Cross Trainer Guides

Elliptical machines or ‘cross trainers’ are one of our favourite exercise machines on Home Gym Experts. There are a number of reasons for this; they’re suitable for all levels of experience and fitness, easy to get into without any experience, they’re a lot of fun to use and you get this great full-body workout. Pulling, pushing and striding make for a very efficient way to get in shape! They build your upper and lower body strength, your endurance and your cardio fitness. In this section, you can learn everything there is to know about this awesome bit of gym gear and find a machine that’s perfect for you.

Which Elliptical?

Which is Better Treadmill or Elliptical

Which is Better Treadmill or Elliptical

Treadmills, ellipticals and cross trainers are easily some of our favourite bits of gym gear on Home Gym Experts. If you’re trying to decide which one you should buy for your home or garage gym,

What’s The Best 2-in-1 Cross Trainer Bike?

Cross trainers offer a superb way to tone just about every major muscle in your body, without putting any impact on your joints. The smooth elliptical motion means there’s no hard end ‘bump’ to each

Elliptical Reviews

NordicTrack Freestride FS14i - featured img

NordicTrack Freestride FS14i Review

What is the NordicTrack Freestride FS14i Explaining the Nordictrack FS14i is surprisingly complicated. It’s elliptical, except it’s also far more. It’s a treadmill, sort of, as well as a stepper. On top of that, there

NordicTrack FreeStride FS7i Review

NordicTrack FreeStride FS7i Review

Welcome to our NordicTrack FS7i review. It looks like it something from a sci-fi show on Netflix, but does Nordic’s hybrid cross trainer have the chops to back it up? In this review, we’ll cover

JTX Tri-Fit Review

JTX Tri-Fit Trainer Review: A Good Home Elliptical?

Review Summary Tri-Fit Elliptical Near commercial build quality Display console is superb Works with Kinomap Smooth and comfortable Large footprint “Overall, a solid entry into the home cross trainer market. The Tri-Fit is big, solid

Branx Fitness X-Fit Cross Trainer Review

Branx Fitness X-Fit Cross Trainer Review

Review Summary X-Fit Cross Trainer Solid and well-made Good value for money Nice, weighty flywheel Simple controls and great display panel No online connectivity “While there’s no online options, there’s a really good quality elliptical

Niceday Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

Niceday Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

Welcome to this review of the Niceday Elliptical machine (For sale on Amazon). In the next few scrolls we’ll cover everything you need to know about this cross trainer including who it’s best for, what

Bluefin Fitness Curv 2.0 Review

Bluefin Fitness Curv 2.0 Review

Review Summary Curv 2.0 Heavy-duty 12kg flywheel Robust and stable Works with Kinomap Easy assembly Screen could be improved “A solid elliptical with a suitably heavy flywheel with plenty of resistance. The LCD display could

Nordictrack C5.5 Review

Nordictrack C5.5 Review

Thanks for checking out our NordicTrack C5.5 review – a comprehensive overview of this popular elliptical cross trainer. As always we’ll cover everything you need to know about this elliptical – including our opinion on

Sportstech CX640 review

Sportstech CX640 review

Today we’re taking a deep-dive into the SportsTech CX640 elliptical trainer, a mid-priced cross trainer available in the UK from Amazon and other retailers. We’ll be covering everything you need to know before you buy

Sportstech LCX800 Cross Trainer Review

Today I got the chance to check one of the more luxurious ellipticals on the market today and in this Sportstech LCX800 review (available Amazon) you’ll get to read what I thought it. So far,

Sportstech CX2 Review

Sportstech CX2 Cross Trainer Review

Welcome our SportsTech CX2 Review (Available Amazon UK). Considering SportsTech came out of nowhere just a few years ago they’ve created some incredible training gear. In this review we’re looking at one of their elliptical

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS5i Review

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS5i Review

Welcome to our NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS5i review. We’ll be looking at what this elliptical cross trainer does, where it excels and the things it doesn’t do so well. In this review we’ll cover everything

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS9i Review

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS9i Review

Welcome to our NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS9i review. I think I’m correct in saying this is the first NordicTrack product we’ve had the chance to give our opinion on and we were excited to see

JTX Zenith Elliptical

JTX Zenith Best Price & Full Overview Guide

In this guide we’re checking out a rowing machine called the JTX Zenith. It’s made by JTX Fitness and uses air for resistance. We’ll be digging deep into what’s this machine has to offer, and

XS Pro Review

XS Pro Cross Trainer Review

We love cross trainers on Home Gym Experts. Why? They offer one of the best forms of exercise, working a ton of muscles at once, building up cardio and fitness and there’s no impact on

Getting Started - Cross Trainer Guides

Can an elliptical tone your legs - featured img

Will A Cross Trainer Tone Your Legs?

