It is a machine which combines the working principles of the treadmill, exercise bike, and stair climber. At the same time, the workout also combines the movements, and benefits of hiking, cross-country skiing, and biking.
When you are using this machine, the legs move in elongated circular motions or, to be precise, in an oval motion. Hence, it derives the name elliptical.
Exercising on a cross trainer will give you a full body workout, and also double up as an effective cardiovascular workout. This routine helps the upper as well as lower body muscle groups. It is low impact, and hence, does not put excess strain on the joints.
The lower body to upper body resistance ratio used in elliptical machines is 3 : 1. This is an ideal ratio as it is similar to the body's natural ratio of upper to lower body muscle mass as well as strength.
However, it does not wear and tear the joints. When using the elliptical machine, the legs are in constant contact with the machine, which helps in limiting the impact on the joints. Hence, a number of patients suffering from arthritis, or joint problems are recommended to exercise on these machines.
According to a number of fitness experts, a high intensity workout is able to burn more calories as compared to exercise on a treadmill or bike. It is said that it feels like a brisk walk, although the body is exerting as much as you would when you jog.
Some fitness experts also recommend not using the bar for some part of the routine, as it will work the abs slightly harder, as they try to stabilize the body.
When your body gets used to the routine, and your fitness improves, small adjustments can be made in terms of speed and resistance. Since it is easier to change the speed and resistance, interval training can be made to be a part of a workout session.
Interval training is more beneficial in the weight loss process as compared to steady training. Depending on your goal, you can choose a weight loss program if you are currently aiming at weight loss.
If you want to improve your cardiovascular system, you can opt for an aerobic routine on a cross trainer. On the other hand, if you are training for a marathon, there are endurance training options available as well. Changing the incline of the aerobic program will ensure an intense workout for the heart.
Besides the usual benefits that any form of a workout provides, there is an added benefit of working out on an elliptical machine.
With this machine, you will be able to work out all the four limbs equally. You will not have to unnecessarily be worried about working different muscle groups. As you are working on the trainer, it will automatically be taken care of.
At the same time, the fat burning benefits are much more and better, as compared to other exercise machines. Due to resistance offered by the machine, it makes for easy and quick workout.
Using a cross trainer for workout is safe and it can be used by people of any age group. Unlike a treadmill, the machine starts when you start pedaling, and stops when you stop pedaling. The speed and effort will be determined by the movement of your own feet. Hence, it is very safe for the old and young alike.
Since a cross trainer gives a complete workout, it can be used as the only, yet useful, exercise equipment at home. Once you have this wonderful machine at home, you will not be bound by time, and will also not be able to find an excuse to the tune that you do not have time to exercise.
Disclaimer: Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.