The glutes are a grouping of three muscles -- gluteal maximus, medius and minimus -- that form your bodacious backside. Besides filling out your jeans, the main function of the glutes is to help move your hips. Normally, when people think of a perky behind, they envision endless hours logging squats and lunges. An elliptical machine, however, can provide a bounty of booty benefits while also working the upper body.
Types of Elliptical Machines
Elliptical machines offer a whole-body, low-impact cardiovascular workout, with a concentrated focus on the lower body. Many models feature resistance, incline and reverse peddling and stride length options. Compact, stationary elliptical machines range from affordable home-gym versions to the elaborate kinds found in health clubs. For the on-the-go exerciser, elliptical bicycles provide the same ease on your joints as their stationary kin, but with the versatility of a bicycle. Users stand and pedal the bicycle as they would a stationary elliptical. Both models provide the same cardio and gluteal benefits, resulting in a focus on the lower body. Whereas stationary versions will offer movable handlebars and reverse peddling, the bicycle elliptical does not.
Increasing Resistance and Incline
The secret to building a curvaceous gluteal region lies in the elliptical's resistance and incline settings. According Michigan Athletic Club fitness director Chris Johnson, writing for "Runner's World," the ability to adjust the resistance -- stimulating more muscle growth -- and the incline -- which works the rear leg muscles and the glutes -- makes an elliptical as effective as running, but without the impact. In addition, the added incline and resistance will plump the glutes without the need for additional exercises.
Full Body Slimming
In the May 2002 "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Journal," the University of Idaho published a study examining how lower limb muscles interacted with the elliptical machine. It found that, compared to walking, the elliptical engages more muscle groups, including the glutes. Because the user is able to increase the stride length, it also stimulates a natural run without stress on the joints, and burns more calories. Combine the upper body usage of the movable handlebars, and the elliptical machine has the potential to provide a whole-body slimming workout.
Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, Dr. Edward R. Laskowski, said the machines also have less impact on the joints than running on a treadmill. Because of the upper body movement combined on some models, it is possible to shape you midsection on some elliptical machines. To maximize your gluteal muscles while on the elliptical, push into your heels when you step and stick that bottom out, easing your hips back.
- Runners World; Ask the Experts; Chris Johnson
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: Lower Extremity Exercise During Elliptical Trainer Exercise
- MayoClinic.com: Elliptical Machines: Better than treadmills?
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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