Toned legs are a hallmark of fitness, so it is no wonder that they are on most people’s list of body goals. In this post, we are going to look at the benefits of using

10 Disadvantages of Elliptical trainers - featured image

10 Disadvantages of Elliptical Trainers

An elliptical trainer, AKA a cross trainer, is a cardio machine that will help you to burn calories and condition your muscles. In past posts, we have talked about the benefits of ellipticals – from

Reebok Cross Trainers

Reebok Cross Trainers

If you’ve not come across them yet, the Reebok cross trainers (Available on Amazon UK) are a family of elliptical machines with a good set of features and a respectably low price tag. This guide

UK Cross Trainers in Stock

Which UK Stores Have Cross Trainers In Stock?

In this short guide, we’re looking at where you can find good quality cross trainers during the UK Coronavirus situation. As with most gym gear at the moment, elliptical machines are in shorter supply due

Cross Trainer with a Screen

You Have To See This Cross Trainer with a Screen

NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 with 10″ touch screen If you haven’t discovered the benefits of using a cross trainer yet, now might be the time. Get an all-over body workout without any impact to your joints.

The BIG Elliptical Trainer Starter Guide

Ellipticals, sometimes also called cross trainers, are a common sight in gyms and health clubs around the country.

They’re so popular because they combine hard cardio workouts; working most of the major muscle groups in your body, with a lot of support.

Unlike with a treadmill, your body is in constant contact at all times, feet sitting comfortably on oversize pedals, so there’s much less force put on your body, especially your hips and knees.

Ellipticals are great for:

  • Low impact, body safe cardio
  • Working your whole body at once
  • Burning a lot of calories (up to 450 calories per hour)
  • Improving balance
  • Rehabilitation after a long term injury

Ellipticals might not be so good if:

  • You’re looking to increase muscle mass
  • You’re particularly short or large

What is the difference between an elliptical and a cross trainer?

In the fitness industry, ellipticals and cross trainers tend to be synonymous terms, ie, they’re used pretty much interchangeably.

Now, this isn’t strictly true, but it’s so close that it might as well be. The main difference between an elliptical and a cross trainer is that, on a cross trainer, the arms move backwards and forwards. That’s really the only major difference.

What are the different types of elliptical machine?

Every day ellipticals

A standard elliptical machine has a set of movable pedals and a handlebar that you hold on to as you exercise. This means that ellipticals only really work the muscles in your lower body.

Because of the limitations, ellipticals like this are slowly being phased out. It’s far more common to see cross trainers as standard.

Elliptical cross trainers

The major difference between an elliptical and a cross trainer is that the cross trainer has large vertical handlebars that you hold on to, which move backwards and forwards as you exercise, working your arms and upper body as well as your lower half.

Front, rear and centre drive ellipticals

Defined by the location of their drive system; which drives the foot wells, each type has a different feel in use and will change the way it affects your body.

Front drive systems are slowly becoming more common, and put a lot of emphasis on vertical movement. This can make them feel closer to a stepper or stair climber, and means they work the lower body hard.

Rear drive ellipticals are the original design, which is slowly being phased out. Rear drive ellipticals tend to have a lengthier stride.

Centre drive ellipticals have a flywheel (or pair) in the centre of the machine, with the pedals moving backwards and forwards past them. This tends towards a more flexible stride, which is why high quality centre drive ellipticals tend to be the most expensive.

How much do ellipticals cost?

Budget machines

A budget elliptical designed for home use tends to be around £100 to £200.

At this price range, expect a simple machine that runs through basic motions, at limited ranges of resistance.

A system like this is really only designed for occasional use. If you plan on seriously training, consider stepping up to the low end of mid-range models.

