ross trainers, also known as elliptical trainers, are one of the best pieces of gym equipment you can purchase for home workouts. They are reasonably priced, don’t take up much room, and provide a varied workout that you can do at your own pace.
The cross trainer is a stationary exercise machine that can be used to walk, climb or run. They work both your upper and lower body simultaneously, so you get a full-body workout with each session. They also make an excellent low-impact alternative to the treadmill as it puts less pressure on your joints. Regular cross-trainer sessions can help strengthen your muscle and bone density.
They’re also a highly safe piece of equipment to use, especially at home. The machine will set the resistance, but the speed is all down to you and your movement. There are no buttons to press or chords to pull to get it to stop working. If you feel you need to stop at any point, you can do so by simply not moving.
Why work out at home, not a gym?
Gyms are great, dedicated spaces to work out, but they require a different level of motivation. Working out at home means you can hop on your cross trainer at a time that suits you. You don’t have to travel to the gym or find a babysitter. If you’re ready to work out, you can go for it. Also, working out at home will save you from paying out expensive monthly memberships, and you’ll be able to concentrate solely on your workout rather than being distracted by everyone else in the gym.
What are the benefits of using a cross-trainer?
Cross trainers are simple but highly effective. They have a whole host of benefits and way too many for us to go through here, but we will list just a few. For a start, they target more sets of muscles than any other machine. That’s right, your biceps, triceps, legs, thighs, pectorals, buttocks, and abdomen muscles all get a good workout, all at the same time.
Plus, how hard or gentle you work is entirely up to you. There are no set rules. Just make sure that you mix up intensities to make sure you’re getting the best workout for your body. Most modern cross-trainers have built-in programs such as hills and intervals, so changing up your activity could be as easy as pressing a button.
Cross trainers are excellent for heart health. They offer an aerobic exercise that can strengthen your heart muscles and improve cardiorespiratory fitness. You may also see a significant improvement in your breathing capacity. Doing at least an hour of cardio exercise three times a week can improve lung capacity. Even if you hop on for a short period of time a couple of times a week, you’ll quickly start to notice a difference in your overall fitness levels, and what you found difficult before will begin to feel a whole lot easier.
And we can’t forget about mental health, exercise serotonin and endorphins leaving you feeling more energetic and a lot less stressed out. Plus, you’ll sleep better, and we all know if we sleep better, we feel better.
How to choose a cross-trainer
There are a wide variety of cross trainers out there for you to choose from. But one thing is for sure, they all work in the same way even though they may have different settings. The most important things to look out for are:
Stride length: This will determine whether you can walk, run or jog on your cross-trainer.
Resistance: The resistance levels will determine you what you have to push against when working out, and generally, the higher the resistance, the better workout you’ll get. Resistance will typically be either belt or magnetic. Some cross trainers have a digital resistance that the press of a button can control, and this is great if you’re planning to follow on-demand classes or fitness app workouts.
Flywheel weight: This makes all the difference in how well your machine will run, and like spin bikes, the heavier the flywheel weight is, the better and smoother the workout.
Also, make sure you take note of the size of the cross-trainer. Cross trainers are a lot more compact than other at-home gym equipment, but you’re still going to need enough room for manoeuvre.
Are there any classes to follow?
Most modern cross trainers have built-in programs that you can follow to make sure you get the best workout. However, if you want a guided workout, there are plenty of videos to follow on YouTube and a host of fitness apps on the Apple and Google Play store.
Cross trainers are a perfect way to workout, so we’ve put together a list of the best cross trainers on the market to help you pick the perfect one for you.
NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i
Best for: all-rounder
This NordicTrack cross trainer is a high-end machine that is naturally reflected in the price. It has 22 levels of resistance, an 8kg flywheel and an 0-8º power incline.
If you lack space, then no need to worry about this cross trainer. It has a vertical foldaway design, so just fold it and store it once you’re done.
This cross trainer is an immersive experience. You get a one-year iFit membership included with your purchase which gives you access to the full range of NordicTrack classes, which means over 18,000 classes such as yoga, treadmill, spin, pilates and more. When you take a cross-trainer class, your trainer will auto-adjust your incline and resistance for a tough and challenging workout. If you don’t fancy taking a class, 24 pre-set workout apps have been designed with certified personal trainers. You also get real-time performance stats which will help keep you motivated.
