Elliptical cross trainers offer a joint-gentle fitness training
Elliptical cross trainers are fitness machines for simulating the natural movement of walking, going, or running and seldomly of stair climbing as well. As the movement is guided on reails and the arms also play a great part in the movement, it is often compared to cross-country skiing. The training is very joint-gentle
, because the movement is guided and the feet are always on the treads. Strong treading like doing jogging is avoided on the elliptical cross trainer.
Elliptical cross trainers offer a joint-gentle cardiovascular trainin, which can reach from a light to very strong intensity. This intensity depends upon the speed of the user and the set resistance. The main work on an elliptical cross trainer is done by the large muscle groups in legs and gluteal muscles. By integrating the arms via the pendulum rods, the lower back and abs muscles and the shoulder girdle are demanded as well. Due to this additional muscle work, the training with an elliptical cross trainer stands for a whole body training.
The movement on an elliptical cross trainer is not only very joint-gentle but also very good for losing weight due to the high percentage of demanded muscles. Depending upon the intensity, you can burn up to 700 kcal per hour exercising with an elliptical cross trainer. And the training is quite easy, the movement is given and adapted to the natural movement of a human being. Thus, elliptical cross trainers have become the most popular fitness machines for home use and at professional training facilities since their invention in the 90s. This popularity caused a wide selection of models, whose differences we would like to explain within the scope of our purchase advice for elliptical cross trainers.
Elliptical cross trainer purchase advice
We start our elliptical cross trainer purchase advice with the most important questions how to limit the choice of your new elliptical cross trainer.
Who trains with the elliptical cross trainer?
The first question you should ask is that of the user. Who will use the elliptical cross trainer, what's the height of the biggest user? The taller the user, the bigger should be the stride length. The rule of thumb is: When the biggest user is taller than 175 cm, the stride length should be at least 50 cm. On principle: a higher stride length is mainly felt to be more comfortable by the most users
. When several users train with the machine, an elliptical cross trainer with adjustable stride length is recommended. These models have the further advantage that different running styles can be simulated. The elliptical cross trainer is similar to running: When you run, the steps are longer than for doing jogging.
A small stride width is more natural
Feet are close together for common walk of a person. Feet should also be close together on an elliptical cross trainer to ensure a comfortable, natural training. This measure of stride width is sometimes also described as Q-factor, pedal space or tread space. Please always pay attention to the stride width.
Due to the design, it's mainly the bigger (longer) machines offering a lower pedal space.
Expert tip – regarding the stride length of an elliptical cross trainer
Please keep elliptical cross trainers with an adjustable stride length in mind. It has severl advantages. On the one hand, several persons of different heights can comfortably use the elliptical cross trainer. On the other hand, the training with a stride length adjustment is more varied and can be adapted to the daily fitness. While a short stride length is rather similar to the movement of a stepper or stair climbing, a long stride length rather imitates jogging or cross-country skiing. The stride length adjustment can be done manually or electronically. In the meantime, there are also elliptical cross trainers with an infinitely variable adjustability.
Your elliptical cross trainer should be equipped with some different training programmes. It makes the training more varied and you can set new stimuli, if required.
Track your performance and your progress with a Watt control
The wattage of a fitness machine indicates the intensity respectively load of the training. When you have to do a medically prescribed training, you should mind that the training computer offers a Watt controlled programme - or that you by an elliptical cross trainer ergometer. Ergometers are all those fitness machines, which allow to set a constant wattage. The Watt controlled training sets an intensity, which is kept automatically. If you, i. e., step quicke, the brake force is reduced. Doing therapeutic training, an overload is prevented and doing common training at home, the own performance can be displayed with the wattage and performance progresses are better to understand in detail. You will already notice after some training sessions that you can increase the intensity and get quicker regenerated from higher loads.
Lose weight quicker with the elliptical cross trainer: heart rate and interval programmes
When you have training targets like fat burning or increase in stamina, the elliptical cross trainer needs to offer the option of heart rate control. Exercising at the right intensity, certain targets can be achieved more effectively
and the heart rate is still one of the best indicators for the training intensity.
We also want to recommend you to choose an elliptical cross trainer with interval programmes. Using these interval programmes, the phases of high load and regeneration alternate. Scientific studies have shown that the performance can be quicker increased with this training. You improve your fitness quicker with these programmes and lose weight more effectively - for performance-oriented sportsmen a must!
Train more comfortably: Elliptical cross trainer equipment
Many elliptical cross trainers are equipped with small extras, which make the training more comfortable
. When you know that your training will take longer a cup holder is great extra. You do not have to get off when you are thirsty. There shouuld also be a small holder at the display - i. e., for placing your mobile phone or a book. Absorbed treads (cushion pads) are very comfortable for your feet and thanks to transport wheels, your fitness machine can be easily moved after the training.
