Cross Trainer Vs Elliptical? All You Need To Know

cross trainer

The most popular cardio machines in gyms and at home are the cross trainer and elliptical trainer. The difference between them is a widespread misperception.

There is a misconception that one has stationary handlebars while the other has moving handlebars. In actuality, the cross trainer and elliptical are identical.

Simply said, they go by different names depending on whatever country you are in! Generally speaking, the UK refers to this as a cross trainer, whereas other regions of the world refer to it as an elliptical trainer.

A Brief History

Precor first offered ellipticals and cross trainers in 1990. The Elliptical Fitness Cross Trainer (EFX) was created, allowing the foot to roll from heel to toe to mimic the motion of running.

The smooth, elliptical motion produced by this innovative system would lessen the strain on tendons and joints. The developers would categorize this strategy as low impact.

Why are Cross Trainers called Ellipticals?

The motion that a cross trainer makes is referred to as the “elliptical” motion. The route of a point on a floating link follows an ellipse shape, according to the first study on path, which was published in 1988. With a cross trainer, pedaling backwards and forwards produces an elliptical shape.


As mentioned there isn’t a difference between an elliptical vs cross trainer. But there are certainly different types of elliptical machines.

Different types of Elliptical Cross Trainers

Elliptical Trainers Different Types

On the market, there are numerous varieties of cross trainers (or elliptical trainers!). front drive and rear drive are most frequently used. The two different models are distinguished by the location of the flywheel on the machine; both have a similar feel; it just comes down to personal preference.

Making the most of your elliptical and cross trainer

It is best to hold the handrails lightly and evenly transfer your weight between the foot pedals and the handrails when utilizing a cross trainer. By doing this, the user gains balance and receives a balanced, whole-body workout.

Put extra weight on the foot pedal and use the resistance to work the legs’ muscles if you want to concentrate on your lower body. In contrast, using the handlebar resistance concentrates on the arms and shoulders.


It offers a dual-action movement that isolates certain leg muscles. The action is comparable to walking or running; moving forward stimulates the hamstrings more, while moving backward engages the quads.

Moreover, they have handlebars that can move and remain stationary. For stability or for people with poor coordination, one can hold onto the stationary handlebars.

For more advanced users or those looking to maximize their workout, they can use the moving handlebars. When pushing these backward and forwards simultaneously with the foot pedals you work muscles in the upper body such as the arms, chest and shoulders. ebars it focuses on the arms and shoulders.

In the end, the cross trainer and elliptical trainer (whatever name you like!) offer a fantastic entire body workout that is considerably kinder on the joints than other gym equipment. They are also simple to transport around your home thanks to their shape. But, there are other drawbacks to elliptical trainers, which we go into great depth about.

Best Cross Trainer

Cross Trainer

The greatest elliptical trainers and cross trainers are designed to provide you a full-body, low-impact workout at home. Both novice and experienced users can benefit from them for a cardiovascular workout. In the end, there isn’t a distinction between them; it only depends on what you want to label it.

Health Benefits

Cross trainers and ellipticals are excellent for improving overall cardiovascular health. These machines provide a full-body workout that can help improve endurance, boost metabolism, and increase energy levels.

One major benefit of using them is that it provides a low-impact workout.

This means that there is less strain on the joints, which can be especially beneficial for those with arthritis or other joint problems. Additionally, this makes it a great option for individuals who are recovering from an injury or surgery and need a low-impact exercise option.

Another benefit is that cross trainers and ellipticals offer a full-body workout. The pedaling motion works the lower body, including the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, while the handlebars work the upper body, including the arms, shoulders, and chest. This makes it an effective way to burn calories and improve overall muscle tone.

health benefits of elliptical

Using a cross trainer or elliptical can also improve balance and coordination. Because the user is required to maintain balance while pedaling, it can help improve proprioception, which is the ability to sense the position of one’s body in space. This can help reduce the risk of falls, especially in older adults.

Regular use of a cross trainer or elliptical can also have positive effects on mental health. Exercise has been shown to release endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress levels. This can lead to improved mental health and overall well-being.

In addition to comparing cross trainers and ellipticals, this article also provides insights into which piece of equipment, a mini stepper or a mini elliptical, might be better suited for your at-home workout routine.


Cross Trainer vs elliptical

Can you lose weight with a cross trainer/elliptical trainer?

Yes, using a cross trainer/elliptical trainer is an effective way to burn calories and lose weight. These machines offer a low-impact workout that can help you burn calories without putting unnecessary stress on your joints. The amount of calories burned will depend on several factors, including your weight, age, and fitness level. To maximize weight loss, it’s important to vary the intensity of your workouts and incorporate resistance training.

Are there any drawbacks to using it?

One potential drawback to using them is that it can become repetitive, leading to boredom and a lack of motivation.

Additionally, it may not provide as much muscle building as other gym equipment, such as weightlifting machines.

How do I choose the best cross-trainer or elliptical for me?

When choosing the best cross trainer or elliptical for you, consider factors such as your fitness goals, budget, and available space. Look for models with adjustable resistance, comfortable foot pedals, and durable construction. Reading reviews and trying out machines in person can also be helpful.

How often should I use my cross trainer or elliptical?

To see the most benefits, it is recommended to use your cross trainer or elliptical at least three times per week for 20-30 minutes per session. However, the frequency and duration of your workouts may depend on your fitness goals and overall fitness level.

Are there any safety precautions I should take?

To use a cross trainer or elliptical safely, always start with a warm-up and stretch before beginning your workout. Use proper form and maintain good posture throughout your workout. Additionally, make sure the machine is on a level surface and wear appropriate workout clothing and footwear.

Are they suitable for people with knee or joint problems?

Yes, cross trainers/elliptical trainers are often recommended for people with knee or joint problems. These machines provide a low-impact workout that puts minimal stress on your joints, making them a good option for people with arthritis, knee pain, or other joint problems. However, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to avoid aggravating your condition.


While they may be known by different names, they provide an effective low-impact workout for individuals looking to improve their cardiovascular health, build endurance, and tone their muscles.

Whether you prefer to use the moving handlebars or the stationary ones, the dual-action movement of the elliptical/cross trainer works multiple muscle groups in the upper and lower body simultaneously, making it a great choice for a full-body workout.

It’s worth noting that there are different types of machines, such as front drive and rear drive, which vary based on the location of the flywheel on the machine.

However, both models offer a similar feel, so it comes down to personal preference when choosing which one to use.

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