The Benefits of Cross Trainer Interval Training
- 1 The Benefits of Cross Trainer Interval Training
A cross trainer, also sometimes called an elliptical trainer, is a stationary exercise machine that can be for gym or home use and combines the elements from treadmills, stair climbers, rowing machines and exercise bikes. It simulates activities such as walking, running and stair climbing without putting excess impact force on joints. Cross training is considered a low impact exercise because of the constant contact of heel to pedal resulting in less pressure being exerted on the body. Cross trainers are a fairly modern piece of exercise equipment, only really existing since 1995 onwards, and were the first machine to allow the natural ankle movement of heel to toe, just how it would if you were running.
What Muscles Do Cross Trainers Work?
Unlike other exercise machines, which mostly focus on one specific muscle group at a time, cross trainers work your entire body, including your arms, shoulders, back, legs, lower body and core.
Most cross trainers feature a pull/push mechanism to work the upper body and arms. Pushing the lever forwards in the direction of the machine will work the triceps, whereas pulling it backwards towards you will use the bicep and brachioradialis muscles.
The pull/push mechanism not only works the arms muscles, but the shoulders too. The pectoralis major, anterior deltoids and trapezius muscles located in and around the shoulder will benefit from cross training.
The latissimus dorsi, rhomboid and levator scapulae muscles are all used whilst using this particular piece of exercise equipment as the whole body is moving in unison and needs to support itself.
The force required to move the pedals of the cross trainer works the calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus. The quadriceps, sartorius and hamstring muscles, located in the thigh, are also used when cross training.
- Lower Body
Because of the elliptical movement that cross training creates in the hip joints, the iliopsoas and gluteus maximus muscles are constantly being used.
The transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal and external abdominal oblique muscles, all found in the stomach, are continually worked whilst cross training, because of the constant movement of the body.
Are Cross Trainers Good For You?
There are but different reasons why cross training is beneficial to your health, but here we will take a look at their primary advantages:
- Weight Loss
The benefits of using a cross trainer for weight loss are extremely evident, with a very large number of people using it to accelerate fat burning. It uses muscles throughout the body and allows more calories to be spent than on other exercise machines, such as bikes or treadmills. A half an hour session can burn over 300 calories, and if done correctly, can boost your metabolism which can also aid in weight loss. Not only does it burn fat, cross training also allows you to achieve good muscle tone.
- Reduce Joint Stress
Cross training is an impact free exercise and does not create impact force or put pressure on the joints. Although the machine provides an action similar to jogging, it eliminates the constant stress on your legs that running can cause because your feet remain in contact with the pedals at all times. It’s gentle rolling motion also helps remove stress from the hip and knee joints as there are no sudden or jerking movements that could cause injury. Many fitness instructors recommend cross trainers to people in rehabilitation or with ailments such as arthritis for this reason.
- Whole Body Workout
Why spend hours at the gym or potentially thousands of pounds on buying gym equipment to work each muscle in your body when it can all be provided on one machine? Cross training works the main muscle groups in your legs, arms, back, shoulders and core. The machine can be used for resistance training, muscle building, weight loss and toning purposes. Cross trainers are extremely adaptable and offer a variety of different workout options depending on what part of the body you wish to focus upon.
- Improve Cardiovascular Health
Cross training is considered to be one of the best cardio workouts. This is because it uses all of the main muscle groups in the body, which will demand more oxygen and require your heart to work harder in order to pump it around the body. You can boost your cardiovascular fitness with as little as three 30 minute workout sessions a week and can start to feel the benefit in as little as month. Good cardiovascular health can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and can help prevent against things such as heart attacks, coronary heart disease and cardiomyopathy.
Are Cross Trainers Effective At Weight Loss?
Yes, the use of cross trainers is a very effective way to lose weight, especially when combined with the right diet. Cross training is a cardiovascular workout which uses all of the main muscle groups in the body, allowing more calories to be burnt than when doing similar exercises such as running or cycling. High intensity workouts using the cross trainer can help boost metabolic rate, which will in turn help your body to shed excess fat whilst preserving active muscle mass. There are a number of different workouts that you can do to target key areas of fat that you would like to burn.
How Best To Use The Cross Trainer For Weight Loss?
To get the best weight loss results from the cross trainer, there are three crucial elements:
- Interval Training
Interval training consists of short bursts of high intensity workout followed by longer periods of recovery and gentle exercise for the course of the workout. Intervals of high energy causes your heart rate to increase, thus burning a larger amount of calories. Interval training allows you to burn double the amount of calories than you would if you were working out at a steady pace and helps improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
- Resistance Training
Most cross trainers allow you to change the resistance making your workout harder. When you increase the resistance on the machine, you are making it harder for your muscles to work against it, this in turn burns more calories and engages your muscles more, creating more muscle mass and burning fat. You need to resistance train at least three times a week to benefit from it.
- Mixing It Up
The best way to lose weight is to mix interval training and resistance training together. When you start to perform the same exercise day in day out, your body gets used to it and will eventually start to burn less calories because it is no longer challenged by the exercise. By pairing high intensity interval training with resistance training you are challenging your body with something it isn’t used to and this causes your heart and muscles to work harder, thus burning more calories.
Elliptical machines are a well rounded gym equipment that can make your cardio session a full body workout and more. When you are on a cross trainer, your movement mimics running, walking, going up the stair case, and push and pull of the arms, chest and back. This gives you a full body workout and this is why it is important to weave it into your daily routine. You can also alternate speed and training to work various muscle groups and give yourself a full body workout.
Here are some of the benefits of cross trainer interval training.
Faster weight loss
One of the biggest benefits of interval training on a cross trainer is faster weight loss. According to research, cross trainers are similar to exercise bikes, treadmills and stair climbers. The calories you burn on a cross trainer as a result of interval training are similar to treadmill. However, working out on an elliptical machine has greater advantage as it works several groups of muscles at the same time. Alternating between intensity and resistance can also increase the calorie burn.
Easy on your joints
Unlike other high impact exercises, interval training on a cross trainer is easy on your joints. When comparing cross trainer with running, be it on the treadmill or outside, its low impact on joints is one of the biggest factors that people choose one over the other. You can work harder on an elliptical machine without worrying about your joints or any harm done to them. Since the amount of pressure applied to the joints is reduced significantly, it is a great form of exercise for people with joint problems.
It works your entire body
Most cardio machines are centered on only one part of the body or muscle group. However, cross trainer can work your entire body and provide full range of workout. It also increases the number of calories burned as a result. Just drop the dial to increase resistance or add speed intervals during your workout to increase the impact. You can give your arms, thighs, core, and buttocks an effective workout by simply holding the handles or only using your feet to pedal.
You can make the adjustments to your cross trainer workout routine and tone your glutes or get a great workout. The cross trainer machine gives you versatility and allows you to target specific muscle groups, as required.
Toggle the intensity
If you want to improve your stamina and overall endurance, what you need to do is introduce various forms of intensity in your workout routine. On a cross trainer, you can choose to brisk walk, stair walk, run or simply work your arms. You can alternate between speeds for interval training benefits. If you want to increase the intensity, you can also increase the resistance and pedal at the speed that puts your muscles through maximum work. You can also introduce high intensity interval training to get better results. Adding short bursts of exercise and a short recovery period will build your endurance over a period of time.
Cross trainer is a highly effective machine that has lost its glory to a treadmill. Introducing interval training on a cross trainer can have significant benefits for your body and overall fitness. With a cross trainer, you can get the best of both worlds – high intensity training with low impact!