This treadmill has a silent magnetic resistance, so you won’t disturb members of your household if you want to sneak in an early morning session. Some other features that this cross trainer from NordicTrack has is a 5” backlit display, a wireless pulse monitor, one-touch controls and a built-in auto breeze training fan which adjust its intensity to support yours and keeps cool throughout your session.
JLL® CT300 Home Luxury Elliptical Cross Trainer
Best for: budget friendly
The JLL CT300 is perfect for those who have limited space. It has a 5.5kg flywheel which is also two way meaning you can pedal in both directions and work more muscles. It has magnetic resistance, which is belt-driven, so it is smooth and quiet when in use. There are eight levels of resistance that can be adjusted by twisting the easy to reach resistance dial. It has dual action handlebars, so you can hold on to the stationary central handlebars or give your arms a workout by holding the side handlebars, which move side to side.
This cross trainer is made using a solid steel frame, so it will feel very stable when in use. It has an integrated tablet holder which can be used to stream workout classes or pop your favourite movie on to pass the time whilst you workout.
York 7000 Series XI Elliptical Cross Trainer
Best for: a heavy wheel
This cross trainer has a 13.5kg heavyweight flywheel which will give a smooth and powerful workout. There’s a long stride of 20″, which is ideal for taller users and will allow you to run and jog with ease. There are 40 levels of digital magnetic resistance, so you can really push yourself with this cross-trainer. 26 built-in programs can be used, whatever your ability levels.
You can set up to seven user profiles, so perfect if other members of your household are using it, but you still want up to date and accurate workout stats. There are hand pulse sensors on the handlebars so you can ensure you’re working out in your maximum heart zone. It has a built-in sound system so you can plug your music in and get going. There is also an integrated tablet holder, USB charging port and a water bottle holder.
Pro Fitness XTS2000 2 in 1 Cross Trainer
Best for: 2-in-1
If you’ve been torn between getting a bike and a cross-trainer, then you’re in luck with this 2-in-1 Pro Fitness cross-trainer. It combines an upright bike and cross trainer in one machine. It has a 6kg flywheel with a 13” length stride. It uses an electromagnetic resistance system and has 21 user programs for a varied workout. There are 16 levels of tension control so that you can get a pretty tough workout with this machine. It comes with a primary digital display that will display heart rate, speed, distance, calories and time. This 2-in-1 cross trainer is ideal if you want a range of equipment but don’t want to sacrifice the space.
Reebok ZJET 460 Bluetooth Cross Trainer
Best for: Bluetooth
If you want a challenging workout, then the Reebok ZJET 460 Bluetooth Cross Trainer will deliver. It has an electronic resistance system with 24 levels of resistance. This is a Bluetooth enabled trainer, which gives you the benefit of planning routes via Google Maps so you cover the area in a simulated reality. This keeps things a bit more exciting and will help to motivate you by allowing you to set constant fresh challenges. But if you want just to hop on and enjoy a pre-set program, then there are 19 workout programs so you can push yourself to different limits each time.
The 9kg flywheel is very smooth and quiet, offering a comfortable workout. It has a generous 15” stride so if you’re on the taller side, this will be a comfortable ride. There is no excuse to slack off, thanks to the 5.5″ backlit LCD, which lets you monitor your speed, time, distance, calories, pulse, heart rate and RPM in real-time. It has a strong, solid frame, so you’ll feel confident even when you’re giving it your all.
Best for: a compact option
This cross trainer may be sleek and compact, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get a really good workout on it. It has eight levels of adjustable resistance and an interactive trainer on hand to maximise your output. This machine has a dual crank system which gives you five workouts in one machine. So as well as cross-training, you can also cycle, run, or stair climb. There are 17 different burn paths in total meaning you will shed a lot more calories. It has a basic display that will show you RPM, calories, distance, speed and time. It’s pretty quiet, just make sure it’s set up on an even floor or a gym mat; otherwise, you may experience some rattling and vibration.
