Why a Cross Trainer is the Ultimate Workout Machine
Elliptical machines are steadily becoming one of the top workout machines, for both those who like to workout at home, as well as those who frequent the gym on a regular basis. There are a number of reasons as to why this is the case.
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The cross trainer is low impact, high intensity and most importantly, highly effective. However, in order to benefit from a cross trainer workout, you first need to do a proper warm up. Here are a couple of reasons that demonstrate the importance of warming up before an intense workout.
- Reach Optimal Ability Level – One of the reasons why things like warm up stretches are so important is that they allow you to reach your optimal ability level. If you jump straight on your cross trainer without warming up first, then you are going to be performing at a much lower ability, which in turn is going to reduce the effectiveness of your workout. Even a small warm up is beneficial over no warm up at all.
- Reduce the Risk of Injury – If you jump straight onto an elliptical cross trainer without first performing some sort of warm up exercise, then you are running the risk of causing yourself an injury. This can be something minor like a pulled muscle, or you could risk a partial muscle tear which will take months to heal and ultimately set you back in your fitness plans. By warming up, your muscles are much more able to deal with the intensity of your workout.
- Gradually Increase your Heart Rate – One of the best things about a cross trainer is that it allows you to workout at a high intensity which can be great for things like weight loss. However, if you go from no exercise straight into a high intensity workout, then your heart is going to have to work very heard to keep the blood pumping around your body fast enough. By doing a warm up exercise first, you can gradually increase your heart rate which is much better for you.
- Reduce Muscle Tension – One of the things that you might find, if you try to exercise without a warm up, is that your muscles are quite tense. This can make working out on a cross trainer uncomfortable and also a lot more difficult than it needs to be. By performing a warm up like jogging on the spot, or even ten minutes on a treadmill, you can drastically reduce muscle tension which will make your cross trainer workout far more comfortable.
In order to be able to benefit from a warm up, it is important that you carry out the right kinds of exercise. There are several types of warm up that you can do which will allow you to get the benefits listed above. Take a look below for a list of warm up exercises that might be of use to you, if you want to benefit from your cross trainer.
10 Minute Treadmill Workout
When it comes to the cross trainer and the treadmill, we have established that the cross trainer, in general, provides a better full-body workout and allows you to burn more calories. The treadmill does have its uses though, and one of them is as a warm up tool.
If you have a decent treadmill, then you can take a look and see if there is a warm up program built in to the machine. Most of them will have one. If there isn’t one built in, then you can simply do a medium intensity jog for around ten minutes. This will increase your heart rate gradually and loosen your muscles so that they are ready for the cross trainer.
Do a General Warm Up
A general body warm up will involve many different things. For example, the first thing that you should do is perform a good stretch of all of your muscles; your legs, arms and back in particular. Once you have done this, you should add in a little aerobic exercise such as star jumps and jogging on the spot. Ideally, you should aim to at least break out in a sweat and get your heart rate increased. This will get your body fully prepared for your cross trainer workout.
Follow a YouTube Warm Up
For those who are new to exercise in general, there may be a little difficulty in knowing how to perform an effective full body workout. If this is the case for you, then there are a few things that you can do. If you prefer reading, then there are plenty of free online resources that will give you step by step instructions on how to do a proper warm up.
However, it is often much easier to take a look on YouTube. You will see that there are plenty of tutorials that you can follow which will talk you through how to do a proper warm up and demonstrate what it is that you should be doing. After a while, you will start to remember the warm up and be able to perform it every time you plan to do a cross trainer workout.
Pre-Programmed Cross Trainer Warm Up
If you have bought a mid-range to high-end cross trainer, then the chances are that it will have a range of built in programs that you can use. These programs will have different purposes. For example, there are usually programs that are designed to speed up weight loss.
Another program that you will often find with cross trainers is a warm up program. If your cross trainer has one of these pre-programmed warm up workouts, then you should absolutely take advantage of them because they will allow you to really warm up every part of your body properly.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways in which you can make sure that your body is fully prepared for your cross trainer workout, no matter what intensity you are planning to use.
Once you have performed your warm up, you are ready to take on the cross trainer and push yourself to get the results that you want. In order to help you get the results that you desire, take a look below for a few cross trainer tops that will help you get the most out of your machine.
- Vary the Intensity – In order to get the most out of your machine, one thing that you should definitely do is vary the intensity of your workout. This is especially important if you are going to be doing High Intensity Interval Training. This involves having short breaks of lower intensity before going back up to high intensity again. Varying the intensity of your workout is especially effective for weight loss.
- Add extras to your Machine – If you have bought a fairly decent elliptical machine, then it is likely that it will have fittings that will allow you to attach things like resistance bands to the machine. This can allow you to maximise your workout and really work the upper body as much as you can. The cross trainer will work your upper body anyway, but resistance bands can increase the intensity even further. You could also consider using small hand weights.
- Use the Programs – As we have already mentioned, most elliptical machines will have a variety of programs built in; some more than others. If you have noticed that your machine has this ability built in, then you should absolutely take advantage of it, because these programs will have been designed and tested in order to allow the user to get the best results possible.
- Vary the Incline – In order to get proper cross trainer workout benefits, you need to take advantage of all of the different built in features. One of the most common features with elliptical machines is an adjustable incline. By adjusting the incline both upwards and downwards, you are able to target particular muscle groups at a higher intensity, especially the gluteus maximus.
So, Why Is The Cross Trainer The Ultimate Workout Machine?
Now that you know the importance of a warm up before your cross trainer workout, and you have some effective tips that will allow you to get the most out of your machine, you are probably wondering what it is that makes this particular exercise machine the ultimate.
Here you will see just a few of the things that you can do with a cross trainer. At the top of our infographic, you will see a clear demonstration of the different muscle groups that are targeted at various intensities when the incline is adjusted.
The middle will show you every muscle that the cross trainer targets during each work out. As you can see, the full body really gets a good amount of exercise. One hour on a treadmill only burns 560 calories, whereas one hour on a cross trainer burns 590 calories, as demonstrated.
The cross trainer comes highly recommended, as you can clearly see with our bar chart of percentages. It allows you not only to mimic walking, but also cycling, running and climbing. Below you will find some more information regarding the benefits of the elliptical cross trainer.
One of the best things about the cross trainer is that it offers a very low impact workout on the joints. This is particularly good for those of a certain age, or those with pre-existing joint problems. It will allow you to workout without running the risk of making any joint problems worse.
Great for Weight Loss
If you are aiming to lose weight, then the cross trainer is the perfect workout machine for you. Because it offers a total body workout, you are able to lose calories at a much faster rate. In fact, you can burn more calories in the same amount of time that you would spend on a treadmill. The added bonus is that you are able to tone your muscles at the same time.
Perfect for Every Fitness Level
Because of the sheer amount of options for varying resistance, incline and intensity, the elliptical cross trainer is the perfect machine for everyone, regardless of their level of fitness. If you are especially unfit, or you want to get back into fitness after a long break, then this machine is going to give you the best results possible.
These are just a couple of examples of why the cross trainer is the best workout machine, there are many more. Hopefully, after reading through, you are able to see why warming up is so important, you have learned some different types of warm up exercises and you know the benefits of the cross trainer.