What Muscles Does Arc Trainer Work? A Comprehensive Guide

it’s not just another cardio machine you can skip. Unlike your standard treadmill or elliptical, the Arc Trainer is designed to engage a variety of muscles, going beyond the typical lower-body focus. It activates not only your legs but also your upper body and core, providing a well-rounded workout that challenges multiple muscle groups.

The Arc Trainer’s unique design allows for a two-in-one workout experience. When you’re on this machine, it feels like a mix of stair climbing and skiing. This setup ensures that your legs are doing some serious work, but it also gets your arms and core in on the action. The dual functionality makes it a go-to for anyone looking to get the most bang for their workout buck.

What is the Arc Trainer?

What Muscles Does Arc Trainer Work

The Arc Trainer is a cardio machine, but it’s more than just a standard piece of gym equipment. Designed by Cybex, this device targets multiple muscle groups, providing a comprehensive workout that engages both your upper and lower body. Its unique stride mechanics set it apart from traditional cardio machines like treadmills and ellipticals. As you use it, you’ll notice your legs, arms, and even your core getting involved, making your workout sessions far more effective.

The machine is built to reduce stress on your joints while maximizing calorie burn. This makes it ideal for anyone wanting a robust workout without the strain that other machines might put on your knees and hips.

So, if you’re aiming for a workout that hits multiple fronts without beating up your body, the Arc Trainer is a worthy pick.

How does it work?

The Arc Trainer functions on a patented arc motion. This motion engages both the hamstrings and quads, offering a total lower-body workout. Unlike other gym equipment that mainly targets your legs, the Arc Trainer’s handlebars involve your arms, shoulders, and chest as well. That means you’re getting a total body workout. The footplates are designed to move in an arc pattern, which reduces stress on your knees and provides a more natural movement. You get the benefits of a stair stepper and an elliptical, all-in-one machine.

Adjusting the machine is simple. The incline and resistance settings can be easily changed to tailor the workout to your fitness level and goals. Whether you’re a newbie or a gym veteran, you can modify the settings to get the best workout for you. More incline focuses on your glutes and hamstrings, while less incline and more resistance work your quads. So you’re in control, making your workout as easy or as challenging as you want it to be.

What Muscles Does Arc Trainer Work

This machine is a powerhouse for muscle engagement. It doesn’t just focus on one or two muscle groups, it aims for full-body conditioning. Here is the detailed view


The front of your thighs, or quadriceps, are in for a workout with the Arc Trainer. These muscles are crucial for knee joint stability and walking. The machine’s arcing motion engages your quads big time, especially when you go for lower incline settings. The quads are often the focus of many workouts, but the Arc Trainer puts them at the forefront.


Don’t underestimate the power of the back of your thighs, also known as the hamstrings. The Arc Trainer challenges these muscles, particularly when you ramp up the incline. These muscles are vital for hip movement and knee flexion, which you use a lot in daily life like walking or climbing stairs.


Your glutes are more than just for sitting; they’re the largest muscle group in your body. The Arc Trainer does a great job of targeting them. Increase the incline, and you’ll definitely feel your backside working. Your glutes help you with everything from standing up to lifting heavy objects.


Your lower legs get some love too. Your calves help with walking, running, and balance. You may not feel them as much as your quads or hamstrings, but they’re getting worked. The Arc Trainer’s unique footplate design ensures that your calves are engaged throughout your workout.

Shin Muscles

The Arc Trainer even gets the often-ignored shin muscles involved. This is beneficial because strong shins assist with balance and forward leg movement. It’s a good way to give some attention to muscles that don’t usually get much focus in regular workouts.

Core Muscles

Your core isn’t just your abs; it includes your lower back and obliques too. The machine requires balance and stability, which directly involves your core. A strong core is essential for almost all physical activities.

Arm Muscles

The handlebars aren’t just there for show; they’re part of the plan. Your biceps, triceps, and shoulders get in on the action. The arm movement can be as rigorous as you make it. You have control of how hard your upper body works by how you grip and move the handles.

How to Target Specific Muscle Groups with the Arc Trainer

Incline and Resistance Settings

The machine comes with knobs and buttons that let you adjust the incline and resistance. If you want to hit your quads and hamstrings hard, a lower incline with moderate resistance does the trick.

But if it’s your glutes you’re looking to target, crank that incline up. The higher the resistance, the more your muscles have to work. Tailoring these settings to your needs lets you target your muscles effectively.

Arm Bar Usage

The arm bars are not just handlebars; they can change the game for your upper body. Pushing and pulling the bars involves your arms, shoulders, and even some back muscles. The more vigorously you use them, the more you’ll engage your upper body.

If you keep your grip light and focus on the legs, the bars will have less impact on the upper body workout.

Form and Technique

A straight back, aligned head, and solid grip can optimize muscle engagement. Your posture not only prevents injury but also maximizes the benefit you get from each session. For example, leaning too much forward might lessen the engagement of your back muscles. Keep your form neat, and you’ll see better results.


The Arc Trainer is an exercise machine that can be used to work a variety of muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, shin muscles, core muscles, and arm muscles. By adjusting the incline and resistance settings, and using the arm bars, you can target specific muscle groups and get the most out of your workouts.

If you are new to the Arc Trainer, start with a warm-up and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Cool down after your workouts to help your body recover.

With regular use, the Arc Trainer can help you improve your cardiovascular health, build muscle, strengthen your core, and lose weight. It is a low-impact machine, which makes it a good option for people with joint pain or other injuries.