Specific Muscle Targeted
The lower body muscles targeted with elliptical training are the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and anterior tibialis. The glutes are the butt muscles and the hamstrings are found right below them. Both of these muscles get activated with hip extension. This takes place when your thigh moves backward during the gliding motion. The quadriceps are on the front side of the thighs and they get worked when your knee extends your lower leg. This takes place when your leg is moving forward. The calves are on the back part of the lower legs and the tibialis anterior runs down the front of the shins. Both of these muscle groups contract throughout an elliptical workout to stabilize the lower legs. The rectus abdominis and obliques are core muscles that contract to keep the body balanced and in proper alignment.
The upper body muscles that get targeted are the latissimus dorsi, or "lats," pectorals, triceps and biceps. The lats are the muscles that form a "V" shape on your back, and they get worked every time you pull the handles toward your body. This is also the motion that recruits the biceps. The triceps, which are on the back of the upper arms, get worked in unison with the pectorals as you push the handles forward. The "pecs" are the chest muscles.