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Does Elliptical Work Abs?

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

By now there’s no denying the need for cardiovascular exercise and the many benefits that go along with it. We know the elliptical training will burn lots of calories, strengthen our heart muscle, help us breathe easier, give us more energy, and even give us a mood boost. However, many people don’t know what muscles are toned by an elliptical. But does elliptical work abs?

In this article, we are going to tell you if elliptical work abs and how to work your abs on an elliptical machine.

A woman at the gym wondering "does elliptical work abs?"
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What Are Abs?

There are three layers of the abdominal wall. The inside muscles are the external oblique, the internal oblique, and the transverse abdominal. These core muscles extend from the lower ribs all the way to the pubis of the hip bone. All of their fibers merged towards the midline and surround the rectus abdominis. Rectus abdominis muscles are flat and long.

One of the things to remember about abs and working out is that abs are your entire core. They’re part of a larger structure. So, anything that involves stabilization is working your abs as long as the entire rest of your core.

A representation of the muscles of the trunk to illustrate how elliptical work abs
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Does Elliptical Work Abs? 

In a study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, researchers at San Diego State University set out to discover the most efficient exercises for toned abdominals. The most successful moves for the midsection required no equipment. 

The best exercise for building abdominal muscle is resistance training. When you fatigue muscles through strength training, the muscle adapts to the resistance, which helps it get stronger and bear even more weight.

A low-impact elliptical machine is not the best for muscle building. You can work your abs muscles on the elliptical but you can’t build muscle mass. This cardio exercise doesn’t target the core muscles directly but it helps burn calories, which is needed to lose body fat.

How to Work Abs on the Elliptical

Now one of the best ways to work abs on an elliptical machine is to do the following things.

1. Don’t Use the Handles For Balance

First of all, you’re stabilizing through the trunk while you have an external movement going on with one of your limbs. That’s true of any kind of exercise. So, let go of the elliptical and move without the handles. Vary your resistance and your pace while keeping yourself stable through your torso. That’s going to be an excellent core exercise.

So, what you want to remember is while you’re on the elliptical machine keep your upper body or your eye line level and then vary how much resistance your legs are working through the movement. 

2. Adjust Incline and Resistance

You should also consider how fast you’re going. The faster your legs are moving on the elliptical and the more stabilization or steady eye line you’re maintaining, the more you’re driving from your core to maintain that. 

3. Keep Your Torso Level

To drive from your core or to keep your torso level, what you want to remember is to keep your rib cage engaged. Keep your diaphragm tight like you just did a full exhale. And keep your thighs steady. So, you’re going to maintain that steady eye line. Keep your legs pumping as fast as you can and vary the resistance. You will have gotten an excellent core workout.

A woman doing exercises after finding how elliptical work abs
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Elliptical Workout to Work Abs 

Pick an elliptical that has moving handles and adjust your resistance level. If you use an elliptical with an incline, adjust it in the range of 4-8.

Use forward pedal motion and perform a warm-up for 3 minutes at an easy pace with a 3rd level of resistance. Keep a steady pace.

  1. Move for 5 minutes at moderate intensity with a 5th level of resistance keeping your hands on the handles;
  2. Move for 5 minutes at moderate intensity with an 8th level of resistance keeping your hands on the handles;
  3. Move for 5 minutes at moderate intensity with a 5th level of resistance without using the handles.

Repeat this set one more time. Then finish your elliptical entire workout with a 5-minute cooldown at an easy pace. 

The Best Way To Work Abs

There are several types of exercises for your abs that are effective such as the Bicycle Maneuver, Captain’s Chair, and Reverse Crunch, according to the American Council on Exercise. For the best results, do abdominal exercises for 5 minutes a day to improve your posture, alleviate lower back pain, and strengthen your core.

Someone at the gym wondering how does elliptical work abs
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Does Elliptical Work Abs: FAQs

What muscles are toned by an elliptical?

The elliptical cardiovascular machine tones the abdominal muscles. The major muscle groups such as glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves work as well as your upper body muscles including the shoulders, biceps, and triceps. If you rotate your torso side to side a little bit on the elliptical, your obliques will also work.

What cardio is best for abs?

The elliptical is one of the best cardio exercises to tone the abs. It’s a total-body exercise so you can work the other muscles as well.

The American Heart Association reports that to gain the most health benefits for your heart, lungs, and circulation, you should perform 30 minutes of moderate to vigorously intense aerobic activity most days of the week.

The most beneficial aerobic exercises are brisk walking, jogging, running, and rowing – all moves that are emulated on an elliptical exercise. 

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that healthy adults under the age of 65 also need to do 8-10 strength-training exercises twice a week.

Is the elliptical good for belly fat?

The primary purpose of using an elliptical machine is to burn calories and get an entire body workout, also known as an aerobic workout. An elliptical endurance exercise engages large muscles in the arms, legs, and belly and helps the heart work more efficiently while exercising and at rest.

This cardio activity increases your fitness level and helps lose belly fat and prevents heart disease. Regular aerobic activity also controls cholesterol levels in the blood and can prevent the onset of diabetes and obesity. 

Can you get toned from an elliptical?

An elliptical trainer provides an effective workout that increases your heart rate and strengthens the heart muscle. The advantages of elliptical cardio machines include toning major muscle groups and preventing impact on your knees, hips, and back. Further, ellipticals with moving arms exercise the upper and lower body at the same time.

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