Cross Trainers

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Cross Trainers and Ellipticals

For those looking for a low-impact cardio workout that still allows you to work up a sweat, a cross trainer or elliptical is a great option. 

Designed to work both the arms and the legs, an elliptical will build strength and provide full body conditioning. They’re easy to use and have a lower risk of injury than other machines, making them suitable for people of all fitness levels.

What is a cross trainer or elliptical?

A cross trainer or elliptical machine is a large gym machine with two pedals - one for each foot - and two handles - one for each arm. 

The pedals move in a circular motion, mimicking the feeling and sensation of running or briskly walking without the impact on your knees. While you drive the pedals forward with your feet, you can pump the handles with your hands, increasing the intensity and benefit of the workout. Think power walking without needing to add an 80s tracksuit. 

Ellipticals share some similarities with exercise bikes, but a key difference is that on an elliptical, you stand upright like you would on a treadmill. There are multiple benefits to using a cross trainer for exercise, including the low-impact, full-body workout it offers. Orbit has a number of different elliptical and cross trainer options, depending on size, budget and purpose.

How to use a cross trainer?

A cross trainer or elliptical machine is a simple machine to master, because the user is the one who drives the motion. Unlike a treadmill which you can fall off of, a cross trainer is almost entirely accident proof, and suitable for people of every fitness level. 

As with every gym machine, it’s important to make sure you’re fully set up and comfortable on the machine. So think about having your water bottle handy and your headphones in before you start your workout.

What is a good workout for an elliptical machine?

One of the best things about an elliptical machine is the full-body workout it offers. Rather than simply targeting your lower body, a cross trainer allows you to work key muscle groups and areas of your back and arms, as well as increasing core strength. 

As with running, cycling or rowing, there are a number of different workouts suited to a cross trainer. Users can try interval training, which works the body at full capacity for a period of time, before decreasing the intensity. Sprint sessions are also effective on a cross trainer as they don’t put undue pressure on the knees or joints. 

Orbit has a number of machines that offer the ability to change the elliptical machine’s incline setting or resistance level to increase the challenge of the workout.

What types of cross trainers are available?

There are a few different types of cross trainers available, each with their own features and benefits: 

Standard Elliptical

The most common type of cross training machine is a standard elliptical, which has fixed or moving handlebars allowing for decent upper body engagement. 

Resistance Elliptical

There is also an air resistance elliptical, which incorporates a heavy flywheel into the workout and uses air resistance to make the workout more challenging. This offers a harder workout but can be a little noisy. While it’s a more affordable option, some models do not contain the range of standard or magnetic ellipticals. 

Magnetic Elliptical

A magnetic elliptical machine offers a much smoother and quieter workout, with a wide variety of resistance levels. It can’t do anything about your workout induced huffing and puffing though

What are the benefits of using an elliptical?

Using an elliptical has a number of benefits. 

It can be a great way to improve your fitness or recover from other workouts without straining your muscles or joints. For this reason, many runners incorporate a session on the cross trainer into their exercise regime. 

Another one of the advantages of a cross trainer is that it can speed up your recovery time because it improves blood flow to your muscles without impacting your muscle fibres the way running does. 

Variety - they say a change is as good as a holiday, but you won’t need to take a break from your cross trainer. The different intensity levels and ability to incorporate your upper body as much or as little as you’d like means you’ll never get bored of the cross trainer. Tired, yes. Bored, no. 

The only downside is that because ellipticals and cross trainers offer a lower-impact workout compared to other machines, you need to spend longer on one to burn the same amount of calories.

Are cross trainers good for cardio?

Elliptical machines are a great cardio option because they allow the user to get their blood pumping through a really vigorous cardiovascular workout without compromising any joint or muscle fitness. The nature of a cross trainer also means users are doubling up on their cardio workout, by working out their arms and their legs simultaneously.

Are elliptical machines good for weight loss?

Elliptical machines can definitely be used as part of a sustained program to target weight loss and increase fitness. Used correctly, a cross trainer can definitely burn a respectable amount of calories. But if you want to see results, you have to make sure you put the time in.

Does an elliptical burn as many calories as running?

An elliptical will not burn as many calories as running for the equivalent time would. The lower intensity workout it offers is great for protecting against injury, but does mean that you’ll have to workout longer if you want to see the same results as you would from running. 

It’s a good idea to make a cross trainer part of a more varied workout. You can include other forms of cardio like running or cycling as well as some weights or resistance work if you really want to maximise calorie burning.

Does a cross trainer work your glutes?

An elliptical will work your glutes as part of the exercise, but it’s not the most efficient way to target that area specifically. 

If you want to hit your glutes hard, lunging and squatting are more effective options. If you want to maximise the impact that an elliptical or cross trainer has on your glutes, focus on your form and consider increasing the resistance so that you’re really working your butt off.

Are elliptical machines good for bad knees?

Elliptical machines are a great option if you have bad knees or any type of weaker or any other types of joint issues. They are much less taxing than a high impact cardio exercise like running or jumping. Because the movement is controlled, you are also far less likely to injure yourself. 

Those with concerns about their joints could also consider swimming or the stationary bike as an alternative cardio workout.

How to choose the right cross trainer?

With a wide range of cross trainers available, it’s important to take your lifestyle into account when considering which one is right for you. 

Cross trainers vary hugely in size, with more compact models gaining in popularity. When planning a purchase, it’s worth working out what your budget is and how frequently you intend to use the cross trainer, as well as how much space you have to store it. 

Orbit has a huge range of cross trainers in different shapes and sizes. Contact us today or visit one of our stores if you need any help in selecting a cross trainer to help you realise your fitness goals.

Get in Touch

Got a question about our cross trainers? We’re always here to help.

There are several ways for you to get your questions answered. You can call us on 1300 13 42 13, send us an enquiry, or for a quick response, check if your question has been answered in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Commercial Enquiries

We stock a range of commercial-grade cross-trainers suitable for commercial usage. Head to our commercial cardio page to view the full range or if you have specific questions, please call (08) 6241 3019 to speak to our commercial team.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Long Should I Be On A Cross Trainer To See Results?

    This depends on many factors like your fitness level, goals, availability, injuries etc. As a guide, 15 - 30 minutes per day will result in health benefits. You will see results faster with longer workouts and higher resistance.

  • Should I Use The Cross Trainer Every Day?

    Yes, you can absolutely use a cross trainer every day. It’s a great way to add cardio to your daily routine while keeping the exercise low impact. However, it’s important to incorporate other exercises like strength training to see the best results.

  • What Cross Trainer Is Best for a Home Gym?

    Cross trainers are generally larger than other cardio machines like exercise bikes. So you will need to have adequate space if you plan on purchasing an elliptical or opting for one of the smaller models. Make sure you choose an elliptical that caters for your weight and height.

  • Cross Trainer or Treadmill - What Should I Choose?

    It depends on your fitness and training goals.

    Cross trainers will give you a good cardiovascular workout without putting as much stress on your bones and joints. This makes them the better choice for people who are prone to injuries. Treadmills are great for people looking to meet a specific goal and enjoy running and jogging. For more information, check out our blog - Cross Trainer vs Treadmills.