Cardio HIIT trainer
Best for: resistance
This Cardio HIIT trainer is one of the best ways to burn more calories and tone up your muscles. It combines a 10-inch vertical elliptical stepping path with powerful, upper-body punching actions. You will activate muscles using this machine that you didn’t know you had. Your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, biceps, and triceps will all be tackled in one simple workout. It has 24 resistance levels which can be adjusted using the central console.
This machine is smaller than a regular cross-trainer. Iin fact, half the size, so if you’re lacking space but still want a belter of a workout session, then it’s a perfect choice. It features a 7″ Backlit LCD, displaying intensity, speed, time, distance, calories and pulse rate. It is iFit compatible, so you can hop on this machine and transport yourself to wherever you want in the world via the power of Google Maps. It will automatically adjust the incline to recreate trails for a more realistic experience. 32 pre-set workout apps are categorised into speed, incline, intensity and calorie goals.
Bluefin Fitness CURV 3.0
Best for: gym grade
This cross trainer has a 14kg flywheel which is self-powering and completely silent. It comes with 12 built-in training programs with 16 levels of manual resistance. This cross trainer has a long stride, so you can run, walk or jog with it. The pedals are oversized and have a non-slip coating which is ideal to vary your stride. There is an LCD console that will measure time, distance, calories burned and pulse.
This cross trainer arrives fully assembled, so you need to find a place to put it, and away you go. It also benefits from wheels on the base so you can move it out of the way when not in use, ideal if you’re using it in a shared space. It has a dual handlebar design so you can focus on your upper abdominal and lower muscle groups just by changing where you place your hands.
But one of our favourite things about this cross trainer is the integrated smartphone app function. This cross trainer is compatible with the Kinomap fitness app, which features thousands of workout videos so you can follow a structured class and get the most out of your workout.
NordicTrack FreeStride FS10i Elliptical
Best for: streaming capabilities
The NordicTrack FreeStride FS10i Ellipticalhas an impressive 9kg flywheel which is powered by silent magnetic resistance. There’s an 81cm auto-adjustable stride, so whether you prefer to walk, job or climb, you can do it on this machine. It appeals to all fitness levels with 24 digital resistance levels and a 0-10% incline. This cross trainer from NordicTrack comes complete with one year’s membership to iFit. iFit will give you access to studio workouts, so you’ll feel like you are at the gym in the comfort of your own home. Plus, you get access to elite trainer sessions, which will transport you to various places around the world. And to make sure you get a full workout, resistance and incline will be digitally adjusted to match the global terrain. It has a 10” smart HD touchscreen attached, which will stream all the studio workouts, but thanks to the Bluetooth capabilities, you can stream it onto a larger screen if you prefer. This cross trainer is all about comfort too, and there’s an auto breeze workout fan that will up its intensity to match your workout, ensuring that you never overheat.
Cubii Junior Under Desk Elliptical Pedal Exerciser
Best for: under desk
If you don’t have time to hit the gym or you find that you’re just too tired after work, then we think we’ve found the perfect solution. This under-desk elliptical pedal exerciser can work your quads, hamstring, calves, glutes, hip flexors, abs and core. It has an impressive eight levels of adjustable resistance, and they claim you can burn up to 150 calories per hour. This mini cross trainer offers the same low impact workout as a full-sized machine. A built-in display monitors progress in real-time and will track calories, time, RPM, strides, and distance. This is a basic machine, there’s no motor or Bluetooth, but it still gives a good workout and is ideal for those who are perhaps recovering from an injury.
Cross trainers are an excellent way to get your cardio hit at home and save on expensive gym memberships. When it comes to home gym equipment, people often overlook the cross trainer in favour of bikes and treadmills. But cross trainers can offer a comprehensive and varied workout, toning more muscle groups in the process.
The NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i is the ideal cross-trainer for use at home. It’s great if you lack space as it folds away vertically when not in use. It has a great stride strength of 18” so you can walk, run or jog. There is also a great resistance range of between 0 and 24, so it will suit many fitness levels. It is a little expensive, but when you consider getting the year free membership to iFit and a solid, durable machine, we think it’s well worth it.
If you are looking for something a bit kinder on the pocket, then the Pro Fitness XTS2000 2 in 1 cross trainer is another top pick. Not only are you getting a cross-trainer but a stationary bike too, and all in one machine. Perfect if you want to switch up your workouts but don’t have the space or budget for two machines.