Mini ellipticals can help you move more which means you engage a few body parts. Find out what muscles mini ellipticals work.
The main muscles worked with seated mini ellipticals include your hamstrings (back thigh muscles), quadriceps (front thigh muscles), calves, and foot extensors (shin muscles that raise your toes).
On top of the muscles above, standing mini ellipticals will also work your glutes (butt muscles), hip flexors (muscles that raise your thighs, and core (muscles around your waist).
An important thing to note is that mini ellipticals will typically not be challenging enough to actually grow these muscles.
If that is your goal, you want to turn to resistance training exercises like squats, lunges, and step-ups instead.
Mini ellipticals muscles worked
Even during cardiovascular workouts like using a mini elliptical, a variety of your muscles have to work to some extent to move your body parts.
Not all mini ellipticals are the same. There will be differences in what areas seated models work compared to standing models.
Seated mini ellipticals muscles worked
When using seated mini ellipticals, the main muscles you use are your hamstrings (back thighs) and quadriceps (front thighs).
The main function of the hamstring muscles when using this device is flexing/folding your knees by moving the lower legs.
To move your lower legs forward again, your quadricep muscles straighten your legs at the knees.
You can also say that seated mini ellipticals work your calves and foot extensors (shin muscles that raise your toes) work to a small extent.
The calf muscles help you flex your foot which means pushing down the front parts.
In a seated position, there is more focus on the soleus calf muscles (lower and deeper calf muscles) and less focus on the gastrocnemius calf muscles (the upper calves).
Foot extensor muscles like the extensor hallucis longus and the extensor digitorum longus along your front shins help raise the front parts of your feet.
Standing mini ellipticals muscles worked
Standing mini ellipticals still work the muscles above to some extent.
However, the focus turns a bit more toward the glutes (butt muscles) to move your thighs back, hip flexors to raise your thighs, and core muscles around your waist to keep your upper body straight.
That being said, your quadriceps and hamstrings will still have to work a good amount while using a standing mini elliptical.
Do mini ellipticals build muscle?
You may wonder if working muscles always mean actually making these bigger and stronger.
Unfortunately, mini ellipticals, especially the seated ones, are so easy on your muscles that you will likely not build any muscle.
Even just walking around could offer similar muscle engagement. If you already do this to some extent, your muscles should have adapted to this challenge already.
Since mini elliptical workouts are not really harder in this area, they will likely not help you build muscle.
At the same time, it is still worth mentioning that just engaging your muscles can offer benefits too.
More specifically, mini ellipticals can still help slow down muscle degradation and improve muscle endurance to small extents.
How to work your muscles harder with the mini elliptical
Something else that is worth noting is that there are ways to work your muscles harder with this device.
First of all, one of the benefits of mini ellipticals is that you can often adjust the resistance setting.
This makes it harder for your muscles to complete the rotations involved. In turn, you work these muscles just a bit more (but likely still not enough for growth).
Something else you could consider is wearing a weighted vest while using a standing mini elliptical. This puts more resistance on your muscles which means you engage them harder.
You do want to keep the weight capacity of your device in mind. This weighted vest modification will not always be possible.