November 08, 2021

Training with an Elliptical: The Top 3 Cross Trainer Benefits

You've might not have trained on one yet, but you've definitely heard of one! Many people think that an elliptical cross trainer is not worth its price tag. This is simply because most people are unaware of how it can give you a much more efficient workout. This article will outline all the benefits of using one!

 

You’ll learn why they are so popular and what makes them different from a treadmill or even a stair climber. We've also included some tips on getting the most out of your workout with an elliptical cross trainer.

 

Ready? Let's get started!

Three people training on elliptical cross trainer machines

What even is an elliptical cross trainer?

An elliptical cross trainer is a machine that gives you the ability to perform a complete aerobic workout with one machine. They usually feature two foot pedals that are connected to some handlebars in front of you. These bars will move while you pedal forwards and backwards. This will allow you to engage different muscles in your arms and shoulders while you train.

What are the benefits of training with cross trainers?

1) They offer a full body workout experience

Elliptical cross trainers are in a lane of their own. While treadmills and exercise bikes are great, each one targets different muscle groups. This means you need to work out on them separately for a more complete workout. Cross trainers give the benefits of all these machines, with only one purchase!

 

Thanks to their moveable pedals and handles, your arms and shoulders engage as well as your legs. This gives you a more efficient workout, regardless of your fitness goals. It also helps to burn fat even more quickly. When pulling back on the handles, you'll be squeezing your back muscles. You'll also be engaging the biceps and triceps.

2) They put much less strain on your joints

Don't get us wrong! We love a good run on a treadmill. The only difference with an cross trainer workout is that your foot never leaves the pedal. This lessens the load on the joints by minimizing the amount of impact you feel. This is because your bodyweight is always supported by the moving foot pads.

 

Because of this reduced strain on your joints, it's a great way to train if you are recovering from an injury. It's also good if you have pain in certain parts of your body. It can also be used by those who are more susceptible to injury or have a low bone density. This is because cross trainers are much less likely to cause strain on joints. Another great option for a low-impact workout is the stationary bike, check some out here!

3) They increase your endurance and lung capacity

We all know that cardio is an incredible important part of any lifestyle. Aerobic exercise or "cardio" helps raise the heart rate in order provide more blood flow to the body. This blood carries oxygen, which is needed for your brain and muscles to function throughout the day.

 

By using an elliptical machine, you can engage in both high-intensity interval training as well as steady-state cardio workouts. Having this kind of flexibility will allow you to perfect both aerobic and anaerobic cardio exercises. This is extremely effective for endurance and stamina training!

A woman stepping on the pedals of an elliptical cross trainer

Are there any drawbacks with elliptical machines?

Every kind of fitness equipment has its own set of drawbacks. The elliptical machine is no exception! They do help to engage more muscles and burn more calories than other cardio items. But there are a few cons to balance out the pros.

They take up quite a lot of room

Because of the 'stride' path, an elliptical trainer is usually quite long. However, they are similar in length and width to most treadmills. They might be a little harder to allocate space for, as most cross trainers have their pedals extend beyond the length of its frame during exercise.

 

Make sure you'll have some safety space around the machine before buying!

One size does not fit all

While product images may make most elliptical machines look similar in size, this definitely isn't the case! Some cheaper ellipticals feature relatively small frames. The main issue here is that if you're quite tall, you may not get the full range of motion it was designed to provide.

 

It's for this reason that you should, again, always check the dimensions of the elliptical trainer before you purchase it!

They are not the cheapest cardio option out there

If you're looking for a simple, cheap cardio workout - the elliptical trainer is not for you. You'd probably be better off with something like a simple exercise bike, for under $700. For a decent cross trainer - you'd need to spend at least $1000. This is because they feature more parts, a larger build and are generally a little more complex in design than exercise bikes.

 

Not just that of course, they also give you a much more effective workout. This is because it targets the whole body, rather then specific leg muscles. So that will cost you a little more ;)

A man in a black shirt on an elliptical cross trainer

The most effective elliptical machine workout options

This depends on your goals as a whole. But we're assuming that by purchasing an elliptical, your overall goals are weight loss, burning calories and boosting your fitness levels. The beauty is, with this machine, you can do it all! With that in mind, here are some great exercises you can try.

If you're looking for a simple cardio workout, engage in some steady-state training

Put simply, this means engaging in constant, moderate speed exercise for an extended period of time. This is simple enough to do on most elliptical trainers by setting it on a "medium" resistance and training at the same speed.

 

This is great because while it is considered low-intensity, it'll work wonders on improving your cardiovascular health. Unlike running, it'll also be much easier on the joints.

 

If you're looking for something with a bit more resistance, try pushing down a little harder on the pedals. This will reduce strain on your arms, making it an ideal 'low impact' option if that's what you're looking for!

If your goal is to lose weight, train in high intensity bursts

Weight loss is made much more effective through HIIT. Put simply, HIIT is where you engage in short bursts of high-intensity exercise. After which is followed by longer periods of rest to let your muscles recover.

 

On your elliptical trainer, you can engage in high intensity internal training easily. You can do this by alternating between a fast pace and moderate/slow speed. You can do this by setting the resistance to "hard" or increasing it, then alternating your pedal speed.

 

Through this kind of training, you'll be burning body fat at a faster rate because your metabolism will be working at a higher capacity. This is effective because more calories are burned, but also because it helps to boost the number of mitochondria within your cells - which is responsible for turning glucose into energy!

If you are looking to tone up specific muscles, use resistance training

The key here is to shift your attention and energy on the muscles you want to target the most. The elliptical machine allows you to set resistance levels - simply by pushing harder or softer on the pedals or handlebars.

 

For instance, If you want to tone up your legs, you should focus on keeping your upper body in the same position throughout. This will allow you to focus more on pushing down with your legs on the foot pedals. This will really target your leg muscles (your glutes in particular)!

 

If you want to tone up your arms and chest, make sure you vary the resistance levels throughout by placing more of an emphasis on the muscles you want to engage. By shifting your focus to the movements of the handlebars, you'll be engaging the arm, chest and back muscles in the process.

 

Similarly, if you want to tone up your core muscles (your abs and lower back), then aim for a medium resistance with more of an emphasis on full body balance rather than specific muscles. Engaging in lots of small movements will really target those core muscles. Just remember to squeeze your abs while during the workout!

A woman working out on an elliptical cross trainer

Our favourite all-rounder cross trainer

The Horizon Andes 3 Elliptical

Simple, affordable, effective. Experience smooth movements across a generous range of motion. This machine features a sleek and durable design, and is at a moderate price point - not too expensive, but price-y enough to be worthy of the investment.

This is a special price, and might not last long!

Sold out
A man in a grey shirt training on an elliptical cross trainer

To sum up...

The cross trainer is an incredible machine, and a bit of an under-dog in the cardio world. It provides a full-body workout and is more functional than other cardio machines because it forces you to engage a wider range of muscles during your workout.

 

It also offers many different levels of resistance so that users can tailor their workouts for any fitness level. We hope reading this article has given you some insights into why an elliptical cross trainer might be right for your home gym or studio space.

 

If you need any advice or guidance on choosing the right elliptical for you and your needs, feel free to get in touch with us. We'd love to help!


About the author:

We write all of our blog posts as a group - consulting members of our sales, marketing and customer service teams to give you the content that you deserve. At Gym Direct, we know how important it is to stay informed when it comes to the equipment you invest in - so we've made it a top priority to write content periodically to assist you in doing so. Happy training!

Written by Gym Direct


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