Elliptical machines help strengthen the core muscles.
Elliptical machines are staples of the gym, and like treadmills, they provide an effective cardiovascular workout. Despite the ease of use, elliptical machines provide a total body workout and, though they don't specifically target your abs, they can engage your core muscles. If you have a history of injuries or chronic health conditions, consult your doctor before beginning a new workout program.
Your abdominal muscles, also known as your core, are essential to everyday activities like walking, sitting, standing, reaching, lifting and lying down. Your abs support your spine and help other large muscle groups such as your glutes and legs move and stabilize your body. Strengthening these muscles with activities such as elliptical training can make it easier to perform your regular activities.
Stand Up Straight
For the maximum benefit when working out on an elliptical, it is important to stand up straight. Focus on stabilizing your core muscles by pulling your abdominals in. Leaning over the elliptical or resting too much on the handles will cause your shoulders to slouch forward. Poor posture decreases the effectiveness of the workout for your abdominals and puts unnecessary strain on your back muscles. If it's difficult to use proper posture, decrease the resistance or slow your stride. Try to keep your hands by your sides, though is it is acceptable to hold onto the handles for balance. Look straight ahead to avoid straining your neck and back.
Resistance and Speed
Increasing the resistance and speed of your elliptical workouts will require more work from your core to keep your body balanced as you try to maintain proper form. Only increase the difficulty of your workout as your endurance increases so you continue to use correct form and posture. Remember to keep your abdominals pulled in tight throughout the workout.
While elliptical machines do work the abdominal muscles, they do not provide a comprehensive workout of these muscles. Adding strength training to your cardiovascular workouts will further strengthen each muscle group, including your abdominal muscles. Body weight exercises such as crunches and planks also strengthen the core. Weight machines also work effectively.