Example budget ellipticals include:

The best budget ellipticals for under £200

Sportstech DFX100 Stepper

Mid-range machines

At anything from £200 to under £1000, the mid-range price bracket on ellipticals is expansive, with a lot of variation between different models and brands.

It’s common to see a step towards magnetic resistance here, as well as a better frame, higher user weight limit, and on the higher levels, smaller screens that are ready for interactive fitness apps.

Example mid range ellipticals include:

JTX Tri-Fit

Bluefin Fitness CURV 2.0

Commercial Style Ellipticals

Like all commercial exercise gear, commercial grade ellipticals are built with the same level of quality and care as a luxury car, and as tough as a tank.

Expect immovable frames and high-quality surrounds, packed with high-tech touchscreens and excellent sound systems, as well as other tech like heart rate sensors and interactive fitness apps built in as standard.

Also expect to pay a premium for these services, with prices upwards of £1500 for some of the best models out there as standard.

Example commercial quality ellipticals include:

NordicTrack FreeStride FS7i

How much should you spend on an elliptical?

The amount you should spend on an elliptical depends almost entirely on what you plan to use it for.

In general, we would avoid budget models, as they’re just not going to be strong or stable enough for a hard workout, and they tend to have a short lifespan, because of the cheap materials and weak construction.

For most people, a mid-range model will have more than enough features to give you a good workout, especially as you start to look at the upper price ranges.

We would lean towards a commercial level model if if we were investing for the future, or were buying for the whole family, as a lot of these will have fitness planners for multiple family members built into the price.

FAQs

Are ellipticals good for exercise?

Yes. Ellipticals are a fantastic form of cardio exercise, especially if you’re directly comparing them to other types of exercise like treadmills and bikes.

An elliptical works almost every muscle in your body, burns a lot of calories, and are also a safe and relatively low impact form of exercise that doesn’t overstress your body.

Because they work almost all of the major muscle groups, ellipticals are also fantastic if you’re looking to lose weight, burning up to 450 calories per hour with just moderate effort.

Are ellipticals bad for your joints?

No, absolutely not. Ellipticals are actually one of the lowest impact form of cardio there is, because your body is in contact with, and constantly supported by, the exercise machine at every point.

This means that there are no heavy impacts on your joints, especially your knees, ankles and hips, and you’re not likely to suffer from long term issues if you use an elliptical as your main form of cardio.

This makes exercise equipment like this a great choice if you’re older, in recovery from a previous injury, or otherwise might struggle with cycling or running on a treadmill.

What is magnetic resistance in an elliptical?

Magnetic resistance, sometimes also called silent magnetic resistance (SMR) is a term for the way a specific machine generates the resistance you need for a good workout.

Unsurprisingly, SMR uses a series of magnets arrayed around the flywheel to provide its resistance, adjusting distance to increase or decrease it as needed.

If you’ve ever fought to pull a big magnet off of metal, you know how strong the resistance can be, and the rare earth magnets used the in the construction of exercise machines like this are incredibly powerful.

Not only does this provide a lot of generated resistance, it’s also a lot smoother and more comfortable, as there are no touching parts like you’d find in older, friction powered systems.

They’re also a whole lot quieter, commonly with the only sound the whooshing of the flywheel as it turns around, which everyone else in your home will thank you for.

If your budget allows it, always buy an elliptical that uses magnetic resistance.

Is a mini elliptical good exercise?

The answer to this depends on what you mean by ‘good exercise.’ A mini, under-desk elliptical can definitely help you burn calories, but they’re not a substitute for real cardio.

On average, you burn around 150 calories per hour using a mini elliptical, rather than the 300 plus that you burn on a full sized model. While this is a great supplement for a real workout plan, it’s not a substitute.

How do I know my stride length?

An elliptical’s stride length is the total range of motion its pedals have, and it should mimic your natural walking stride as closely as it can.

Most ellipticals are designed to accommodate most users, but if you’re particularly short or tall, you might struggle to comfortably use an elliptical correctly.

The most common stride length on an elliptical is 18 to 20 inches. This is generally more than enough for anyone who is between 5-6ft.

If you’re a little taller, you may need to look for cross trainers that are specifically built for people with a large stride.