The Cross-Trainer

I worked out on a cross-trainer today.  The cross-trainer is similar to the elliptical machine, but it doesn’t have the moving handle bars.

The cross trainer (and the elliptical machine) provides the same high-intensity workout as running, but without the impact on your joints.  Because the cross-trainer gives you a high intensity workout, you can burn about 10 calories a minute — that’s 300 calories in a half hour!

While using the dual-motion handlebars on the elliptical machine, you are working your upper body.  But on the cross-trainer, because you don’t hold onto the machine, you are also constantly using your core muscles (your abs and back) to stabilize yourself.

And due to the changing “cross ramp” on the cross-trainer, you use all of the muscles in your lower body — glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.

A study done to analyze the benefits of the cross-trainer by Dr. Ann Ward and Dr. Kreg Gruben of the University of Wisconsin at found that:

  • The Cross-Trainer provides more aerobic work than treadmills, stair climbers, rowers and skiers at comparable low levels of perceived exertion.
  • The Cross-Trainer provides the high aerobic and muscular demands of running with the low impact of walking.
  • The Cross- Trainer provides 4 to 5 times more quadriceps, hamstring and gluteal muscle involvement than walking.

Compared to cycling or using an exercise bike, the study found that while aerobic demands and leg muscle activity was relatively equivalent, your glutes will get a better workout on the cross-trainer, especially while going forward.  And even more importantly, the cross trainer (along with running and walking) is a weight bearing exercise, cycling is not.  So if you want to build bone mass, get off the exercise bike and get on the elliptical or cross trainer!

So a cross-training workout gives your body the intense, calorie bunring workout of running with the impact of walking.  It isn’t perceived by your body as hard, and in addition to shaping and toning your muscles, you are building bone mass.

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