When it comes to Leg Day, there are two muscles that get most of the attention: your quads and your hamstrings. All those Squats, Lunges, and Deadlifts hit those two muscle groups effectively.
But what about your glutes? For many people (men, especially), the glutes are the less important muscles. After all, quads and hamstrings do most of the work of moving your legs, right?
Here's what glutes do: they connect your upper body and core to your lower body. Your glutes are part of the extensor muscles or posterior chain, the muscles that run along the posterior of your body. Strong glutes play a role in standing and sitting posture, as well as running and walking stride.
What's the best way to strengthen those glute muscles? The elliptical machine!
Sure, you could spend time doing Kickbacks, Donkey Kicks, and other glute-centric exercises. However, those isolation exercises aren't half as effective as elliptical training, which recruits the quads, calves, and hamstrings along with the glutes. This may sound anathema to some hardcore lifters and marathoners (who disdain the elliptical machine), but I cannot recommend you highly enough.
- Less joint impact. There's minimal impact on your knees, ankles, hips, and spine, meaning less risk of joint pain after an intense elliptical workout.
- Improve posture. The recruitment of your upper body muscles in the elliptical cross-training helps to improve your posture and form as you move. Even better, going hands-free will work on your balance and strengthen the muscles that play a role in keeping you upright, including your glutes.
- Target weaker muscles. Thanks to the adjustable angle of the elliptical machine, you can target the weaker secondary muscles in your legs—including your external hip muscles and glutes.
- Increase overall leg strength. The elliptical can target your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, or whatever part of your leg is weaker. It's an excellent option for correcting muscular deficiencies or imbalances.
- Maximize training effects. Using an elliptical training can help to increase your stride length, which burns more calories. However, the natural increase in your stride won't increase your perception of effort. This means you'll burn more calories, but you won't FEEL more tired.
As you can see, have a lot to offer the glute-minded trainee. You can build some serious lower body strength by mixing an elliptical workout into your weekly training plan.
Below, we've come up with two killer elliptical workouts that will target your glutes specifically, but will push your entire lower body to its limits. Follow the workouts to see serious results:
Elliptical and Bodyweight
This workout uses ONLY your bodyweight, mixing it up with elliptical training at varying intensities to push your cardiovascular system and muscles to their max. With just 20-30 minutes of training, you'll hit your glutes like a boss!
Elliptical and Weights
Use weights to increase the difficulty of the glute workout. The elliptical training portion of the workout will be like the "cool down" between sets of weights, but the non-stop moving will enhance your muscular endurance while the weight training targets muscular power and strength.
By the time you finish these workouts, you'll be sweating hard and feeling the burn in your legs. Thanks to the elliptical machine and a few simple bodyweight movements, you'll shred those glutes like a boss!