What are the dimensions of elliptical cross trainers?
It's the same for elliptical crosstrainers as for purchasing furniture: measure first. We indicate the set-up dimensions of elliptical cross trainers for you on our product pages. You should always add some centimeters to all sides, because the machine has mobile parts. The maximum pedal height is very important.
The training zone does not end at the pedal arms, but at your head. Thus, add about 30 cm to your height - that should be the height of the ceiling at the place of set-up.
The weight of the balance mass is not that important
The balance mass is the weight plate, which you drive by your movement and what effects the brake system. Thus, the training resistance is generated. We are often asked for the balance mass of an elliptical cross trianer, because formerly it was said: The heavier the balance mass, the better is the movement with an elliptical cross trainer. Due to technical developments of joints and brake system, those values are no longer decisive. Thus many manufacturers partially no longer indicated the weight of the balance mass.
Expert tip regarding the balance mass of elliptical cross trainers
While the weight of the balance mass of the elliptical cross trainer is no longer very essential, a test of the institute for bio mechanics in sport at the TU Munich (11/2015) has stated that elliptical cross trainers, whose balance mass is above the treads, offer a higher calory consumption and provide thus quicker success in losing weight.
Sport-Tiedje test rating: elliptical cross trainer
Sport-Tiedje puts every fitness machine through its paces. Then our team of sports scientists, athletes, and service technicians evaluates the product according to different categories. Using the Sport-Tiedje test rating, you can compare the products easier and we offer you another point of view regarding the choice of elliptical cross trainers. We divide our test rating of elliptical cross trainers in four categories:
The equipment of an elliptical cross trainer includes the flywheel unit, the brake system, the training computer (display, programmes, etc.), and extras like transport wheels, holders, etc.. A good equipment makes the training more varied and more comfortable. The pulse measuring and watt control make your training more effective.
Innovation is a special topic of the Sport-Tiedje test rating of elliptical cross trainers. Here, we only judge machines which are made distinct by technical innovations, which are really important for the further development of elliptical cross trainers. The better the test rating of elliptical cross trainers, the more advanced is the machine.
The resistance system, the transmission ratio, and the stride length as well as width and stride height contribute to the concentric run. If an elliptical cross trainer provides a good concentric run, the training is very joint-gentle and the muscle activity is distinctively increased.
The stability of the elliptical cross trainer is achieved with sturdy feet, a high own weight, and a stable frame built. A stable elliptical cross trainer is durable - and it is safe for exhausting training sessions and offers a higher weight loadability.
Conclusion elliptical cross trainer purchase advice
We hope to support you in deciding for the right elliptical cross trainer with our tips. However, if you still have questions, just visit one or our stores and test the machines on site or be adviced by phone, email or our live chat by our international service team!
Training tips for elliptical cross trainers
We do not only want to help you purchasing the right elliptical cross trainer but also to achieve success with the elliptical cross trainer. We want to show you with our elliptical cross trainer tips how to train correctly, that means more comfortably and more effectively and how to avoid the most frequent mistakes.
The correct hand position on the elliptical cross trainer
The movement of the arms is one of the big advantages of cross training. In order to get the maximum out of the training and to train your back muscles optimally, the correct posture of the hands is important: Hold the bars loosely and a part of the movement is done via the wrists. The wrists should only take part in the correct movement to a minimum. Always grasp the handles with the whole hand. Let hand and forearm build a line. The movements should take place in shoulders and the crook of the arm. On the other hand many users tend to use the arms very actively and with a lot of pressure from the beginning. This might be an interesting option for effective elliptical cross trainer training later on, i. e., when you want to focus your workout on the torso. But it's mainly important for beginners to do the movement on the elliptical cross trainer correctly while exercising. Your muscles, tendons and joints have time to get used to the exercises.
Stand correctly on the elliptical cross trainer
When you train, the torso should be upright and you stand as natural as possible. Do not make a hollow back and do not bend in the hips. While training, the legs should not be completely stretched but always be slightly bent. At the beginning pay consciously attention to a correct training position, then you will get used to it after a short time.
The optimal foot position
If you are not one of the fashion models or a straddle-legged cowboys, the inner space of your feet should be very small. In order to use the small tread space of an elliptical cross trainer correctly, you should place your feet as inwards as possible.
Keep contact to the floor while exercising
Do not deprive your fitness machine one of its biggest advantages: elliptical cross trainer training is super, because it is joint-gentle. The reason is that the feet always keep contact to the floor. If your heel comes up a bit, it's absolutely normal. It always depends a bit from the incline of the treads while doing an elliptical cross trainer training. In any case, avoid to stand on the front ball of foot or the toes while training with the elliptical cross trainer.