Does Elliptical Tone Glutes?

When it comes to leg day. There’s two muscles that get the most attention – quads and hamstrings, people often neglect the glutes. The glutes are part of your posterior chain connect your core to the lower body. Strong glutes play a key role in your posture when walking, standing or sitting.

While most of the glute work is made in the weight room don’t forget to compliment your lifting routine with cardio. While Cardio work boosts your heart rate and burns fat, you can fully engage your lower body using particular cardio movements. If you’re looking to build a better booty, look for cardio exercises that activate the lower body and add resistance at the same time.

Enter the Elliptical benefitting glutes. You can spend more time doing clute centric exercises, but these isolation exercises aren’t as effective as elliptical training. This movement not only focuses on the glutes but also recruits the hamstrings, calves and quads.

But does the elliptical tone your glutes? The elliptical tones your glutes because the machine specifically targets the lower body. When you apply pressure downwards on the pedal it engages the glutes and hamstrings. Performing this on a consistent basis will tone and tighten the muscles.

Lets dive into What does hopping on the best cross trainers do to tone your glutes?

does elliptical tone glutes?

Does Elliptical Work Glutes

The elliptical machine works your glutes because the gluteus maximus is involved in any movement where you move your legs away from your body. This includes hip movement, abduction, adduction or rotation. On the elliptical your glutes are activated when you straighten the leg then move it backwards behind you. 

Elliptical Benefits Glutes

The benefits that the elliptical provides glutes is clear, but how do it compare to other cardio equipment?

Cardio Machine comparison

Compared to other cardio equipment, the cross trainer ranks high in terms of toning the buttocks.

A study in 2007 at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Nebraska ranked cardio machines in glute activation. Here were the results:

The Machine

Percentage of Glute Muscles Activated*

Treadmill (jogging) 




Treadmill (walking) 




Recumbent Bike


*Refers to gluteus maximus, the largest of the three glute muscles

Although coming in 2nd to the treadmill the elliptical exercise is favoured for most, due to its low impact movement.

Elliptical Vs Treadmill

Generally speaking, running, jogging or walking on solid ground gives the glutes the most effective workout. This is because ellipticals provide motion assistance when pushing down and back.

Will Elliptical Tone Legs?

Ellipticals offer a great low impact workout that is suitable for a variety of levels of fitness. Most are equipped with moving handles that let you move your arms and legs. You can pump your arms in unison with your legs and the upper body starts to activate as well as the quads, glutes and hamstrings. Not only this but while you rotate the both your core is braced working your abdominals.

The versatility of the elliptical allows you to tone and work different muscles in the legs. Pedalling in reverse works your hamstring and calves while forward does quads and glutes, you can vary your workouts to get a good balance of both motions.

Does Elliptical Tone Buttocks?

Although the treadmill is more superior for the buttocks, ellipticals have similar mechanics to a treadmill in that both pieces of equipment offer a solid aerobic glute workout. Ellipticals do have advantages over the treadmill depending on your preferences.

When you run on a treadmill your foot leaves the machine platform, constantly pounding on the surface. Whereas an elliptical machine, both feet remain on the machine at all times as you pedal. This oval like motion means less impact on your joints and lower back. This load can be greater by 2.5 times when you run or walk. Over time, this increased load can result in injury.

Better thighs and backside are achievable when using an elliptical. It’s important to know that you cannot spot reduce body fat. But what you can do is increase overall calorie usage to burn fat.

Underneath the body fat, sits your toned buttocks and legs, you can certainly utilise the resistance of the elliptical by adjusting the incline to target the glutes. But the goal here is to reduce body fat as a whole.

As you exercise, your body uses calories as energy which are stored from carbohydrates or fat. To burn calories, you can either reduce calorie intake through diet, increase physical exercise or do both! Calories burned using a cross trainer varies depending on your bodyweight.

If you are heavier, the more calories you require to exert energy. A person that weight 185lbs will burn 400 calories in 30 minutes on a cross trainer, whereas a 125lb person will burn 270 calories at the same work rate.

Elliptical for Bigger Glutes

does elliptical tone glutes?

How Do You Grow Glutes on Elliptical?

Although the cross trainer is a great overall body workout, it’s important to add elements of resistance training into your workout routine. To build and tone your buttocks aim to work them specifically at least twice a week. There are many ways in which you can perform resistance type exercises, including barbell, dumbbell or even your own bodyweight. 

Below is a workout from breaking muscle designed to offer both elliptical training and resistance training to target the glutes specifically.

Elliptical for Glutes Workout

This elliptical for glutes workout uses ONLY your bodyweight, mixing it up with elliptical training at varying intensities to push your cardiovascular system and muscles to their max. With just 20-30 minutes of training, you’ll hit your glutes like a boss!


Low-intensity, moderate speed elliptical – 5 minutes


Maximum incline, low-intensity (45% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Bodyweight Squats – 10x

Maximum incline, mid-intensity (55% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Bodyweight Walking Lunges – 10x (per side)

Maximum incline, mid-intensity (65% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes


Jump Squats – 10x

Switch Lunges – 10x

Maximum incline, upper-mid-intensity (75% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Crouch Walk on the elliptical – 30 to 60 seconds

Normal incline, mid-intensity (60% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Normal incline, high-intensity (95% MaxHR) elliptical – 60 seconds

Cool Down

Normal incline, low-intensity (50% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Glute Bridges – 30 to 60 seconds

Bridge Holds – 30 to 60 seconds

Elliptical Workouts for Glutes with Weights

Use weights to increase the difficulty of the elliptical glute workout. The elliptical training portion of the workout will be like the “cool down” between sets of weights, but the non-stop moving will enhance your muscular endurance while the weight training targets muscular power and strength.


Low-intensity, moderate speed elliptical – 5 minutes

Heavy Weights 

25% incline, low-intensity (45% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Squats – 10x

50% incline, mid-intensity (55% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Reverse Lunges – 10x (per side)

75% incline, mid-intensity (60% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlifts – 10x

Lateral Lunges – 10x

Normal incline, high-intensity (95% MaxHR) elliptical – 60 seconds

Bulgarian Split Squats – 10x

Endurance Work

Maximum incline, mid-intensity (60% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Barbell Hip Thrusts – 10x

Weighted Glute Bridges – 30 to 60 seconds

Cool Down

Normal incline, low-intensity (55% MaxHR) elliptical – 3 minutes

Things to consider when working out on an elliptical

  1. Warm up first with a slow pace for 5 minutes to loosen your joints and get the blood flowing.
  2. Increase the resistance to a level that you’re comfortable with and keeping adding extra resistance or time each week for progression
  3. Vary the incline for a more glute focussed workout, when you increase the incline to the highest setting the glutes and calves have the highest amount of resistance.
  4. Maintain solid form and keep your foot flat on the platform. Push through your heels contracting the glutes while standing tall.
  5. Be consistent – this is perhaps the most important part of any workout. You will see improvements in your glutes the more you work them – stick with it!

Elliptical Glutes Before and After

The key to toning and using the elliptical for glutes and buttocks is through overall fat loss. Using an elliptical is one of the best options for an overall calorie burn. With a consistent increase in resistance and incline you will see progression in your fat loss journey.

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An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!