Why Does the Elliptical Hurt My Thighs?

The elliptical trainer is considered to be a great exercise machine that helps with a full-body workout. But does it hurt the thighs during a workout? Thigh pain while doing elliptical exercise means you have a muscle strain or tear. This type of pain arises at the front of the thighs, at the back, or in your hamstrings. 

If you experience sore thighs after using an elliptical trainer, you are working out too hard. Even injury around your thighs can cause pain after elliptical trainer exercise. 

As soon as the pain starts, pay close attention to it. Try to understand how severe the pain is, what triggers it, and how long it lasts. Also, analyze whether your pain is normal or requires professional assistance. 

But if you are properly working out or do not have any injury, the chances of you experiencing pain around your thighs are very less. 

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Types of Thigh/Leg Pain From Elliptical Trainer 

If done correctly, elliptical trainer exercises can strengthen your entire body. But thigh pain from an elliptical trainer is also a real thing. The type of thigh pain you experience can depend on how you are exercising. 

We have listed common thigh pain that one can experience from the elliptical trainer: 

Down in the DOMS 

Anyone who has recently started using an elliptical trainer might experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) in their thighs. 

The thigh pain will be significantly less if you have done some type of cardio. Also, thigh pain will be less if you have recently increased your resistance speed. 

During elliptical trainer exercise, thigh muscle soreness is the most in your quads because they work the hardest. If the thigh pain and soreness are due to DOMS, it’s likely to go away in 24 to 48 hours. Also, the pain will not last longer than a week. 

why does the elliptical hurt my thighs

Gain with Less Pain 

Are you one of those people who are unsatisfied with the workout until they experience some pain? If yes, you will like the thigh pain. But if you don’t want to experience pain during a workout, warm up with low-intensity exercises for a couple of minutes. 

If you have recently started exercising, gradually add time and resistance, allowing your muscles to adapt to the change. Also, split your time for the first few sessions while changing between cardio machines. 

It’s advised to give some rest to your body to lower the intensity and resistance. You can try stretching quads and hamstrings after a workout to decrease the pain.

Straining and Tearing 

Thigh pain while doing elliptical exercise means you have got a muscle strain or tear. This type of pain arises at the front of the thighs, at the back, or in your hamstrings. 

If the pain worsens, it is accompanied by a “popping” feeling in the muscle. When it happens, you must stop exercising and get appropriate medical attention. 

Until the time you don’t get medical assistance, stop yourself from using ellipses. Also, you should limit other activities. Instead, you can practice rest, ice, compression, and elevation around the sore area. 

Danger Signals 

While using an elliptical trainer, if you experience pain that goes from your buttocks and hip to the back of your thigh, it means you have got a back injury. 

At certain times, DOMS causes pain and swelling. But if the pain gets severe, do not take it lightly. That’s because severe pain indicates your condition is more serious than it appears. It’s advised to immediately consult a physician. 

In extreme cases, weakness and muscle pain are accompanied by dark urine. While it’s rare, it can happen. If you are experiencing something similar, get to the hospital immediately because you have over-exerted yourself. 

Benefits of Elliptical Trainer Machine 

An elliptical trainer is a wonderful exercise machine that can help you tone your body. The low-impact and high-intensity workout can exercise your core, lower, and upper body muscles. 

Regularly performing an elliptical exercise can improve your overall fitness level. In addition, it reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases. 

Is Elliptical Good for Building Leg Muscle?

You can easily adjust the incline and resistance of the elliptical foot pedal. It helps in targeting different muscles present in your lower body, including calves, glutes, and hamstring. 

By increasing the incline, you can make your lower body feel better. So, it can be said that the elliptical helps in building leg muscle

Benefits of Elliptical Trainer for Legs

Elliptical trainers are beneficial for the legs in many ways. First, they provide a low-impact workout, which makes them ideal for people who want to avoid wear and tear. In addition, elliptical trainers also help in toning legs and improving muscle definition. 

Why Do My Thighs Hurt After Elliptical 

Elliptical trainers majorly work a muscle group called the quadriceps, which is present in your thighs. After using the elliptical for a few minutes, you can feel the burn in your thighs. The more resistance you increase, the more burn you will feel after a workout. 

But why does muscle pain? Well, it happens because lactic acid is built up during the workout. It can cause DOMS, but the pain is mostly minor. 

Elliptical training requires you to extend your knees, which you can do by using your quads. You can have stronger quads by repeatedly performing this exercise. 

Consideration While Using Elliptical Trainner 

If you don’t want to feel pain while using an elliptical trainer, stretch for a couple of minutes. It reduces the risk of muscle straining and targets the range of motion. In addition, it can increase your blood flow and core temperature. 

Kicks, lunges, and jumping rope are common dynamic stretches for an elliptical trainer workout. 


Elliptical trainers are beneficial for toning thighs. But it can also cause thigh soreness because lactic acid is built up during the workout. 

Thigh pain from elliptical trainers is mostly minor, but you must consult a doctor if the problem worsens. Stop performing exercise till you feel better. 

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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!

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