Cross trainers are one of the most popular cardio exercise machines in the world next to treadmills, whether you want to lose weight, tone your body or simply want a full-body workout, exercising on a cross-trainer can help you reach fitness goals.
When looking for a cross trainer you will likely come across both manual and electric models, the first using air resistance and the latter an electromagnetic system to generate resistance, both providing a great workout but also a different feel.
Figuring out which cross trainer is better can be a hassle, so we have compared both types of cross trainers below with their pros and cons to help you make a decision.
First off, before we can get into comparing both a manual and electric cross trainer, we should understand how air resistance works on a cross-trainer.
Manual cross trainers work by turning a fan equal to how you pedal, the more you are pedalling the more resistance that is generated. These types of cross trainers typically have a manual meter too which tracks the workout by counting how many reps and pedals you are doing.
You will often find manual cross-trainers less in gyms and more for at-home use with its self-adjusting resistance.
An electric cross trainer on the other hand uses an electromagnetic which is near the flywheel to generate electronic resistance.
The magnetic levels of resistance on elliptical trainers can be adjusted via electronic buttons on your trainer, the more you apply the stronger the resistant trainer and current applied to the flywheel.
Some cross trainers will have an adjustable resistance level from a turning knob too. They often come with a large LCD and adjustable pre-set programmes to do various forms of cardio with.
Now we have briefly gone over how manual and electric cross trainers work we can move on to comparing them to help you decide which type of elliptical you want for an enjoyable workout session.
Manual cross trainers have advantages over electric cross-trainers when it comes to the fact that they are more affordable and easier to use, without too many complicated programmes of set-up systems.
These trainers additionally are a little safer than magnetic models as they respond to your pedalling directly, they also are perfect for a quick workout such as HIIT you can play around with intensities when pedalling.
Manual air resistance cross-trainers fall short in comparison to electric cross-trainers when it comes to a tougher workout experience. The magnetic system on electric models created a harder level of resistance that air resistance can't match.
They further have fewer programmes and can often be very noisy during an extreme workout due to the fan.
Electric cross trainers have some important advantages over a manual type of exercise machine which are worth noting. These pieces of exercise kit always come with more engaging features such a pre-set working programmes and are easy to adjust.
The technical cross trainers are available in more powerful forms and give a more challenging workout than a regular cross trainer because of the electric resistance.
Downfalls of electric cross trainers in comparison to manual ones are that they are more expensive cross-trainers.
Overall, the models of the cross trainer are both great for working out with and can give an excellent aerobic workout to improve your health.
If you can afford it, electrical cross trainers are a better piece of exercise equipment due to their stronger power and programmes which gives a more customisable exercise experience.
However, if you are on a budget then a manual cross trainer is also a great piece of exercise kit for at-home workouts and is an alternative for people who do not want to payout for a monthly gym membership.
If you are still on the edge about whether or not to invest in an electrical cross trainer or manual cross trainer then it might be worth knowing the advantages you can get by using one of these exercise machines.
We have listed the main benefits of working out with your new cross trainer below.
Whether you choose a manual or an electronic cross trainer, both are built very similarly and you must make sure that your types of exercise equipment have the features you need for beneficial exercise.
We have listed the cross trainer key features to look for in your new model below.
If it's your first time working out with your cross trainer, you might not be sure how to use your trainer properly for the most effective workout.
We have listed out our best cross trainer tips for working out with your cross trainer below.
What is a front-drive cross trainer?
Front-drive cross trainers have their flywheel and drive system located at the front of their machine, they are regarded as more of a stepper machine and do not use a running motion, making them perfect if you after more of an inclined workout.
How much does an electronic cross trainer cost?
Depending on the model, they can cost anything from £300-£1000, this goes from home brands to professional gym equipment standards.
Are there benefits of resistance training?
Yes, resistance training is great for cardio and can help tone all the muscles in your body over some time when you keep upping the resistance. This is known as a form of progressive overload and can help you grow muscles too, especially in your lower body on a cross-trainer.
How much does a manual cross trainer cost?
A manual cross trainer is much more affordable than an electric cross trainer and will cost you around £100-£200.
What are some manual cross trainer cons?
Manual cross trainers do not have as much resistance or programmes to play with, they are best for basic cardio only.
How much space do you need for a cross-trainer?
Most cross trainers will take up around 1.2-2m in your home depending on the model you get, you should ensure the area has space on either side and that your ceiling is high enough when standing on the machine.
Can a cross trainer help with cardiovascular strength?
Yes, cross trainers are an excellent form of cardio, you can use them for HIIT or standard low impact LISS to get your cardio in and build strength. They are great for building up your cardiovascular health too by reducing diseases and strengthening your heart.
Are cross trainer workouts better than treadmill workouts?
Cross trainers and treadmills all have their pros and cons, a treadmill is better for burning more calories with and practising running while a cross trainer is a perfect choice for people who have bad joints as they are designed to be low impact.
Both cross trainers and treadmills burn a similar range of calories and provide cardio which can aid weight loss or grow cardiovascular health.
To conclude, manual and electronic cross trainers are both perfect for low-impact cardio exercise, but if you have a higher budget, an electric cross trainer will be more beneficial to your fitness thanks to their wider range of features and harder resistance levels.
Remember when picking your manual/electric cross trainer to always check the resistance levels that it comes with as well as the stride length so you can be sure the cross trainer is right for you.