Choosing An Elliptical Cross Trainer

What To Look For ?

Are you tired of stomping away on a treadmill? Looking for a lower impact, enjoyable way to work out? An elliptical cross trainer may be just what you are looking for. They offer a low-impact, fully customizable way to workout your entire body.
Choosing an elliptical cross trainer can be a little difficult with all the different options available. With the higher end models, you probably won’t go wrong with whatever you choose. I’d be a little careful with the cheaper models. If it feels cheap and doesn’t give you what you need, most likely it’s going to sit in the corner and collect dust. I want to help you choose the best one for your needs.

How To Choose An Elliptical Cross Trainer

When choosing an elliptical machine, I recommend looking into the following features. They aren’t all necessary, but you’ll find that they do make a difference.

Magnetic Resistance
The advantage of a machine with magnetic resistance, is that it makes for a very smooth, friction free, and silent workout. You won’t have to worry about extra parts wearing out. Many machines also offer a control panel that lets you easily adjust the resistance without interrupting your workout.

Stride Length
You’ll want to choose a model with an adjustable stride length. You don’t want a machine with anything less than a 13 inch stride length. Many are adjustable between 13 – 22 inches. The reason why I recommend adjustable stride length models is that different length workout different muscle groups. It’s nice to be able to target my thighs one day and other muscle groups on other days.

Some of the higher end elliptical cross trainer machines feature adjustable inclines. If you’ve ever used a treadmill then you are familiar how this works. It changes the intensity of the workout and also lets you target different muscle groups. Some models feature manually adjusting inclines. This means you have to stop your workout to make adjustments. Other models have automatic controls that will do this for you.

Control Panels
I like exercise equipment with control panels. I like to be able to set speed, time, incline, resistance, difficulty, etc. You usually get more features as you move up in price range. Some will record your workout data, measure pulse, calorie burn, etc. Others feature fun stuff like video games, TVs, iPod attachments, sound systems, and built in TVs.

Space Saving Design
This is my own preference after years of living with a bulky treadmill taking up valuable floor space in my basement. Compared to a treadmill, an elliptical cross trainer can take up much less space. Many models feature space saving designs that let you fold it up after use, so that it only takes up 3-4 square feet.

Upper-Body Resistance
This is one of the features that makes an elliptical cross trainer unique. Elliptical cross trainers typical feature arms that provide both balance and upper body workout. Typically the arms are connected to the lower body resistance mechanism. This allows you to push and pull with your arms at the same time as you are moving your legs. It works together for a very natural feeling full body workout.