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Buyers Guide to Elliptical Cross Trainers

Choosing the right Elliptical Cross Trainer ~ A popular edition to the fitness equipment market

There is an aerobic exercise that has become tremendously popular over the last few years. Elliptical cross training combines the best of stair climbing. And cross-country skiing and running in a low impact, variety rich workout. It is a highly effective cross-training activity that is ideal for the beginner to the elite athlete. Modern elliptical crosstrainers can control everything, from your heart rate to the height and length of the stride. However, you always determine the foot peddle speed, just like pedalling an exercise bike.

Cross Trainers Are a Foundation of home Gyms

An elliptical cross trainer can serve as the foundation for a home gym. It is very flexible, space-efficient and quiet. For the user who already has a treadmill or exercise bike, it is a great addition. Adding variety and cross-training elements to enhance any sport or recreational activity.

Find the Right One

However not all elliptical cross trainers are equal. If you have used one at a health club, which of course is professional gym equipment. Then hope to simulate the same movement on a cheap cross trainer designed for the home, then you will be very disappointed. That’s not to say that all cheap cross-trainers are poorly made but a Marcy or Proform £199 elliptical cross trainer will not have the feel the same. Especially not to a £6000 commercial elliptical cross trainer.

Cross Trainers to Meet Your Budget

So if your budget will not stretch to the price of a small car you may have to compromise. Mid-range units such as: Tunturi home elliptical cross-trainers and Flow Fitness elliptical cross trainers are great. They will all offer a good elliptical sensation but they all feel different from each other. Move up to Life Fitness elliptical cross-trainers, Landice elliptical cross-trainers and Tunturi Platinum Pro elliptical cross-trainers. getting you the same workout as you would in your local health club.

Buying Your Elliptical Cross Trainer

Consider who will be using the elliptical cross trainer and what their specific goals are

It is more than likely that more than one person will be using the fitness equipment. It is important that the need’s of everyone who wants to use the fitness machine. Runners will certainly benefit from the non-impact movement and complement their running programme. Older users will love the fluidity and ease of motion.

Start your shopping with a specialist fitness equipment retailer

Specialist dealers like us have educated staff and quality exercise equipment plus the ability to install. Also, service your fitness machine more effectively than your normal sports shop or department store.

Go to a specialist fitness equipment store and test the workout equipment

Almost any cross trainer/elliptical trainer will feel adequate if you only test it for a few minutes. It is only when you start to put the elliptical cross-trainer through its paces and use the different programmes will you appreciate the quality of the fitness machine. Try it in forward and reverse motion, raise the ramp or adjust its stride length, if the fitness machine has these facilities. It’s only by testing this way will you notice the major differences in quality and comfort. The best elliptical cross trainers will utilize a wide variety of muscle groups and feel natural in its motion. So go to the store prepared, inappropriate clothing and footwear, so you can test the gym equipment properly.

Remember the must-haves when buying an Elliptical

Natural Elliptical Motion

The cross-trainer elliptical motion should provide the closest simulation to walking. And also running available without the impact. An important factor to look for here is the feel of the motion. Some elliptical cross trainers have a ‘kick’ in the motion where the foot comes off the platform. You don’t want any kick, bounce or strain on the knees and back when you use these fitness machines. Try and find a machine that provides as true an elliptical movement pattern both forward and reverses direction as possible. Many movement patterns have patents. As well as employing a variety of ingenious mechanical to try to achieve the perfect ellipse. Some have been more successful than others.


How does the movement ‘ feel?’ This is a critical question to ask. It must feel smooth at all times, no matter what speed or resistance you using or the level of incline or the length of stride. Spend some time on the elliptical cross trainer if you can. After you should not feel any discomfort on your knees, back or hips. Also, the best elliptical cross-trainers will hold your body in a neutral position. You should not be stretching for the handrails or bending over in any way.

Upper Body Motion

Nearly all elliptical cross-trainers today have upper-body arms that link to the movement of the pedals. This almost eliminates the need for natural coordination and makes it ideal for all ages and abilities. Having upper body movement can help accomplish some upper body strength training. It will also increase your heart rate faster as you are engaging more muscle groups. However, there should also be an option to let go of the handles and grip a centre bar, allowing you to exercise your legs only if you wish.

