Well, you’ve arrived at this site, so I’m guessing you know a little of this already, but what is a cross trainer exactly? If you’re new to this kind of exercise machine the aim here is to give an overview of what a cross trainer is, the advantages and disadvantages of a cross trainer, and what a cross trainer can do for you. So, let’s get started!
Help – What is a Cross Trainer?!
In a nutshell a cross trainer is the perfect all round fitness or exercise machine. If you have been to a gym or fitness center you will have seen one. It’s the one where the person exercising looks a little like they are cross country skiing, whilst looking slightly daft. In all seriousness though, yes the movement looks a little unusual if you are used to a treadmill or exercise bike, but the benefits are fantastic as a cross trainer helps you work both your upper and lower body at the same time. And the best bit? You can also get one designed for home use, if going to the gym is not for you.
What is a Cross Trainer like to use?
Like any exercise machine, the experience you have with it will vary from model to model. Lower cost models will tend to have less features than more expensive types. An example of a feature you might want to look for is whether the cross trainer has adjustable pedals so that you can change the angle that your feet are positioned at. Lower end models tend not to have this feature. That’s not to say that you have to purchase a more expensive model, just that you will want to do a comparison of the cross trainer features before handing over your hard earned cash.
One feature you should take notice of regardless of model is the stride length that he cross trainer has. The best cross trainers have a stride length of up to twenty three or twenty four inches, which really allows you to stretch your legs. Budget machines tend to have a shorter stride length which contributes to you getting a much less effective workout. The best way to find a cross trainer that suits your stride is to actually try one out in the store or at your local gym. The best cross trainers with the longer stride deliver a much smoother workout as you take longer strides rather than short fast steps. It is the movement of the longer stride that really works out those upper leg muscles.
What is a Cross Trainer like for Muscle Development?
Here, it is all about the resistance. The better the resistance mechanism of the cross trainer the better the workout. A cross trainer benefits strength and muscle development, like any exercise machine, provided you have the resistance set correctly.
Cross trainers tend to use one of two ways of generating resistance. You are ones that generate resistance using a flywheel and belt, often found on less expensive models. The other type of resistance mechanism is magnetic resistance, which tends to be the resistance method of choice on the more expensive cross trainers. The machines you find at your local gym will most likely use magnetic resistance (or eddy current as it is often referred to). If your budget permits, I would suggest looking into types of magnetic cross trainer.
Monitoring Your Workout
Just about all cross trainers will come with a heart rate monitor, though the quality of the monitor will vary from model to model. The most common kind are ‘pulse grips’, which are often built into the cross trainer’s handles. If accuracy is very important to you however, I would suggest purchasing a separate monitor such as Polar.
As you would expect, along with a pulse rate monitor, a cross trainer also has a (often LCD) display where you can keep track of your workout with metrics such as distance travelled, heart rate, speed and calories burned. If you are in the market for a cross trainer I would pay attention to the quality of the display as it can go a long way towards giving you satisfaction with the trainer. And, after all, it’s important to monitor your progress! The best consoles will have pre-configured work out routines so that you can concentrate on your workout without having to keep manually changing the resistance levels.
So, What is a Cross Trainer Going to Cost Me?
Generally speaking, considering that you get an upper and lower workout machine, cross trainers are reasonably priced. As with everything, there are cheap models and expensive deluxe models, so it really comes down to a trade-off between quality, budget and features.
Check out some of the reviews and price comparisons on this site for a better understanding of what you can get for your money.