Elliptical trainers are the go-to machines for many people who want to improve their fitness, lose weight, or get a workout that minimizes the impact on their joints. You can definitely improve your stamina, but does the elliptical build muscle?
It can, especially if you use interval training or adjust resistance levels. However, for the best muscle building, pair your elliptical workouts with resistance training. Let ZOZOFIT break it down for you here.
Does the Elliptical Build Muscle? It Depends
Here are the details on why a “traditional” elliptical workout with a consistent level of resistance may not be enough for genuine muscle building, although it can be great for toning.
How Muscle Growth Occurs
Hypertrophy is the process of muscle growth and occurs with resistance or weight-bearing exercises. These exercises cause stretching and tearing in muscles. When muscle fibers heal the damage, the muscles get bigger and stronger.
While an elliptical can target specific muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings, and calves, it does not necessarily "damage" muscles or cause tears.
To build muscle, you must progressively increase resistance or weights over time. The resistance levels on ellipticals tend to be consistent rather than progressive, but you can use interval training or resistance level adjustments to build some muscle plus tone or condition. Even when you do this, though, your results are likely to be more comprehensive if you pair elliptical workouts with other types of resistance training.
For example, an elliptical’s range of motion is limited. Muscle-building exercises such as squats and bench presses offer more of an extensive range of motion. They engage several muscle groups at the same time.
How To Build Muscle While Using an Elliptical
Don’t despair if you love your elliptical workouts but want to focus on muscle growth. For one thing, you’ll definitely tone and condition various muscles on the elliptical.
Does the elliptical build muscle if you perform typical workouts, though? Using consistent levels of resistance isn't great for muscle building. For more substantial growth, try interval training, and track your progress using the ZOZOFIT app.
In interval training, you switch between high-intensity and low-intensity periods. You can increase and decrease resistance levels, incline levels, and the amount of power you expend using the machine. Here’s an example of a resistance interval workout.
- Walk at a moderate pace for five minutes (warmup).
- Boost the resistance to a level that’s challenging for you.
- Run at your maximum effort for 30 seconds.
- Reduce the resistance to a slow pace for one minute, letting you recover from the high intensity.
- Repeat these switches for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Pedal at low intensity for five minutes (cooldown).
You can do something similar with the incline level (adjusting that instead of resistance or in addition to it). However, only higher-end machines tend to have inclines.
For the best results if you want to build muscle, complement your elliptical workouts with resistance training such as weightlifting or bodyweight workouts. Including both cardio and strength training in your fitness routine offers an incredibly balanced approach.
Does the Elliptical Build Muscle? Track Your Progress
You must track your progress to find out if the elliptical does build muscle for you or if you need to change things up. Fortunately, the ZOZOFIT app features 3D scanning as well as monitoring of other body data that can provide you with insights into your body composition and help you achieve your fitness goals. Order your ZOZOSUIT and see how this cutting edge technology can help you track changes to your muscles today!