Forward & Reverse Motion

Moving forward and backwards adds variety and uses different muscle groups. It can also reduce the risk of repetitive injury that can sometimes occur on treadmills and stairclimbers. All elliptical cross trainers have this option, but the sign of a good elliptical cross trainer is that it is as smooth. As well as quiet in reverse as it is going forward. Note that an adjustable ramp combined with both the forward and reverse motions further varies the movement. Also, the muscle involved and intensifies the workout resulting in a greater challenge.

Quiet Operation

Look and listen to the fitness machine. A truly well-designed piece of workout equipment should be relatively silent at all intensity levels.

Adjustable Resistance

All elliptical cross-trainers should provide a broad range of resistance. Resistance can be in the form of a mechanical adjustment. This applies the turn of a dial, electronically by the push of a button or automatically when using a programme. Resistance changes should be simple to apply and change quickly.

Electronic Features

On a programmable cross trainer elliptical almost all the features control electronically. From the ramp and stride to the resistance and console programmes. The only thing that you would manually control is the speed. Consider what is important to you and try to choose an electronic package. That will grow with you as you progress and that will accommodate needs of multiple users.

Programmes and Motivation of Cross trainers

The basics from a fitness point of view are time, distance and speed. Having a measure of calories burned can also be motivating. Consider what additional information is important to keep you motivated day after day. Here are some of the most useful extra features.

Adjustable Incline or Adjustable Stride Length

Today there are a number of elliptical cross-trainers that provide further workload. This in addition to resistance and speed. These elliptical Cross Trainer machines either have an adjustable incline ramp. And/or a method of lengthening your stride from a jog to a run, at the push of a button. The advantage of this type of elliptical cross trainer is that it varies the focus on the muscle groups. it also provides a great way to add variety to your routine, reduces boredom, enhances motivation and prevents you from reaching a plateau.

Heart Rate Control Programmes

Measuring your heart rate is the surest indicator of progress and proper intensity. Everyone has a target heart rate, based on age, for which they should train. Too high a heart rate and you risk injury, too low and you will not achieve your goals. The best elliptical cross trainer will actually adjust the resistance. As well as the incline (if available) while measuring your heart rate to make sure you stay within your range. Known as a heart rate controlled programme and is very different to a heart rate display. This only measures and displays your heart rate on the console and does not offer any interactivity. To achieve this interactivity you simply punch in your desired heart rate. The machine will automatically respond accordingly throughout your workout.

Pre-set and Custom Programmes

One of the most common reasons a person quits a training programme is boredom. Having a product with a range of programmes will help keep each workout fresh and varied. Being able to customize a programme to your specific needs is also a great feature. Another consideration is the science behind the programmes. Manufacturers of quality elliptical cross-trainers do a lot of research into making sure the programmes are safe and effective.

Custom Courses

The best products will remember your favourite workouts or allow you to create your own custom course. Look for the ability to store a custom course in order to duplicate them again.

Ease Of Use

Although the elliptical cross trainer console may have plenty of features it must also be simple to use. Too many buttons cause frustration and become another obstacle to regular exercise. It should take no more than 2-3 steps to launch a programme and should have a manual or quick start mode that requires only 1-2 pushes of a button to get you going.

Safety & Maintenance of Crosstrainers

Safety Features

Look for electronic safety features like warm-up and cool-down periods. Adjustable resistance and heart rate feedback and interactivity. Make sure the elliptical cross trainer has handrails or console grips that are comfortable. Can you grip the centre console handrails when not using the upper body arms? Whilst these arms are not hitting you during the exercise? Are the arms ergonomically shaped and positioned so that when you grip them your wrists are not put in an uncomfortable position. Testing the elliptical cross trainer in store for several minutes will help you choose wisely. If this is not possible then talk to one of Fitness Options consultants. Who has tried almost every elliptical machine on the market? When buying fitness equipment, gym equipment or any type of workout equipment safety must always be a priority.


A good elliptical cross trainer should be almost maintenance-free. A well designed elliptical machine takes normal wear and tear into account so that you don’t have to.


Warranties vary from manufacturer. Please ask a Fitness Options consultant for details.