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Will an Elliptical Trainer Tone My Butt?

author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
Will an Elliptical Trainer Tone My Butt?
Elliptical trainers offer a full-body workout. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Your buttocks or gluteal muscles are one of the largest muscle groups in the body. A toned buttocks requires frequent exercise through muscle building and toning exercises that target the muscles from different angles. Exercise on an elliptical machine provides both cardiovascular- and muscle-building benefits that can tone your legs and buttocks.


An elliptical exercise machine is designed to mimic the motion of jogging on a treadmill without jogging’s high impact. To use an elliptical machine, you place one foot on each pedal, and move forward or backward to work the muscles and get the heart pumping. Elliptical machines can feature variations such as moving arms and incline or resistance adjustments to increase the intensity of your workouts. This also allows you to work your muscles, including your gluteals, in different ways.

Muscles Worked

A 2007 research study by Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital determined what percentage of the gluteal muscles were utilized for different cardiovascular exercises, according to “Women’s Health.” Exercising on an elliptical machine activates 32.6 percent of your gluteal muscles during exercise. This is higher than treadmill walking, exercising on a stair climber or riding a recumbent bicycle, but jogging on a treadmill was shown to activate more gluteal muscles.


Many elliptical machines offer adjustable resistance and incline settings that can change the gluteal muscles you activate, according to Popular Fitness. Throughout your exercise routine, you can increase resistance, which causes your gluteal muscles and legs to work harder to propel the elliptical pedals forward. Increasing the incline also causes your gluteal muscles to work harder to lift your legs upward.


While exercising on the elliptical will automatically work your glutes, one way to increase your gluteal muscle activation is to pull your hips slightly backward, according to "Women's Health." Your buttocks may feel as if it is sticking out, but this will help to activate the muscles. Push your heels down as much as possible in order to increase tension in the buttocks.


Elliptical trainers are beneficial because they can build muscle strength while improving cardiovascular function. If you have a back, knee or joint condition that causes pain when exercising, the elliptical machine’s low impact can reduce your joint pain. But there are drawbacks. Weight-bearing exercise helps to build strong bones, which can help prevent osteoporosis. You may wish to alternate elliptical exercise with impact activities such as walking or dancing that involve some impact.

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