Maybe you’ve seen them in a gym: two-handed and two-footed machines that make you look like you’re ski-ing. They’re called elliptical cross trainers, and they’re terrific exercise equipment for your glutes, thighs (quadriceps and hamstrings), hip abductors and adductors, shoulders and upper arms, as well as your heart.
A cross trainer machine doesn’t have a motor. As you push and pull the levers and pedals, a belt or magnet inside the machine tries to stop you, creating resistance that builds strength.
While cross trainer equipment is low-impact, cross trainers give you quite a workout – because they move your body side to side, up and down, and forwards and backwards, in regular oval movements called ellipticals. As well as burning calories, elliptical movements build flexibility.
The parts of a cross trainer
Of course, there’s a bit of terminology to learn…
|Belt cross trainers||Belt cross trainers tend to be lower cost. They’re great value and don’t take up much space. The downside: they usually offer only one level of resistance.|
|Flywheel||The flywheel is inside the machine. As you push and pull it creates momentum so you can build up pace smoothly (and slow smoothly, too.)|
|Grips||The grips are where you hold the machine while cross training.|
|Heart rate monitor||A heart rate monitor detects your pulse, usually through touching the grips, so you can see how hard your heart’s working! Remember, the most effective heart rate for you is about 70-80% of your maximum heart rate.|
|Levers||Levers are the vertical ‘handlebars’ with the grips at their top.|
|Magnetic cross trainers||Magnetic cross trainers use magnets to create resistance to your pushing and pulling. They tend to be quieter than belt cross trainers.|
|Pedals||The pedals are where you put your feet when using a cross trainer.|
|Transmission||The transmission is the belt/magnets and flywheel assembly inside the machine.|
So now you know your cross trainers, let's find out
what features you should look for.