What is the Difference Between a Cross Trainer and an Elliptical Trainer?

Cross trainers and elliptical trainers are often referred to as elliptical machines and it is true, they both are. The difference is that a cross trainer is simply just a type of elliptical that has some other features that a standard model does not include. In the article below, we will look at the difference between the two as well as how an elliptical machine can help you reach your fitness goals.
Elliptical Trainer vs Cross Trainer

The distinct difference between these two styles is that a cross trainer works your upper body as well as your lower body. The bars on a cross trainer move, which engages and strengthens your arms by using a pushing and pulling motion while working out. This motion also involves your core and increases the number of calories burned during a workout session.

The standard elliptical trainer, as well as the cross trainer, require hip and knee extension to use the machine, which engages muscles in the buttocks and thigh. The main muscles targeted are;

  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Lower Shin

The cross trainer will target these additional muscles:

  • Triceps
  • Biceps
  • Chest
  • Abdominals

Elliptical Trainer Benefits

Some people may choose a standard elliptical trainer for a number of reasons. The stationary handlebars are beneficial for individuals that have upper body joint problems and these bars make it very easy to stay balanced throughout the workout. The incline on elliptical trainers can be adjusted to increase difficulty and some models offer customized training programs that will specifically target certain muscles, such as glutes or hamstrings.

Cross Trainer Advantages

Cross trainers also offer a dual action motion (forward and backward) which work different groups of leg muscles. The motion simulates the body’s natural stride with your feet moving the same way as they would if you were walking or running. With the moveable arm handles, your heart rate becomes elevated quickly as your upper and lower body work in synch for a better overall workout.

Exercise Benefits of Elliptical Machines

Many people choose an elliptical machine due to its low impact nature which minimizes stress on joints and reduces the risk of injury. Although the motion has minimal impact, it is still a weight-bearing exercise and many users end up burning more calories compared to a treadmill due to the fact that the perceived rate of exertion is lower. Even though it may not seem as difficult or exhausting as running, elliptical machines provide the same amount of exertion on the leg muscles as well as the heart.

For anyone unable to participate in aerobic exercise due to the impact it can have on their joints, both a cross trainer or elliptical trainer is an excellent solution. Regular aerobic activity is incredibly important for our overall health and research has shown that it helps us live longer, be healthier and happier. Because the heart rate increases and we breathe deeper and faster when exercising, we boost the amount of oxygen in our bloodstream. Aerobic activity also releases endorphins which act as a stress reliever, mood booster, and a natural painkiller.

Now that you know the difference between an elliptical trainer and cross trainer, download this month’s promotions to save.

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