11 Cardio exercises & the muscles they work

August 27, 2015by TonyaTittle

Tonya Tittle, Energy Fitness Personal Trainer Downtown Memphis Gives You a Reason to Cross Train

Do you ever get bonked on the head with an a-ha moment when you are talking to someone that is not in your profession or area of expertise and think everyone else knows what you think of as basic or fundamental knowledge?

I often think people just know all the fitness and nutrition things that fill up my brain as basic information.  To me, what is basic often clients and friends share that what I am sharing with them is not common knowledge.

I have these moments often which is the result of this post.  A client at Energy Fitness is a runner so I was trying to tell her she needs to run not more than 3 x per week but needs to get more cardio in for fitness and weight loss & target her lower body.  She texted me back that she needs to get on the stair stepper. My reply….”NO, that will make your butt bigger!.”  She was shocked she didn’t know that and suggested I share with others. I then proceeded to tell her about the different machines and modes of cardio and the different muscles they worked.  On a side note, runners are often hesitant about doing anything other than just run, even when I suggest on a shorter run of 3-5 miles to incorporate some side shuffling/lateral training for a few short bouts of maybe 10 shuffles each side for 5 times throughout run.  Runners, because they are only working one plane of motion, tend to get numerous overuse injuries.  I have been a runner for over 25 years and have always understood the important of cross training and stretching/drills.  Let this knowledge be useful, inspirational and motivational to try new things to shake it up, remain–or become injury-free–and become your optimal fit self. Below are the 11 exercises, but if you want to print them out, then click here for a PDF version.

If you are not a client and interested in getting a FREE personal training or nutritional consult then give us a call at 901-523-2348 or click here to opt in by clicking here. Energy Fitness, 552 South Main – Downtown Memphis Tennessee

Walking : Hamstrings (back of upper leg & Glutes (butt)
Lateral training- skating, lateral running or slide board
Lateral training- skating, lateral running or slide board: Adductors & Abductors (inner and outer thigh) & core (abs & spine/back)
Running: Quadriceps (front of upper legs), Hamstrings, Glutes (butt), Hip Flexors, Core, Calves (lower back leg between bottom of knee & top of ankle)
Running Hills
Running Hills: Hamstrings (back of upper legs), quadriceps , calves, core
Jumping Jacks
Jumping Jacks: Adductors, Abductors, Calves, Core, Gluteus medius (When this muscle is tight it often refers back pain. Located just below the posterior side of the hip bone)
Stairs: Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves, Core













Swimming: Different areas depending on the stroke Freestyle and Backstroke: Core abdominal and obliques are important in rotating the torso for a longer stroke. Hip flexors are used to maintain a compact and steady kick. Butterfly: Core abdominal and lower back muscles lift the body out of the water when breathing. Glutes ensure the legs move as one like a dolphin or mermaid. Breaststroke: Pectoral and Latissimus dorsi muscles are used to sweep the arms inwards against the water. Glutes and Quadriceps muscles power the breaststroke kick.
Kayaking/Paddle Sports
Kayaking (rowing works similar muscles): Core, Biceps (front of upper arms), Triceps (back of upper arms), Lats (big wing like upper back muscles), Rhomboids (attached to your scapula. think of pinching a pencil between your shoulder blades motion), Rotator cuff (helps to pivot the arm in the shoulder area around your ball and socket joint). Paddle Board(engages legs more when standing).
Upright Bike
Upright Bike: Quads & Calves (Stationary bike users tend to not be in the crouched over position as traditionally one rides a road bike so less core is used)
Rowing machine
Rowing machine: Rhomboids, Traps (the muscles one uses when lifting shoulders up and down/shrugging. attaches to bottom of skull and flares out diagonal to attach to shoulder blade), Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Glutes, Biceps, Pecs (chest muscles), & Core.
Recumbent Bike (has back rest)
Recumbent Bike (has back rest): Hamstrings & Glutes

















Elliptical: Different Ramp or Incline works different muscles – Glutes 1-20, Quadriceps 1-12 and 19-20, Hamstrings 1-9 and 19-20, Calves 1-6 and 16-20. Try not to lean on the handles if the machine doesn’t have the moving arms.













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Energy Fitness, 552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103