Whilst being much less common than recumbent exercise bikes or traditional cross trainers, a recumbent cross trainer is a great option for getting a really good cardiovascular workout, exercising both your upper and lower body whilst offering excellent support.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of exercise machine, a recumbent cross trainer is very similar to a recumbent exercise bike. It will have the comfortable, broad seat and excellent back and lower body support that you would expect from a recumbent fitness bike. Where it differs from the bike is that a recumbent cross trainer has moving handlebars attached to the bikes frame. Just like you would with a standard cross trainer, you push and pull on these handle bars whilst cycling on the recumbent cross trainer.
A recumbent cross trainer doesn’t just work out the large lower body muscles like a recumbent bike does. It also helps you to work on your arms, back and chest muscles which means, of course, that you will end up burning far more calories because you are effectively working your upper and lower body at the same time. The cross trainer gives a controlled movement, exercising key muscle groups in much the same way as you would when training with weights. This makes the recumbent cross trainer an excellent piece of exercise equipment when alternating cardio workouts with strength or resistance training.
Getting Comfortable on a Recumbent Cross Trainer
A recumbent exercise machine is all about comfort and support. With a recumbent cross trainer, just like with a recumbent bike, you will find that you can adjust it until it is just right for you. As you would expect, you can adjust the position and height of the seat, the backrest and the handlebars amongst other things. This is quite an important point, but often overlooked, as the primary aim of a recumbent trainer is to give your back support. If the recumbent cross trainer isn’t set up correctly for your size and needs then you may find it uncomfortable to use. A common problem is having the seat in the incorrect position meaning that you are either stretching to pedal or are too cramped. This isn’t a problem exclusive to the cross trainer of course, proper positioning is important on any kind of exercise equipment or machine.
What Kind of Workout can you Expect on a Recumbent Cross Trainer ?
So, what benefits can you expect from using this type of cross trainer during your workout, or even as your sole exercising machine? Well, the answer to this is dependent on what kind of exercise plan you are using. A cross trainer, recumbent or otherwise, excels when used as an alternative to just work training. In our article on cross trainer benefits we talk about the excellent recovery aspect to using a cross trainer in between resistance training sessions. It’s a great way to get in a solid cardio workout if you are primarily a weight trainer.
The great thing about the recumbent cross trainer however is that it also stands up on its own. Because of the range of muscle groups that a cross trainer works out you can use it as your sole piece of exercise equipment. In fact, if I could only buy one piece of fitness equipment I would choose to purchase a cross trainer. The reasons for this are numerous, not least of which is the fact that you will work up to twice as hard on a recumbent trainer than you would on a standard recumbent bike due to the fact that you will be working both the upper and lower body at the same time. Trust me, spend 20 or 30 minutes on a recumbent cross trainer, at a reasonable pace, and you will really start to feel the burn.