An elliptical machine targets certain muscle groups, including the hamstrings, the gluteus maximus and quadriceps, according to Smooth Fitness and Health. The machine also targets core muscles to maintain posture and balance in the body. According to the Nest, these core muscles include the abdominal muscles and the external vastus lateralis muscles of the hip.
EllipticalMachines.net explains that the heart is a primary muscle that the machine targets because exercise on an elliptical machine is cardio-based. AZ Central also notes that an elliptical machine works the rectus femoris muscle, which is part of the quadriceps.
The Nest says that elliptical machines primarily engage the lower muscles of the body. Elliptical machines also give the option of focusing on the upper part of the body as compared to other machines. Pushing motions work the triceps and the pectoralis major, and the pulling motions also give attention to the biceps brachii of the arms. The pushing and pulling motions target the shoulder muscles, particularly the trapezius.
The Nest also states that calves are another targeted muscle group. If an elliptical machine is geared for reverse pedaling, the calves and hamstrings are given more focus throughout the workout. The gastrocnemius muscles of the rear calf are also worked. The fat-burning nature of the machine also makes muscle tissue more prominent throughout the body.