With what muscles do the elliptical machine work going backwards?
The elliptical moves and supports your body in a smooth, easy to control motion.
Your body stays in that same position of support for many areas, even though you are moving away from it.
This motion is the result of the motor behind the elliptical machine pushing against your legs and pelvis to get you to move in the direction of the magnetic field that the machine is providing.
How can this be done?
There are two muscles in the pelvis that move when you raise your legs in walking, stepping, and running.
The muscle you are exercising is the gluteus max. It is the large muscle at the bottom of your hips.
You can see it by looking down at your body in the mirror while walking or running.
If you notice the top of your torso or the back of your pelvis moving, that is the gluteus max moving!
The other muscle, your quadriceps, is what moves your legs forward in walking or running.
The quadriceps muscle is not working against the gluteus max because it has been trained not to move.
When you increase the resistance, the quadriceps makes the movement and now you are working against the resistance instead of the muscle.
Let’s look at an exercise that will help you understand this better
The forward lunge has you balancing on both the up leg and the down leg while keeping your arms straight and your back leg on the floor.
What muscles does the elliptical machine work in this situation?
What happens if you lift your arms straight out in front of you with your shoulders and arms bent over?
You have to try to keep them close to your body so that they can help support your lower back when you push off with your down leg forward.
What happens when you lift your arms out in front of you without lifting your shoulder?
You can still push off with your leg forward but you won’t be doing it very efficiently. It would be like lifting your arm and pushing off with it behind you.
What is the elliptical machine intended to do for you though?
It is supposed to help you increase your efficiency at all levels of the fitness game by helping you get a better workout from any workout.
You will find that as your muscle strength increases, you can lift more weight and use more muscles.
The back leg will no longer be needed to support your upper body, and the front leg can become stronger to help you push off with your forward leg more efficiently.
One of the best exercises for this new concept is the up leg back extension.
You do this by laying on the floor with your knees bent and arms behind your head. Place your up leg in the up position and grab the end of the bar in front of you with your forearms and upper legs.
You are now in a fully extended backward bend. Your forearms should be on the floor with your hands on the sides of your head, and your upper legs should be in a fully straight position.
Next, you will want to lower yourself to the starting position.
Lower yourself until you can easily keep your forearms on the floor behind you.
As you are lowering yourself back down, grab the end of the bar again, but this time, grab it with your leg back in the up position. You should now be in a fully contracted up position.
This exercise is known as the leg raise, and it is another excellent exercise for strengthening your back and hamstrings.