Why Buy a Cross Trainer or Elliptical Trainer?

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Knowing Which Piece of Gym Equipment to Go For

Ultimately the first question you should be asking yourself is what kind of exercise you like doing and therefore which piece of gym equipment you should buy to satisfy your needs. You don't do that - then you're likely to have wasted your money.

What are Cross Trainers?

Cross trainers or elliptical trainers as they are called, are essentially exercise machines that simulate walking, running or climbing, but all at low impact.

What Are the Benefits of Using Cross Trainers?

Low Impact
Cross trainers provide you with a cardio vascular workout but don’t put strain on your joints. This is great if you are recovering from an injury, are overweight and don’t want to put too much strain on your body or simply work out a lot and don’t want to do too much high impact work.
Provides a Whole Body Workout
Compared to a lot of fitness equipment a cross trainer works both your arms and legs and also your stomach and sides and so you can see how your whole body benefits from the one piece of equipment. A similar piece of equipment is the rower but for many this can prove too large to have at home.
Burns Calories
Research shows that you can burn more calories with a cross trainer than other pieces of equipment including a treadmill or exercise bike. Of course this depends upon the intensity of how you use it but you can burn between 8-12 calories a minute.
Space
Cross trainers are fairly compact when compared to other pieces of gym equipment, we have already mentioned the rower, but when you consider they work your whole body, they can therefore work out good value for money.
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What to Consider Before Buying a Cross Trainer

Check the Small Print, in Particular the Warranty
It’s always good to check that the warranty on the equipment you are buying offers you the protection you need. Some come with a lifetime warranty but most should offer you anything from 1-3 years. Do check what is included in the warranty, you are really looking for one that offers both parts and labour.
Space
We’ve already mentioned that most cross trainers are fairly compact but it goes without saying that you should always measure up that it will fit the space you want it to go in. A good rule is to set half a metre either side of the cross trainer so you can use it effectively.
Does it Meet Your Specifications?
The first question to ask is who is going to use it and what for. If a number of you will use it you all may be different weights which will change the maximum weight usage of the machine. In addition stride length is really important, the taller you are the longer your stride so make sure that the machine you buy  allows you to adjust the stride length. To make sure you don’t waste your money do consider these factors so the cross trainer you buy meets everyone’s needs.
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Types of Cross Trainers

There are a number of different cross trainers so let’s explain the choices you have.
Front/Rear Wheel
Some cross trainers are front wheel, others back wheel. This essentially means that in a rear wheel trainer there is a large flywheel at the back of the machine, in the front wheel it is at the front. This means that they provide a different elliptical motion. The front wheel models cause the legs to turn over at a steeper angle, the rear wheel models allow for a longer stride which can feel more like jogging. What you buy depends on the type of stride you are comfortable with.
Commercial
Some cross trainers will say that they are commercial. This means that they are intended for heavy use in gyms and health clubs. You may however still want to buy one of these for the home as for many they represent good design and are extremely sturdy.
Resistance
Cross trainers will either allow you to adjust the resistance manually or electronically. As you would expect the higher the resistance the harder you are working. Ideally you want a cross trainer with different levels of resistance so you can alter your workouts. It’s all up to personal choice but many prefer the electronic resistance models as they often come with heart rate control programmes.
Programmes
Boredom is the big problem with any fitness programme so we would advise you to always buy machines that offer you variety ie lots of different programmes to use. Some will come with 20 different programmes so you shouldn’t get bored with that. Also look for trainers that monitor your performance, some will even store your data so you can design a programme to suit your specific workout requirements.
Dual Action Trainers
It can be useful to look for cross trainers that allow you to go both forwards and backwards. As with the last point, anything which adds variety will ensure that you don’t get bored and set in your fitness regime.
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