Written by Tamara

Which muscle groups do I train on cardio equipment?

Cool! You want to purchase a fitness machine! The range of fitness equipment is quite extensive, though. Do you want a rowing machine, a treadmill, an elliptical, or maybe an exercise bike? There are several options on which you can base your choice. One of the options is by looking at which muscle groups you want to train. I'll happily explain which muscle groups you train with which fitness machines below.

In short

Exercise bike Elliptical Rowing machine Treadmill
Back muscles No Yes Yes Yes
Arm muscles No Yes Yes No
Chest muscles No No Yes No
Abdominal muscles Yes Yes Yes Yes
Glutes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Leg muscles Yes Yes Yes Yes

Exercise bike

Exercise bike muscle groups

On an exercise bike, you use your leg muscles and then mainly your thigh muscles. This is where you get the most power from. You also train your calves by putting pressure on the pedals. To keep your upper body balanced, you use your hip muscles and also very lightly use your lower abdominal muscles. An exercise bike is often used for recovery training after injuries.


Elliptical muscle groups

On an elliptical, you mainly use your legs. This can be done in 2 ways: forwards or backwards. Both options train your thigh muscles. When you pedal backwards, you train your glutes in addition to your leg muscles. You also train your abs with the movement you make on the elliptical. You also train your shoulder and arm muscles on an elliptical. You use force by moving the handles up and down.


Treadmill muscle groups

The treadmill is suitable for multiple types of training. You can run on it, but walking on a slope is also possible on a treadmill. When you land on your feet, you tighten your calf muscles, thigh muscles, and glutes. While walking, you also use your back muscles and your abs to stabilize your body.

Rowing machine

Rowing machine muscle groups

With a rowing machine, you train many muscles at the same time. You train your leg muscles, glutes, and hip muscles by pushing off. You then use your back, shoulder, and arm muscles to tighten the handles and strap. To maintain your balance, you also use your abs while rowing.

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