Do Ellipticals Burn Thighs?

Using an elliptical trainer helps strengthen your thighs.
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Enter virtually any gym and you're likely to see someone working out on an elliptical trainer. This common piece of exercise equipment provides an effective way to not only burn calories to help you lose fat, but also build the muscles in your thighs and other parts of your body.

Using an Elliptical Trainer

In addition to treadmills and stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers are staples of many gyms. They have control panels similar to treadmills, but instead of a belt on which to run, you stand on two pedal platforms and pump your feet. Many elliptical trainers have handles to pump as you move, while others have stationary handles to steady yourself. You can adjust the resistance of the pedals and handles to increase the workout's intensity.

Thigh Burn

One of the major muscle groups that elliptical trainers work is your quadriceps, which are found in your thighs. You'll often feel a burn in your thighs within just a few minutes of using an elliptical trainer, especially as you increase the resistance, and a more intense burn a day after the workout. Muscle pain during a workout is the result of lactic acid buildup, while the microscopic muscle tears that occur during the workout can result in delayed onset muscle soreness the following day. Using this type of exercise machine requires you to extend your knees, which is only possible by using your quads. Repeated use of the elliptical trainer will help you develop stronger quads.

Calories Burned

In addition to feeling a burn in your thighs during and after your elliptical trainer workout, this exercise also helps you burn calories at a rapid rate. A 125-pound person who uses an elliptical trainer for 30 minutes will burn about 270 calories, while those who weigh 155 and 185 pounds will burn 335 and 400 calories, respectively. An ideal perk to using an elliptical trainer is that many machines keep track of the calories you burn and display this information on their screens. If you use the elliptical trainer to burn fat, remember that while aerobic exercise helps you reduce fat, you can't specifically target the fat in one part of your body.


Stretching before exercise reduces the risk of straining your muscles. Dynamic stretching is ideal before working out, as this type of stretch targets your range of motion and even increases your blood flow and core temperature. Suitable dynamic stretches for an elliptical trainer workout include lunges, kicks and jumping rope. Always consult a doctor before attempting a new type of workout regimen.

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