An elliptical trainer, also known as a ‘cross trainer’, ‘elliptical cross trainer’ or just ‘elliptical’ is a cardiovascular machine designed to replicate the upper and lower body motions of walking, jogging and running while keeping the pressure off your joints. The elliptical trainer appeared a little over 20 years ago but has since become a staple in gyms across the world. It’s also ever more popular in homes, so let’s look at what are the benefits and what you should consider before buying one.
What are the benefits of ellipticals?
Elliptical machines are a great choice for weight loss as they burn a huge number of calories and incorporate your entire body in the workout.
The intense workout possible on an elliptical machine makes it an ideal way to improve your cardiovascular conditioning.
Unlike treadmills, the lack of any sort of impact makes this machine a great way to exercise without risking damage to your bones and joints.
Full body workout
Having to use both your arms and legs encourages a much more well-rounded exercise than many other cardio options that are available.
The release of endorphins caused by high-intensity exercises, such as what you can achieve on an elliptical machine, helps to relieve stress and improves the quality of sleep.
Having to coordinate a rhythm between your legs and arms to get your whole body in sync while on an elliptical machine can greatly help to improve the user’s balance.
The lack of impact and a smooth motion on an elliptical machine makes it an ideal option for anyone wanting to exercise while rehabbing an injury.
Types of elliptical
Pro-Form cross trainer
Pro-Form cross-trainers predominantly come with a front-drive motor. This makes them suitable for anyone seeking a slightly greater level of resistance or wanting to use it like a stepper as well as a cross-trainer. They are also ideal for people with mobility issues.
Viavito cross trainer
Viavito generally produces quite basic yet effective machines for an affordable price. They are ideal for newer users or those shopping on a budget.
NordicTrack cross trainer
NordicTrack produces a variety of high-end machines, with varying drives, resistances and programs. They are best suited for experienced users and those who are looking for something very specific.
Things to consider
If you know you have particularly long or short legs, make sure the stride length of your chosen machine will accommodate you.
Elliptical machines are generally quite heavy. If your location has a weight limit where you plan to use it, check the specifications before purchasing.
Rear or front driven
Incline range/number of programs
For programs, resistances and inclines, there is a wide range of options. You should ensure that there is enough variety on your machine to match your needs, especially if you are a more experienced user.
Some models come with built-in safety handles. If you are less experienced or have mobility issues, this could be something that makes you feel safer and more confident when using your product.
Elliptical machines are quite large, bulky pieces of equipment. If you are limited on space, make sure the model you are looking at is of a suitable size.
Some elliptical machines can be folded away. If that is something that interests you, you should check to see if it is a feature your chosen model offers before purchasing.
Extra features on elliptical machines vary wildly from model to model. If you require something specific, make sure you check the specifics of your chosen model.
Elliptical machines are generally quite expensive, you should make sure you know the cost of the one you are looking at so you don’t waste time analysing one you can’t.
Most of our products come with a 1-year warranty but double-check the details of your elliptical machine, to make sure you feel comfortable and confident in your purchase.
Elliptical machines generally require minimal maintenance. However, ensure that you clean it after each use and occasionally apply a lubricant such as WD-40 to the moving parts to stop them from seizing.