Another great piece of gym equipment that allows you to work your cardiovascular system without having a high impact on your joints is the cross trainer. This is relatively new piece of exercise equipment that was designed in the mid 90s and it provides the low impact but tough workout that an exercise bike with the added benefit of working the upper body also. The cross trainer is a great option for a full body workout and there are many great options in the market that are pretty affordable.
The cross trainer simulates walking or running with the added benefit of having handles to work your upper body also. So what is the big difference between this and walking/running outside or on a treadmill? Well the cross trainer takes all the hard impacts of walking and running (especially on concrete) out of the exercise. For those of you with knee or hip issues or even lower back issues this can be a great piece of equipment that will allow you to push yourself to the max without aggravating your joints.
Things to look for when purchasing a cross trainer:
- Front drive or rear drive
- Weight of flywheel
- Length of pedals
- Weight of the machine
- Extra features (workouts etc)
Front Drive or Rear Drive:
As there are many good (and bad) cross trainer options on the market it is important to know what to look for when shopping around. Cross trainers come with either a front drive or rear drive system. Both systems use a flywheel to create the resistance but a rear drive system can allow for a more cross country skiing like motion with the front drive feeling more like a stairs climbing motion. The front drive systems are usually more compact than the rear drive trainers so if you are stuck for space this is something to bare in mind. In saying that usually both front and rear drive cross trainers can be folded and stored away when not in use.
Weight of Flywheel:
As a rule of thumb the heavier the flywheel then the smoother the experience of the cross trainer. A flywheel should weigh more than 5kg as the weight is what makes the flywheel turn more efficiently. If you are serious or professional athlete then you may want a much heavier flywheel of more than 10kg to get the best workout from your cross trainer.
Length of Pedals:
This is a fairly obvious thing to look out for but some of the cheaper options have small pedals so it is important to make sure the pedals are big enough for you on the model you are interested in. If you have big feet then of course you should look for a cross trainer with bigger pedals. This seems obvious but many people would not think to check!
Weight of the Machine:
The weight of the machine will indicate the quality of the cross trainer. A good cross trainer should weigh more than 40kg. Just make sure that your floor can take the weight of the trainer as well as yourself as this could be an expensive mistake! The machine needs to be heavy enough so as to not move around when in use.
Programs and Other Features:
A good cross trainer will have built in programs and some of the top models will also have a built in video map. Even a decent basic cross trainer however should display information such as calories burned, speed, distance and time spent using the machine. Top of the line and commercial models will have built in TVs so if you want to go all out this of course is a great benefit and will keep the bordem away when doing your workout.
The cross trainer is a great machine for low impact exercise along with the exercise bike and rowing machine. Take the pressure off your joints and give yourself a great workout with any of these machines.