An Elliptical Cross Trainer Buying Guide For Fitness Fans
Elliptical machines can be pretty intimidating for first time buyers. The moving parts and full body workout are a step up from exercise bikes and treadmills.
Still, some see the need to make this leap in order to get the best workout and meet their fitness goals. What should we be looking out for when choosing the best home cross trainer for the job?
This elliptical cross trainer buying guide will look at the following:
- The complexity of the workout
- The ability to adjust the machine for a tougher or more gentle session
- The option of 2-in-1 bike and elliptical trainers
- The ability to view important data for goal tracking
- The build quality and security
- Comfort features to improve the experience.
- The look of the equipment.
What sort of cross trainer are you after? How much does it need to do.
Some ellipticals are more complicated than others, and provide a different style of workout. Naturally, many offer a range of resistance and difficulty levels to help users progress with their workout. The wider the range, the better the chance of progressing with your fitness goals and building tone and strength.
One key difference between many elliptical trainers is the use of the moving arms and stationary arms. Working arms allow for a full body workout with higher gains. Some of the better machine give users the chance to swap between the two depending on the aim of the workout.
Then there is the choice of 2-in-1 elliptical bikes that combine the elliptical with the exercise bike. This could be great for those that want both types, but don’t have the space.
This methods means greater diversity to the workout, via one machine. But, it could be a little too much for the less experienced user. It also pays to check the intensity and capabilities of each component, in case one factor was compromise to accommodate the other.
Getting the right data for goal tracking.
Goal tracking is important for many people that want to get the most out of their fitness machine. It helps to know how much further we have pushed ourselves than the day before, and the impact it will have on our regime. The best cross trainers offer a good backlit console that is easy to read and provides accurate data. This means reliable figures on time elapsed, distance travelled, calories burned and heart rate.
The latter two can be problematic on some cheaper ellipticals. It depends on the sophistication of the machine and the quality of the pulse sensors. Some have strong sensors in the hand grips, while others rely on a chest strap – which sometimes isn’t even included in the box.
Is it built well enough to handle the intensity of the workout?
The next factor is one of the most important, that is the build quality of the machine. Regardless of its primary function, all these cross trainers must be strong and sturdy to handle the effort of users. This should be a machine that requires balance and peace of mind for an intense session.
There will be some models that have a broad range of workout options and resistance levels, but are too wobbly and cheap to take to that higher level. Others will make sure to provide a good low centre of gravity, secure foot pedals and other adjustment to keep at all stable.
Security also comes in the size and style of the foot pedals and handlebars. Many use oversized pedals to be on the safe side, but there is some debate over the worth of straps. The handlebars need a good range of motion and comfortable grips.
Other comfort features to look out for with these machines.
On the subject of comfort, it is important that all users are comfortable enough to work with this elliptical trainer for long periods. Some newcomers may laugh at the idea of users enjoying a session on these machines, but it is possible with the right entertainment systems on board – of the right quality. Media shelves, cooling fans and water bottle holders also help.
How does it look?
The final aspect of this elliptical cross trainer buying guide isn’t one of the most important, but it is still worth keeping in mind. The look of the exercise machine isn’t that important compared to the quality of the workout and the build. Yet, this is likely to be a cross trainer that is out in the home gym permanently many users will want to show it off. Some are more attractive than others, with colourful accents and sleek lines that remind users of a gym-quality equipment.
This sense of quality and style could also have a psychological effect on the habits of users. There could be that sense that they are able to achieve more on a machine that belongs in a gym. At the same time, some will push themselves to break boundaries on something a little more unassuming. It all comes down to personal preference.
Not all ellipticals are built the same, so research all options carefully.
It is easy for consumers to be drawn into the basic idea of top model, and then find themselves disappointed at the performance. There are many brands that focus on the clever 2-in-1 design or a specific function in the programming. But, they may sacrifice other components or build quality in the process.
Read through the full specification to see what the makers aren’t mentioning. Then, take the time to read the user reviews. A high-tech fitness equipment isn’t worthwhile if it is uncomfortable or difficult to use.
Summary: choosing the best cross trainer for your home gym.
Hopefully this elliptical cross trainer buying guide has shown that there are more forms of elliptical trainer than you may have expected. Once you have a clearer idea of the best style, you can then narrow down the options by comparing the specifics of the hardware and software.
Find something that meets that compromise of an effective workout, strong build quality and accessible nature. After all, you need to want to use this intimidating cross trainer each day.