Muscles used on a Cross Trainer

Muscles used on a Cross Trainer

elliptical cross trainer

Cross trainers is a low impact exercise machine that provide a cardiovascular workout while also hitting many muscle groups. Machine design varies from one manufacturer to the other, but the principles behind these trainers are usually similar. Most cross trainers use the elliptical foot action combined with the back-and-forth arm action, so the upper and lower body can work simultaneously.

In addition, the elliptical trainer has a great advantage: you can vary the movements and thus target the weaker muscles or those you want to work precisely. Find out which muscles you want to work out on the cross trainer and discover exercises that will allow you to effectively target the parts of the body you want to build.

1. Which muscles are used on an elliptical cross trainer?


The muscles in your calf — gastrocnemius and soleus — perform plantarflexion. This movement occurs when you press through the ball of your foot against the pedals of the elliptical cross trainer. When performed at an incline, your plantarflexors have to work harder.


The muscles on the front of your thigh — your quadriceps — support your weight by controlling the joint of your knee. They provide downward thrust to help push the pedals. On the back of your thigh, your hamstrings contract to drive the pedals backward, this movement is called hip extension. Together, these muscles demand a lot of oxygen and are largely responsible for your elevated heart and breathing rate when using an elliptical trainer.

Gluteus Maximus

sexy butt ass buttock

The gluteus maximus is also your butt, the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body and your main hip extensor. Working with your hamstrings, your gluteus help push the pedals backward when you use the cross trainer. The bigger the step you take, the greater the movement at your hip will be and the harder the muscle must work.

Upper Body

Most elliptical cross trainers involve a push-pull upper body movement, if you prefer to focus your efforts on your lower body, it’s acceptable not to use arms when using a cross trainer. Pushing the handlebars forward works your pectoralis major, anterior deltoids and triceps — the same muscles that used when are you doing push-ups. As you pull the handles back again, your latissimus dorsi, biceps, middle trapezius and rhomboids are the main muscles doing the work — the same muscles used in seated cable row.

Core Muscles

Your core muscles include rectus abdominis, obliques and erector spinae — essentially the muscles of mid-section of your body. As your arms and legs work hard, your core muscles work to keep your spine stable and properly aligned. If you release the handles and do not hold onto the support rails, your core muscles must work harder.

2. Exercises and workout plans of cross trainer to build 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 strengthen your triceps, which are the muscles located under your arms, or do a HIIT workout during which you will hold the stationary handles 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 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).

What training can 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, cause your muscles are developing during the recovery actually!

Here are two workout plans for elliptical machine to lose weight: Plan A (Goal: 0,5kg / month) and Plan B (Goal: 1kg / month):

Workout Plan A

  • Cardio Workout on Tuesday (30 min)
  • HIIT Workout on Thursday (20 min)
  • Cardio Workout on Sunday (45 min)
Workout Plan B
  • Cardio Workout on Monday (30 to 45 min)
  • HIIT Workout on Tuesday and Thursday (25 min)
  • Cardio Workout on Saturday (45 to 60 min)

Elliptical trainer is an ideal sport tool to strengthen your legs musclesto firm up your thighs and buttocks, to tone your arms and to work your back and pecs. 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 trainer remains a 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 you don’t need to worry about it at all, your thighs and legs won’t get bigger, unless you push the resistance to the maximum and train yourself several hours a day!

3. How long does it take to see a result?

As is 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 a month, your training seems easier and less demanding, which means that you have made progress and that your body is adapting with the training. 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 pulling and pushing the handlebars with your arms actively).

If you continue to practice regularly, you will fully see the effects of the elliptical trainer on your body after 3 months. Your body fat percentage will decrease and your muscle mass will increase. Your body will become 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.

4. Conclusion

Last but not least, the elliptical cross trainer gives you beautiful muscles, because it is a soft and smooth equipment 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 cross trainer on your body and muscles as soon as possible!

References & Resources

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