Best Cardio Machine to Build/Strengthen Leg and Butt Muscles?

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    Sep 23, 2009 1:48 AM GMT
    Which type of cardio machine works the best to strenghten/build leg and butt muscles (all leg muscles including calves)? Bike, Elliptical, Treadmill or Climber/Stepper? I'm really only considering bike and elliptical because they are lower impact than the others. Seems like bike might be the best since cyclists usually have such strong legs... and also since physical therapists always put people on bikes to strengthen their legs, though I just don't know. I understand that weight training (squats, lunges, etc.) is needed as well for building leg muscles... but I wanted to strenghten my legs as well while doing cardio on a machine.

    Thanks in advance for any and all info!
  • SwimNP

    Posts: 50

    Sep 23, 2009 2:30 AM GMT
    Those are all great machines for building legs. I use the bike, elliptical and stairmill to work the legs in a different way. The stairmill will give you great calf/thigh results (It's been discussed somewhere on here, something to do with the explosive action of the exercise). Don't forget to supplement any of those workouts with some form of hamstring exercise.

    Oooh yeah, if you want some more variety, grab a kick board and jump into the lap pool. Do a kick set of 1000-1500 yards/meters or so. Pretty good results there too.
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    Sep 23, 2009 2:39 AM GMT
    I just got back from working out my legs. They're getting pretty thick....
    I use an elliptical machine for cardio- I've tried the bike but the seat feels uncomfortable and I never felt much of a burn, unlike the elliptical. <----I feel it everywhere. I hate going in reverse.
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    Sep 23, 2009 2:41 AM GMT
    Thanks for the responses! Is the stairmill like a stepper machine? Or is that the one that's like an escalator with moving steps?
  • SwimNP

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    Sep 23, 2009 2:44 AM GMT
    It's an escalator with moving steps. At first I was scared of it because I felt like any moment I would just fall off. That's a pro and a con. Since it sets the step rate, there's no slowing down on your end.
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    Sep 23, 2009 2:47 AM GMT
    mach01 saidWhich type of cardio machine works the best to strenghten/build leg and butt muscles (all leg muscles including calves)? Bike, Elliptical, Treadmill or Climber/Stepper? I'm really only considering bike and elliptical because they are lower impact than the others. Seems like bike might be the best since cyclists usually have such strong legs... and also since physical therapists always put people on bikes to strengthen their legs, though I just don't know. I understand that weight training (squats, lunges, etc.) is needed as well for building leg muscles... but I wanted to strenghten my legs as well while doing cardio on a machine.

    Thanks in advance for any and all info!


    Stairs. Think on it for a moment, and you'll understand why. (There's up to 7 times more loading walking up than vertical.) You can notch the bike down but, you're likely not going to get as much gluteal involvement.
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    Sep 23, 2009 4:25 AM GMT
    I use the Ellipticals mostly, combined with glute isolator weight machines and squat machines. Overall the ellipticals are probably the best, well-rounded choice for cardio, but I had a friend who totally lost his butt after he was hospitalized in bed for a long time. He asked his doctors what to do about it and they told him to use the Stairmaster and to go up and down stairs was the best possible thing for regaining his butt. (He did do this and it helped, but he never did totally regain what he had lost in the hospital).
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    Sep 23, 2009 5:00 AM GMT
    The stairmaster is the better choice here. Mix it up. One session, do long duration but constant pace. On another session, set the speed a little higher till you gas out, use a slower speed to catch your breath, and bump the speed up again. Basically you're doing sprint-like intervals. Also, don't stomp on the steps with your entire foot. Take each step on the balls of your feet instead.

    I'm not a big fan of the elliptical. It's too low impact. It definitely gets your heart pumping, but your leg muscles don't really get much work.
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    Sep 23, 2009 5:25 AM GMT
    meh i just want to lose weight but not my ass. I like my ass and most guys (and girls) compliement my ass. Just don't want it to get any bigger lol.
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    Sep 23, 2009 8:54 AM GMT
    my goodness. what happened in the hospital? how long was he there?

    Neophoenician said(He did do this and it helped, but he never did totally regain what he had lost in the hospital).
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    Sep 23, 2009 9:05 AM GMT
    I have read about how the traditional stairmaster (very popular 15 years ago) gave many people repetitive motion-related injuries. Does the newer "stairmill" escalator-style machine with moving steps also pose the same risks? I suppose it would? I'm actually looking to purchase a machine for home use... I want something to use every day that won't hurt my body in the long run. I plan to supplement the daily morning cardio at home with a variety of other cardio exercise that I can do a few times a week at the gym.

