What's The Best Stride Length For A Cross Trainer.. For You?

Written By Christian
Updated On December 14, 2021

Our Guide To Choosing The Best Stride Length For Your Cross Trainer

Finding the right elliptical stride length for your cross-trainer is really important, too long can make your elliptical machine feel unnatural and too short can produce a too-short stride length making you feel more cramped during a workout. 

This begs the question, what is the best stride length for a cross-trainer? Well, the best stride length ellipticals tend to measure around 20-inches but the correct stride which feels right can differ according to shorter users and taller users.

We've composed a short guide below which will discuss what the stride length of an elliptical cross trainer is, why it's important to calculate it, how to calculate and some ideal stride lengths to choose for your fitness trainers based on different heights. 

So without further chat, let's get into it!

What Is Stride Length? 

The stride length of an elliptical trainer refers to how far the pedals are apart from each other for a proper stride. It's technically referred to as two-step lengths when using the machine, for effective workouts you should ensure you are using the correct stride when working out. 

Why Is Stride Length Important? 

Determining the proper stride for your cross trainer is not only important for being comfortable during your elliptical workouts but also so as you ensure your safety during your workout experience, if you do not have your natural steps while using the machine then it could overstrain your muscles while working out. 

How To Calculate The Stride Length For Your Cross Trainer

If you are having trouble working out and finding the right elliptical stride for your workout then you can try a quick calculation to find your proper stride. 

To find your natural stride on an elliptical simply take your height in inches and multiply by 0.25, if your answer winds up as a decimal then just round it up to the nearest number. 

Ideal Stride Lengths For Different Heights 

One of the best features of a cross-trainer is the models which have adjustable stride lengths as this can suit a variety of people, the gold standard for cross trainers is a 20-inch stride as this is the average stride but it does vary according to different heights. 

We've listed the average stride lengths according to different heights down below. 

  • Under 5 foot - 11-14'' stride length.
  • 5ft - 5'3ft - 14''-16'' stride length.
  • 5'4ft - 5'8ft - 16''-20'' stride length.
  • 5'9ft - 6ft - 18''-20'' stride length.
  • Over 6ft - 20'' and more.

How To Adjust a Cross Trainers Stride

If you have a cross-trainer with a variety of stride lengths that can be adjusted then you might be wondering how to do it. 

We've listed the two main ways to adjust the stride length on your cross trainer down below. 

  • Power adjustment - Many cross trainers now allow you to adjust their stride length easily via the power ramp on the machine, this can be done via the display on the cross-trainer.
  • Manual adjustment - For manual adjustment, your cross trainer will likely either have a rear-drive adjustment, an adjustment knob or dual adjustment knobs to change the stride length of the machine. 

Other Important Features To Consider In Your Elliptical Cross Trainer

Stride length is very important in a cross-trainer but is not the only factor to watch out for in a high-quality trainer.

We've listed a few others below to watch out for on your step machine.

  • Resistance - Cross trainers typically come with either magnetic or belt resistance on the machine. Magnetic resistance runs with an electromagnetic and is found on most modern trainers while a belt drive resistance is cheaper but breaks more often.
  • Incline - Having an adjustable incline on your trainer is excellent for varying the intensity of your low-impact workout and can help your burn more calories.
  • Console - A clear console is important on your cross-trainers model as it will determine how easy it is to adjust workout programs and see metrics such as distance and speed.
  • Programmes - Lastly, make sure your cross trainer has a few workout programmes included, commercial ellipticals nearly always come with a few settings and make it great to use for beginners. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Cross Trainers & The Best Stride Length

What is the best stride length for shorter people? 

The best stride length for shorter people tends to be between 11'' and 16''.

Which is the best stride length for a tall person? 

For taller people, you can find cross-trainers with a stride length varying around 20'' and above.

Can improper stride length be dangerous? 

Yes, improper stride length can strain your muscles and even cause injury if you become off balance.

What is the optimal elliptical stride length?

The most recommended stride length tends to be around 20''.

Last Words

To conclude, cross-trainers often work best with a 20-inch stride length which is suitable for most users, however, buying a cross-trainer with adjustable stride length is often the better choice as it allows different users with varying heights to use the machine.


Starting my working career as a personal trainer, I quickly became familiar with equipment around the gym. While each piece of kit has its place in your overall body fitness; I find the cross trainer to be the most effective while mitigating the most amount of risks. That is why I created CrossTrainerHome.co.uk to help others in their home fitness journey.

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