Does Elliptical Build Glutes? 


The elliptical machine is a popular piece of cardio equipment found in most gyms. It is a low-impact exercise that mimics the motion of walking or running, without the high impact on joints. Building glutes is an important part of overall fitness and health, and many people wonder if the elliptical machine is an effective tool for this purpose. In this article, we will examine the effectiveness of the elliptical machine for building glutes.

Understanding the Glute Muscles

The glute muscles are a group of three muscles that make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body and is responsible for hip extension, external rotation, and abduction. The gluteus medius and minimus assist in hip abduction, internal rotation, and external rotation.

Building and strengthening the glutes is important for posture, stability, and athletic performance. Strong glutes also help to prevent injury and improve movement mechanics.

How Does the Elliptical Work the Glutes?

The elliptical machine works by simulating the motion of walking or running while reducing the impact on joints. The elliptical machine engages the glutes by using a pushing motion against the pedals, activating the gluteus maximus muscle. The intensity of the workout on the elliptical can be increased by adjusting the resistance and incline settings.

Does the Elliptical Make the Buttocks Bigger?

When it comes to targeting glutes, the elliptical can be an effective option for beginners or women returning to working out after an injury. By adjusting the resistance and incline settings, you can increase the workload on your glutes and challenge them in different ways. Additionally, the elliptical’s low-impact nature makes it a great option for those who may have joint issues or injuries that prevent them from doing higher-impact exercises like running.

However, it’s important to note that the elliptical primarily targets the gluteus maximus, with less emphasis on the gluteus medius and minimus. To fully target all three muscles in the buttocks, it’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises into your workout routine.

Tips for Maximizing Glute Activation on the Elliptical

Proper form and posture on the elliptical are essential to maximize glute activation. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Maintain proper posture: Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and core engaged while using the elliptical. Avoid slouching forward or leaning too far back, as this can reduce glute activation.
  2. Engage your glutes: To engage your glutes, focus on pushing down and back with your feet, rather than just pushing forward. This will activate your glutes and hamstrings more effectively.
  3. Increase resistance: Increasing the resistance on the elliptical can help to activate the glutes more effectively. However, it’s important not to increase the resistance too much, as this can lead to strain on the knees.
  4. Incorporate intervals: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a great way to maximize glute activation on the elliptical. Try incorporating short bursts of high-intensity activity into your workout to engage your glutes more effectively.

Comparing Elliptical and Other Exercises for Glute Building

While the elliptical machine can be a great way to build cardiovascular endurance and improve overall fitness, it may not be the most effective exercise for building glutes. Here are some comparisons between the elliptical and other exercises for glute building:

Elliptical vs. treadmill:

While both the elliptical and treadmill can provide a great cardiovascular workout, the elliptical may not be as effective for glute building as the treadmill. The treadmill requires more engagement of the glutes and hamstrings, as you are pushing off with each stride.

Elliptical vs. squats and lunges:

Squats and lunges are both great exercises for building glutes, as they require the significant engagement of the glutes and hamstrings. However, these exercises can be hard on the knees and may not be suitable for everyone.

Pros and cons of elliptical and squats/lunges

The elliptical is low-impact and easy on the joints, while squats and lunges may be more effective for building muscle.

It’s important to choose an exercise or machine that works for your body and fitness goals.

StairMaster vs. Elliptical for Glutes

Another machine that’s often compared to the elliptical for glute building is the StairMaster. Both machines provide a low-impact cardio workout while also engaging the glutes, but there are some key differences between the two when it comes to glute activation.

On the StairMaster, the glutes are engaged throughout the entire motion of climbing stairs. This constant engagement can lead to more activation of the gluteus medius and minimus, in addition to the gluteus maximus. Additionally, the StairMaster allows for more variation in movement patterns, which can further challenge the glutes.

However, the elliptical can be more effective for those who may have knee or ankle issues, as the StairMaster can put more strain on these joints. Additionally, the elliptical can provide a full-body workout, while the StairMaster primarily targets the lower body.

Ultimately, the choice between the elliptical and StairMaster for glute building will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Both machines can be effective when used correctly and incorporated into a well-rounded workout routine.


So, does the elliptical build glutes? The answer is yes, but with some caveats. While the elliptical primarily targets the gluteus maximus and can be a great low-impact option for cardio workouts, it’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises and machines to fully target all three muscles in the buttocks.

Incorporating resistance training and other exercises like squats and lunges can also help to target the glutes and build strength. So, while the elliptical can be a great tool for glute building, it should be used in conjunction with other exercises and machines for optimal results.