Glutes

Why Is The Elliptical Good For Glutes & Lower Body Workouts

is the elliptical good for glutes

Elliptical workouts are a great way of burning body fat and improving your cardiovascular endurance.

However, beyond these benefits, how do they fare in activating the glute muscles as part of your strength training routine? 

Let’s explore the elliptical trainer to address the common question: ‘Is the elliptical good for glutes?

What Is An Elliptical Machine

The elliptical machine, also known as a cross trainer, is a piece of cardiovascular exercise equipment designed to allow for a low-impact workout.  

Elliptical training can simulate walking, running, or stair climbing without causing excessive pressure on your joints.  

elliptical stepper machine

The machine features pedals and stationary handles that move in a smooth, gliding motion, providing a full-body workout

They’re popular in many gyms due to their ability to offer an effective cardio workout while engaging several major muscle groups in your lower body, including your butt muscles.

Depending on the specific model of the machine, some allow you to adjust the incline settings and resistance level to increase the challenge of the workout.  

Is The Elliptical Good For Glutes

The elliptical machine can be one of the best cardio machines for effectively targeting the glutes, provided it’s used correctly and offers the necessary features within its settings.  

This will depend on the make and model of the elliptical that you’re using.

By adjusting the incline level of the elliptical and increasing the resistance, you can elicit greater muscle activation for improved glute strength and muscle growth.  

Increasing the angle to a high incline will place more emphasis on your glutes and hamstrings, in much the same way as an inclined treadmill.  


Recommended Reading – 7 Reasons Too Much Cardio Is Killing Your Strength


Similarly, raising the resistance level increases the workout intensity and helps to strengthen the glutes further.

Pedalling forward on the elliptical is particularly beneficial for glute growth, as it emphasizes the activation of the glute muscles.

The movement pattern engages the posterior chain more effectively, including the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.  

On the other hand, pedalling in a reverse motion primarily targets the quadriceps and calves, with less emphasis on the glutes.

Another good tip for greater glute activation is to keep your feet flat on the pedals as you move through a full range of motion.  

By pressing down with your entire foot, you increase stability, which allows you to generate more force with each movement.

This increased force not only activates the glutes and hip flexors more effectively but also helps in maximizing the muscle fibers recruited during the workout. 

ellipitical cardio machine

What Are Some Other Benefits Of Using An Elliptical Machine

Now we’ve established that making use of the elliptical machine is a great way of engaging your gluteus muscles, let’s look at some other benefits you can enjoy from a regular elliptical workout.  

The elliptical machine is known for its ability to torch calories efficiently helping with weight loss goals.

The combination of cardio and resistance training can result in high-calorie expenditure, making it a great option for those looking to shed excess weight.

What’s more, with the option to adjust resistance levels and incline, you can intensify your workouts to further increase calorie burn. 

As well as recruiting your lower body muscles, the elliptical is also a great tool for increasing lean muscle mass and developing strength in your upper body muscles.  

The moving handles of the elliptical engage the upper body, including the arm muscles, shoulders, and back, while the lower body pedals activate the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

Working different parts of the body allows for a balanced and effective fitness routine that promotes overall strength and muscular endurance across your entire body.  

The elliptical machine is well-suited for interval training.  

A hiit workout (high intensity interval training) is a form of exercise that alternates between short bursts of high-intensity effort and longer periods of moderate effort for recovery.  

The adjustable resistance and different incline settings mean you can easily customize the intervals, making it an ideal tool for boosting cardiovascular fitness, burning fat, and improving endurance.

Incorporating intervals into your elliptical workouts can elevate your fitness level and maximize calorie burn in less time.

One of the biggest advantages of the elliptical machine is its low-impact nature.

When compared to other forms of aerobic exercises, like running or jumping, which can place stress on the joints and muscles, the elliptical provides a smooth motion that minimizes that impact.

This low-impact option makes it especially suitable for people with joint pain, arthritis, or for those recovering from injury, allowing them to engage in effective cardiovascular exercise without exacerbating pre-existing issues.

​How Does The Elliptical Compare To Other Cardio Machines

There’s no question that when done with proper form, the elliptical offers an amazing workout for building muscle and strength in the glutes.  

But how does it compare against other popular cardio machines for its glute-building capabilities?

Let’s take a look. 

The elliptical and rowing machine offer different approaches to cardio fitness.

While the elliptical provides a standing workout that simulates walking or running with a focus on lower body muscles including the glutes, especially when using a higher incline setting, the rowing machine involves a seated workout that primarily targets the back, arms, and legs. 

Rowing engages different muscle groups in the posterior chain but recruits the glutes a little differently, through the motion of extending the legs to push off.

The elliptical allows for continuous glute engagement throughout a circular motion, especially beneficial for those looking to specifically enhance glute strength and endurance in a weight-bearing capacity.

A treadmill workout has always been a popular choice due to its simplicity and training versatility.

Unlike the elliptical, which provides a low-impact workout by keeping your feet on the pedals, when you run or walk on a treadmill this involves direct impact with the surface, which can be harder on the joints. 

When it comes to glute involvement, the elliptical can be a bit more targeted through its ability to adjust incline levels, mimicking uphill movements that require the glutes to work harder.

However, while treadmill incline adjustments will also work your glutes, the elliptical’s unique smooth motion provides a different pattern of muscle activation that may be more beneficial if you’re looking to build a bigger butt.  

The stair climber (or stair stepper) is designed to imitate the action of climbing stairs, providing a high-intensity workout that heavily targets the lower body, including the glutes.

While both machines are effective for engaging the glutes, the stair climber demands continuous lifting of your body against gravity, which makes for a much harder workout.  

The elliptical, with its gliding motion, allows for glute engagement but in a less intense and more sustained manner.

If you’re looking for a more varied workout for the glutes, the elliptical provides an effective alternative with the added bonus of upper-body engagement.

The stationary bike focuses primarily on the lower body, especially your quads, hamstrings, and calves, with less natural engagement of the glutes compared to the elliptical machine.  

This is because when you cycle in a seated position your body weight is supported by the seat.  

The standing position adopted when using a cross trainer requires your glutes to be actively engaged to complete the workout.  

Final Thoughts

While most people are aware of the elliptical’s benefits for burning calories for fat loss and increasing heart rate for improving cardiovascular endurance, some may not realize its potential for developing and strengthening the glutes. 

By incorporating glute-focused workouts on the elliptical you can maximize these benefits whether you’re aiming to lose weight, build muscle, or simply maintain overall health making the elliptical machine a valuable addition to your workouts.  

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