    SwimRN saidIt's an escalator with moving steps. At first I was scared of it because I felt like any moment I would just fall off. That's a pro and a con. Since it sets the step rate, there's no slowing down on your end.
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    Sep 23, 2009 10:21 AM GMT
    I second/third stairmaster too that things are extreme cardio

    Some elipticals can be programed at different angles to hit your glutes or quads more
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    Sep 23, 2009 11:53 AM GMT
    SwimRN saidThose are all great machines for building legs. I use the bike, elliptical and stairmill to work the legs in a different way. The stairmill will give you great calf/thigh results (It's been discussed somewhere on here, something to do with the explosive action of the exercise). Don't forget to supplement any of those workouts with some form of hamstring exercise.

    Oooh yeah, if you want some more variety, grab a kick board and jump into the lap pool. Do a kick set of 1000-1500 yards/meters or so. Pretty good results there too.
    Yes in fact it was last month, I was asking advice on building my calves. I took the advice and have been using the stairmill. MAN DOES IT KICK YOUR ASS!!!
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    Sep 23, 2009 1:07 PM GMT
    MsclDrew saidI second/third stairmaster too that things are extreme cardio


    What do you mean by this?
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    Sep 23, 2009 1:24 PM GMT
    SwimRN saidIt's an escalator with moving steps. At first I was scared of it because I felt like any moment I would just fall off. That's a pro and a con. Since it sets the step rate, there's no slowing down on your end.


    This is my favorite cardio machine and there a bunch of things I do to mix it up. It takes a while to get used to the motion, but after a while, I started to do intervals by climbing up the stairs sideways and backwards. I use the speed interval setting for this and go forward during the faster speed and backwards/sideways during the slower speed. I got more definition in my outer quads from the sideways stepping.

    I also vary my forward step. I step with my feet flat on the step and push off with the weight evenly distributed on my feet (works quads and glutes more) or I land on the step with the balls of my feet and use my calves to push me up off the step and into the next one.

    At the end of any cadrio (bike, treadmill, elliptical), I walk backwards on the treadmill for five minutes on a slow speed of around 1.5 mph as a cooldown. I figure it's a nice way to finish off by doing a compliment move.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Sep 23, 2009 1:44 PM GMT

    - elliptical
    - stairmaster
    - stairs

    ... good to know because I didn't.
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    Sep 23, 2009 2:04 PM GMT
    mach01 saidmy goodness. what happened in the hospital? how long was he there?

    Neophoenician said(He did do this and it helped, but he never did totally regain what he had lost in the hospital).



    He was in there for a long time, pretty much bedridden. It was an intestinal problem, but it got complicated because he was HIV+ and was already taking many other medications to deal with that (this was back in the '90s). By the time the hospital released him he had no butt left - his waist went straight into his legs. Some people with big butts that want to lose some of it might be jealous hearing that, but believe me, it is NOT an attractive look.
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    Sep 23, 2009 2:08 PM GMT
    I use the Step Mill (escalators, moving stairs, whatever you call them) and have seen a big difference. Was also told it's good if you're into cycling. No complaints so far, for an old guy!
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    Jul 14, 2014 1:56 AM GMT
    simple. Take the stairs:p
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    Jul 16, 2014 10:22 PM GMT
    Another vote for stairs, but no need to shy away from deadlift/squat completely. Your gym may have sandbags for if you are looking to do a low weight; these are great for starting out as you have no risk of certain accidents (like dropping a weight on your foot).
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    Jul 21, 2014 6:08 PM GMT
    Deadlift and stair master are my bread and butter emot-parrot.gif

    I always call Deadlift ''the weight lifting multi vitamin'' and Stair Master ''the cardio multi vitamin''

    It works so many parts of your body! it's a beautiful thing. And both have made my legs the strongest they've ever been.
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    Jul 22, 2014 5:14 PM GMT
    I alternate my daily cardio between this
    ntevel90912product.jpg

    and thisrowerlarge0101.jpg

    Works for me.
  • buddycat

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    Jul 23, 2014 6:46 PM GMT
    There are exercises that work your butt directly, best do those I would think.
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    Jul 23, 2014 9:42 PM GMT
    thanks to this necro'd thread, i got out of my bike rut today and hit both the stair-thing and elliptical (with height adjustment cranked up to glutes) for 15 minutes each.

    i like switching things up and trying new things anyway and i think that's both good for keeping you interested and hitting other parts of the body you were neglecting.

    bring the buns!