Elliptical trainers are effective fitness machines that have grown in popularity in recent years. These elliptical machines can give you an all-body workout without straining your joints, which broadens its appeal to those with knee problems. The largest muscle groups in your body are in your legs, and the elliptical trainer trains these muscles more than any other. You can adapt your elliptical workout to train specific leg muscles for targeted results.
Exercise to Strengthen Leg Muscle
Exercise at home with lateral elliptical is an excellent way to strengthen and tone the leg muscles. Most of the lower body workout results from knee extension and hip flexion during the elliptical motion. Hip flexion happens when you move your thigh backward during the elliptical workout. Knee flexion occurs when you move your leg behind your body and bend your knee during elliptical training. The quadriceps, which are the large muscles in front of the thigh, are worked during both knee flexion and hip extension. The glutes (or buttocks) are worked during hip flexion.
The hamstrings, located on the thighs’ back, are also performed by knee extension and hip flexion. The hip flexors run from the lower stomach down across the front of the hip. The hip flexors cause hip flexion and work when your thigh moves toward your stomach as you work the pedals on your elliptical trainer.
The calves are activated with a motion called plantar flexion. This takes place when your toes point downward. As you use an elliptical, you experience slight plantar flexion when you move your legs forward. Still, the bulk of activation comes from a stability standpoint—the calves contract to keep your lower legs stable as you move them forward and backward.
There are several adaptations you can make to your elliptical workout that can target specific leg muscles. Target the calf muscles – You can target your calf muscles by standing on your toes during your elliptical workout. It would be best if you were careful not to stay on your toes too long, especially when you start this routine, as it may lead to a calf cramp or seizing of the muscle. There is also the danger of developing muscle imbalance. Start slow and try not to stay on your toes for the entire duration of your workout.
Target the quadriceps – You can target the quadriceps by bending your knees and squatting during your workout. Hold the handles and squat as low as you can while still maintaining correct form. This is not only a way to target the quadriceps, but it’s also a gentle exercise for people with knee injuries since there is no impact but instead a smooth range of motion.
Target the hamstrings and glutes – You can target your hamstrings and glutes by leaning back and moving your weight onto your heels. Be careful not to hold this position too long, rely too far back on upon, or pull the arms too much.
A new or used elliptical is a great way to get a lower body workout. Making changes to your body position during your training will enable you to target the specific leg muscles you need to achieve your fitness goals.