit: a sport that builds muscle quickly and well
  • Climbing

How to build up muscles with an elliptical machine?

If you want to try to build up your strength on your elliptical (although it is not the most suitable fitness equipment), you should use a high level of resistance during your workouts. The arms are dynamic but do not work very hard on an elliptical, so you will mainly use the lower limbs!

High intensity interval training or HIIT is also a great way to gain muscle! So try to do as many sessions as possible in split sessions of 1 minute intensive, 1 minute recovery (pedal gently). You can vary the times (as long as the recovery time is equal to the intense effort time).

🎥 Watch the video below if you want to learn how to do a great Elliptical HIIT Workout

Is the elliptical trainer effective in strengthening the abdominal muscles?

If your main goal is to build up abdominal muscles, the best thing to do is to choose a rower! Abs work as long as they are well sheathed! During your session on your elliptical, you must pay particular attention to your sheathing! Keep your stomach tucked in with the intention of bringing the navel closer to the spine.

As you exhale, try to tuck your stomach in more! For women, remember to work the perineum at the same time!

🎥 Watch the video below if you want to learn how to do a massive Elliptical Abs Workout

muscles worked on ellipticals

Elliptical trainers: What muscles are used during elliptical workouts?

This fitness machine has more advantages than the exercise bike and the rowing machine. It targets the muscles of the lower and upper limbs at the same time. Depending on the level of training, you have the choice between simple or intense strength training. What exactly are the muscles used during training?

✓ Upper body muscles

During the exercises, the muscles of the lower limbs are the most used. These are the quadriceps, hamstrings, the muscles of the buttocks and calves.

✓ Quadriceps and hamstrings muscles

The quadriceps and the hamstrings are located respectively at the front and at the back of the thighs. These muscles work constantly as you pedal and move forward. The quadriceps work when you pedal at a normal pace, while the hamstrings muscles are targeted when you pedal backwards.

✓ The gluteal muscles

The gluteal muscles work when pedaling, but even more so when pedaling backwards. The effects of the bike on these muscles can be strengthened by holding bars still and tilting the buttocks slightly backwards.

✓ Calves

The twins, commonly called calves, are the muscles of the back of the leg, they also work while pedaling.

✓ The muscles of the lower body

Contrary to the muscles of the lower body, the muscles of the upper limbs (biceps, triceps, pectorals, large dorsal, abdominal) are more or less solicited according to the type of training.

✓ The biceps and triceps

The biceps are located at the front of the arm. They are stressed when you pull on the handles, while the triceps, located at the back of the upper arm, work when you push on the handles.

✓ The dorsal

The large dorsal is the muscle forming a “V” on the back. It works when you pull the handles towards you.

✓ Pectoral muscles

It’s the chest muscles. They are called upon when you push the mobile handles.

✓ The abdominal muscles

Made up of the long straight and obliques, these basic muscles contract to keep the body balanced and aligned.

This machine also helps to work the heart muscles, its benefits on the heart muscles help to prevent cardiovascular disease.

The elliptical trainer for shaping the lower limbs

If the elliptical trainer does not equal muscle building for building muscle mass, it is perfectly possible to build up muscle with this cardio trainer. You can use the back pedaling technique to work the muscles of your lower limbs for this purpose.

As the name suggests, it consists of pedaling in reverse.

Back pedaling workouts allow you to develop your hamstrings and buttocks. At the same time, you improve their natural curves. This exercise also works your abdominal muscles. For optimal efficiency, you vary the speed, resistance and duration.

In addition, you can build up your quadriceps muscles by alternating with normal pedaling. By performing both exercises during your workout with the proper level of inertia wheel resistance, you will enjoy all the benefits of cycling and burn a maximum of calories.

🎥 Watch the video below if you want to learn how to do a Reverse Pedaling Elliptical Workout

The elliptical trainer for Stronger Arm Muscles

The elliptical trainer is a fitness machine that has the advantage of using more than 80% of the body’s muscles for a simple pedaling exercise. However, thanks to its design, this machine allows you to target a specific group of muscles such as the arms. You can work the biceps and triceps by pulling on the swing arms. The effort is thus concentrated on the upper limbs.

To strengthen your triceps, you no longer have to hold the swing arms in your hand. You place your hands on them and push them to start the movement of the machine. Alternating these two techniques allows you to have muscular arms in a balanced way. If you manage to sheath the chest throughout the exercises, you also strengthen the pectorals.

