Cross trainers or elliptical trainers are a great piece of equipment to get exercising at home. They provide a low impact way of working out your whole body. The main advantage they have over treadmills is that they cause lower stress on the knees. Lets look at some of the important things you should know before you purchase a cross trainer for working out at home.
Mark out the space where you will be using the Cross Trainer
Cross trainers do not take up as much space as a treadmill. Even then, they will need about 25 square feet of free space. The other thing to consider about cross trainers is that since you will be standing while working out, you have to also ensure that the space above your head is free too. While working out, you will rise higher than your regular height and you would definitely not want to hit any light fixtures in your home as you do so.
Check the Stride Length of the Cross Trainer
An important parameter when it comes to cross trainers is their stride length. In general, the longer the stride length, the more challenging the workout gets. However, it is also true that cross trainers with longer stride lengths also need more space. Try to strike a balance between these two factors as you look for your cross trainer.
Decide between Manual and Electric Cross Trainer
Manual cross trainers are a lot more popular that manual treadmills. Powering the entire machine by muscle power can lead to a more intense workout where your muscles have to power the machine as well as stabilize your core. The drawback of manual cross trainers though is that the speed is limited by your own muscle power. As such electric cross trainers are able to provide a higher range of available speeds which can lead to a more varied workout.
Check if the Cross Trainer is Foldable
If you live in an apartment or just generally want to save space, check if the cross trainer is foldable. These models are usually a little more expensive but teh space saving might really be worth it.
Front Drive vs Rear Drive
Cross trainers have a flywheel that rotates as you use it. Depending on whether the flywheel is placed at the front or at the back, the device is called a front drive or a rear drive cross trainer. In general, front drive cross trainers are less expensive and more compact. The drawback with them is that front drive cross trainers have a smaller stride length and therefore provide a lower variety of workouts.
Rear drive cross trainers on the other hand are pricier and bulkier but provide a greater variety of stride lengths.
Check out Combination Machines
While looking at cross trainers, you might see a lot of machines that are a combination of a cross trainer and a stationary bike. These devices usually combine an exercise bike with handles that provide a workout to your arms. While not a classic elliptical trainers, these machines can provide a pretty good workout as well while maintaining the benefit of being a low impact workout. These devices are usually more compact as compared to a traditional cross trainer as well.
Cross Trainer/Elliptical Buying Guide – Conclusion
That was our quick guide to buying a cross trainer/elliptical machine. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments!