How to use the cross trainer for an effective workout.
The benefits and drawbacks
When it comes to cardiovascular training, whether it be at home or in the gym, you have a wide variety of options in front of you when it comes to machines. The classic go-to machine would be the treadmill. You also could use a stair master. If neither of these things are available to use or you just don’t like them, then turn your attention to the cross-trainer. Also called an elliptical machine, this is an over looked and undervalued, vital piece of gym equipment. They are great to have in the house also. The cross-trainer has been shown to increase your heart rate to higher than a treadmill can as well as the stair master too. The true benefits of the cross-trainer come in its sure but steady attitude to cardiovascular workout. Compared to a workout on a treadmill the cross-trainer feels like a walk in the park, literally! It has the same injury potential as walking, and what’s more, using a cross-trainer feels easier! This means a lot of things, but firstly it means it is easier on your body whilst giving you the benefits of a great workout. As we know, jogging can lead to damaging your body in many ways. Studies have shown that jogging is a high impact sport in that when you do it you must keep landing after becoming airborne briefly. This can lead to an impact of 24 times your body weight on one leg! Cross-trainers by that logic are way better for your joints as well as your feet and legs. Because of the relaxed feel of the cross trainer it is easier to approach if you’re feeling at all tired from a long day at work or an exhausting night out. But just because it’s easier if you’re tired to get started on that doesn’t squash the benefits of the cross trainer at all. It is in fact better than a treadmill for a full body work out. That includes the gluteus maximus (The butt)! So, for all the booty shakers out there this machine is your best friend. Let’s get into the best way to use this machine and how to get the most out of it.
Have a plan
One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people have, either when they first start out or even later, is that they do not have a plan of action for their cross-trainer workout. Having an idea of what you want out of your session is vital to a successful session for you. In fact, that goes for all work outs really, not just the cross trainer. But, that’s for another day. Here, with the cross-trainer, it is specifically important to make sure you go into it with a clear idea of what you want to get out of it. If you do not know what you are after, then the chances are high that you will become complacent with your workout and probably slack off during it. You need to have a good direction to make your cross-training work out as good as it possibly can be for you. Do not just step onto the cross trainer and move, this won’t work out for you. Set up your intentions clearly before you press start on your cross-trainer.
This is so very important to an effective workout with a cross-trainer! Never ever EVER slouch! This is such an easy thing to forget but such a useful thing to remember! Just like with all other machines in the gym or at home, you must be using them correctly for them to work. Not only is it important to
use machines, and in this case the cross-trainer, correctly, but not using them correctly could very easily put you in harm’s way and put your entire body at risk. Also, of course, if you use the cross-trainer correctly then your work out will have optimum results!
Something to always remember is your posture when using the cross-trainer. This is vital. A lot of people find it tempting, when using the cross-trainer, to lean onto the handrails and put their weight upon them. This is poor form and will lead to an inefficient work out as well as possible lower back pains and imbalances in the muscles. The hand rails are there for a reason and if you lean over them all you will be doing is making the workout feel easier and in turn doing yourself a disservice. So, stay upright and in good posture and use those hand rails!
Use the hand rails! (or don’t)
As mentioned above you should use the hand rails always! They are there for a reason and are not there for relief! Push and pull the hand rails, keep your posture straight and engage your abdomen. You will find that using the cross-trainer in this way, there is a fantastic full body work out that you cannot achieve with a treadmill or stair master alone. The cross trainer is working both your lower and upper body in this fashion. If you wished for a lower body workout, there is the option of letting go of the hand rails completely! This will give your lower body a great work out, but again, always remember posture for effective use of the cross-trainer.
Last but very much not least is your daily routine. You should be trying to mix this up as much as possible when using your cross-trainer effectively. If you worked just the lower body yesterday, then today use the rails too and get yourself a full body work out. And vice-versa. If you get into a habit of using the cross trainer in the same way regularly, what will happen is your body being the amazing machine it is, will learn the routine and it will become ineffective. The best way to change up your routine is to change the variables that control the cross trainer such as stride rate or resistance. Some machines also have an elevation setting that can be changed.
If you follow these simple rules you will quickly find the cross-trainer (or elliptical machine) very effective at a variety of workouts.