The elliptical’s handlebars allow full body movement. To achieve this precise movement, which requires a very good synchronization of the limbs. This is why the energy expenditure is so important during a session of at least 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer. However, the design of the elliptical allows the effort to be targeted at a specific muscle group, especially the arms.

In order to regain toned and refined arms, you will need to alternate between two techniques. The first is to pull on the swing arms with every movement. Your lower limb muscles will then be much less solicited to complete the ellipse and the effort will be mainly induced by the biceps.

For arms that are muscled in a harmonious and balanced way, the triceps must also be specifically solicited. To do this, place your hands against the swinging arms (instead of grasping the handles with your full hand) and push on the arms to perform the movement. In this exercise, the triceps will be the main active muscles. Note that by sheathing your bust during these exercises, you will also tone your abdominal belt and pectorals.

Can you build up your glutes on an elliptical trainer?

The buttocks are under strain on the elliptical trainer! However, they are not the main muscles that are used! If you want to try to strengthen your buttocks, remember to contract them! And put your elliptical on high resistance. To put more strain on the glutes, you can lean forward and possibly stand on your toes, making sure that you don’t hurt yourself in the process.

The best fitness equipment for effective buttock strengthening is still the biking bike! It is therefore a good choice if your main goal is to strengthen the muscles in your buttocks.

🎥 Watch the video below if you want to learn how to do a Legs and Glutes Workout

Shaping your thighs and buttocks on an elliptical trainer

If your goal is more to work the muscles of your lower limbs, or if you want to perfect your strength training with an elliptical trainer, you can use the back pedaling technique, which is available on all models of equipment.

It is very easy to do, all you have to do is pedal by reversing the usual movement. So instead of using the quadriceps (muscles in front of the thigh), you will develop the hamstrings (muscles at the back of the thigh) but also the buttocks.

By alternating these different exercises and varying the speed of movement, resistance and duration, you will get the most out of your elliptical and have endless new possibilities to exercise and build up your muscles in a precise manner.

🎥 Watch the video below if you want to learn how to tone the thighs with an elliptical

Precautions for a muscular reinforcement up to your expectations?

If you want to work out efficiently on your elliptical fitness machine, you must be careful when performing the pedaling movements. First, you must stand upright on your machine, looking straight ahead.

This position allows you to work on your upper back during your workout and prevents the risk of injury and pain. Then, you should plan a rest day between two training sessions. Contrary to popular belief, your muscles work when you rest. This also prevents you from having various problems related to over training.

Great Elliptical Workouts to tone the whole body

Below I have listed some exercises that will improve your physique while toning the whole body.

✓ Warming Up

In all the exercises that we are going to mention below, it is necessary to warm up for five minutes, in this case with your hands free to oscillate. Then, perform three intervals of 15 minutes each. During the intervals, increase the intensity of the exercise in the following order

  • The first five minutes: low ramp, low resistance and medium effort level
  • The next five minutes: medium ramp, medium resistance and medium effort level
  • The third five minutes: high ramp, high resistance and high effort level

It is recommended that for each interval, you perform strides for two minutes and when you get off the machine, do 25 squats with your body weight only.

Before finishing any workout session, it is advisable to cool down for 5 minutes, allowing the arms to swing freely.

✓ Short intervals of high intensity (30 minutes)

The machine’s interval training program must be selected. Set the inclination to moderate mode. Warm up for 3-4 minutes and then follow the machine’s program correctly. If this is done manually, the resistance must be adjusted every 3-4 minutes. To perform this exercise correctly it is necessary to lower the pace between intervals, for example, one minute intense and another minute of rest. Later, when the total time has elapsed is around 27 minutes, lower the pace gradually so as not to end up in a hurry and finally stop at the 30th minute.

✓ Long intervals of medium duration (45 minutes)

It is best to perform these exercises manually, as in the previous exercise, the best option to start is to warm up for 3-4 minutes. This exercise should be carried out in five 5-minute intervals with a medium to high level of effort.

Between each interval, it is best to recover for 3 minutes at a moderate intensity and cool down for 3-5 minutes.

✓ Hills (45 minutes)

Adjust the “Hill” program so that it gradually increases resistance and incline over a period of two to five minutes, and then finally offers a rest period.

After the warm-up phase, make the hills and take into account the total time. It is necessary to cool down for five minutes.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, ellipticals are the not your first option when trying to gain muscle. Even though you can still build muscle with an elliptical trainer, there are better sports out there to reach this goal. If you still want to use an ellitpical trainer to build a solid muscle body, then HIIT workouts is your best way to do it.

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