How Elliptical Machines Work? Detailed Explanation By Experts For 2021

Do you want an excellent solution for your regular workouts that will be lower on the intensity and higher on impact? Start working out on the elliptical machines.

These machines are easy to set at the gym or home. The most important thing is that they are extremely easy to use and works excellently to burn calories and improve balance.

Workouts on the elliptical machines are all aerobatic exercises. They are similar to the cardio workouts like walking, running or biking. What matters most about these machines is how they target the body.

Training on the machine works both the upper and the lower body. Typically, it targets calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, tibialis and anterior.

Elliptical machines are among the most effective tools that work out the whole body and maintain the right balance.

Here we will highlight how the machine works keeping your core muscles busy and the body well-balanced and aligned.

How it works?

The cross trainer or elliptical trainer machine is often considered as the friendliest machine at a gymnasium.  It is essential to know how to use it before knowing the benefits.

You can see pedals on the machine, and you have to run/walk on it. A large number of users say the elliptical trainer machine is comfortable and convenient at the same time.


If you have a plan to purchase an elliptical trainer machine at your home, you shouldn’t go for the cheap elliptical machines available nowadays.

You should check the market before buying the product, and a quality elliptical machine costs about several hundred dollars nowadays. If you can invest a few hundred dollars, you can make a good deal.

Functions of elliptical machines

The cross trainer or elliptical trainer is very effective to put stress on your cardiovascular system. The heart gets stronger and it responds accordingly.

As per the guidelines from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an individual should practice 75-80 minutes of effective cardiovascular exercise and 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly.

Nowadays, you can purchase advanced machinery that supports heart rate monitoring features and personal trainer designed workouts.

  1. Cross-Training Ability: If you love to run or walk, but don’t have enough time or situation to explore the outdoors, then the elliptical machine is the best alternative. It naturally compliments cross training with movable handles that ensure low-impact running and walking as a brilliant indoor alternative.
  2. Non-Impact Conditioning: The design of these machines is ergonomic, which takes the load off your knees and back. Thus, you enjoy a perfect workout that conditions the target areas with low-impact. It is ideal if you want low-impact cross-training or recovering from an injury.
  3.  Reverse Stride: You can stride in reverse with most of these machines that also come with adjustable variety. It helps in activating varied groups of muscles that put more impact on the quads.
  4. Lower Perceived Exertion: Elliptical machines can burn same calorie amount with minimum effort. Many studies have revealed that people working out on these machines are actually working harder than they perceive.
  5.  Low pedal height feature: It is effortless to get on these machines and start working out because most of them have a low pedal height.
  6.  Quiet: You can listen to music or watch TV without increasing the volume to a high level while exercising on an elliptical. The reason is that these machines are very quiet as there is no motor.
  7.  Stable: Good quality elliptical machines ensure stable and solid endurance along with natural and smooth motion even during the toughest exercises.
  8. Stowable function: These machines are surprisingly space saving, unlike the treadmills. You can stow them between the workouts so that you can utilize the space as you want.

How Elliptical Machines Work

How Elliptical Machines Work With Our Body?

Benefits of Muscles  

The cross trainer or elliptical trainer stimulates your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quads. The users can adjust the ramp and change the difficulty level from time to time.

If you are willing to focus on the calf-exercise, you can set the ramp at a steeper angle.

Nowadays you can find the moving handlebars even in mid-range elliptical trainer machines, and this feature is effective for upper-body exercise as well.

Lose Your Weight 

The best thing about working on the elliptical machine is that you exercise your essential muscle groups and it results in losing weight.

A report published by Harvard Health Publications claimed a person weighing 185lbs can burn about 780-800 calories hourly.

If you work hard, you can reduce a significant weight within a shorter span of time.

Upper Body Parts Effect

Most of these machines come with a handle that moves with rhythm with pedals. You have to move your arms for pushing and pulling the handles, which engages the upper body. Constant rotation works toward making the upper body slim.


Chest: As you pull the handles of the machine it rhythmically impacts the chest. Constant repetition activates the chest muscles effectively.

  • Biceps: Pulling the handles also works on the bicep muscles. It continually intensifies and relaxes the biceps, which improves the muscle flexibility and strength.
  • Triceps: It works on the triceps exactly the opposite way as it works on the biceps. When you push the handles, it intensifies the triceps, and constant repetition makes the muscles strong.
  •  Back: Pulling the handles and pedaling constantly engages the back and lateral muscles of the body. This helps in improving the posture and balance effectively.
  • Upper body joints: Constant rhythmic movement of the upper body keeps the upper body joints like the neck, shoulder, elbow, and wrist flexible.

Lower Body Parts Effect

  • Belly fat: Exercising regularly on the elliptical machine can directly help to burn belly fat. The pedaling motion constantly stretches and contracts the belly that loosens the stubborn belly fat. Regular usage of the machine and proper diet can bring effective results in belly fat reduction.
  • Waist: These machines are now fitted with different endurance levels. If you choose a high level, you will receive an intense workout that will lose fat around the waist at a faster rate.
  • Lower abs: With constant practice, you can increase the speed and resistance on the machine. If you pull the abdominal muscles tight throughout the workout, the results will be excellent on the lower abs. However, you must ensure that you are doing the exercise in the right posture by keeping the body straight throughout.
  • Lower body joints: Constant rhythmic movement of the lower body keeps, the lower body joints like hip, knees, and ankles flexible.

How to Use an Elliptical Trainer Machine?

If you don’t have an idea on how to use it, we are going to describe the whole procedure in step by step manner. You can follow the tips to start working on a cross trainer or elliptical trainer.

Step 1 :  Stepping is the first step to use the elliptical trainer machine. If you are using it for the first time, be careful while stepping. The monitor will be in the front and pedals might start suddenly.

Maintain your balance, and if necessary, you can use the handlebars for additional support. Balance is important, and whenever you are about to start an elliptical exercise, you should maintain the balance.

Step 2 : Be careful while you are on the elliptical machine, now you have to start pedaling to turn it on.

You can see the monitor on the front, and you would have to turn it on. Press on the start button to start using it.

Step 3 : Begin pedaling at a slow speed. Your arms will be swinging along with the handles. When your left foot goes downward, you should pull the right handle.

Once you start pedaling, you will understand the rhythm, and you have to follow it. It might sound odd, but the process is very simple.

Step 4 : It is recommended not to lock your knees during pedaling. The exercise is almost similar to bike riding, and the only difference is there is no seat.

Step 5 : Resistance is an essential factor for an elliptical machine.  We’re not recommending maintaining an unbelievable speed; however, it is necessary to keep a steady pace during the exercise.

Step 6 : The best thing about the elliptical machine is that the pedals move backward and you can add variety to your exercise.

You will not get bored, and such exercise can enhance your muscles which are not possible with regular outdoor activities.

Step 7 : Stand straight while working on the elliptical machine; it will be easier for you. Many people get busy with their smartphones while working out. It affects your health and body.

We suggest focusing on the exercise rather than anything else. Some people can manage two things at a time, and we are not asking them to stop it.


The discussion mentioned above will help you to know almost everything about the workings of the elliptical machine, and we hope the readers can do proper planning to visit gym easily.

Team Chooserly

A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!

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