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6 Reasons You Should Exercise with Cross-Trainer or Elliptical Exercise Machine

July 27th, 2008 · 32 Comments ·


You probably have seen a machine with two long handles at the cardio section. Some people call this machine as Elliptical Exercise Machine or Elliptical Bike. Some call it Cross-Trainer. So, what exactly are Elliptical Trainer or the so called Cross-Trainer?


It is an exercise equipment that combine the movements of the stair climber, treadmill, and the exercise bike into one. It combines the movements and benefits of hiking, cross country skiing, and biking. With elliptical exercise equipment, your legs travel in an elongated circular motion. It is as if you are standing on a cross country ski machine but instead of your feet moving back and forth, the machine forces them to move around in an oval pattern (hence elliptical).


Here are the major benefits of elliptical exercise machines:

  1. The most important aspect of using an elliptical trainer is the reduction of impact. It provides the similar type of workout as jogging but without the wear and tear on your joints. Because of your weight, jogging actually places a great deal of stress on the back and joints. If you have ever jogged a lot and without a good pair of jogging shoes, jogging can be hard on your knees, ankles, shins, and back. With elliptical bike, because your limbs remain in continuous contact with the machine, its operation limits the impact to your joints. That’s why most fitness experts recommend the elliptical trainer to people who have a hard time exercising because of physical ailments such as bad joints and arthritis.
  2. Depending on the intensity, you may burn more calorieswith the elliptical trainer compared with the treadmill or the exercise bike. The actual workout feels like a brisk walk even though you are exerting as much effort as a good run. Elliptical trainers burn the between 8 and 12 calories per minute. Not too bad.


  3. If you choose an elliptical trainer with dual action handle bars, you can actually get a true cross training workout that uses your whole body, including your upper body. But, for me, I prefer not to hold the bar because I tend to move slower. Without holding the bar, I feel that my abs will actually work slightly harder in stabilizing my body.
  4. For those who want to work out your lower legs, the elliptical trainer uses all of the muscles of the lower leg. Therefore, you will strengthen and build your lower legs.
  5. Another great thing about the elliptical trainer is that you can move at a comfortable speed while allowing for the occasional burst of high intensities.
  6. Safe to use.When you stop, the machine stops. The amount of resistance on an elliptical trainer will determine how much effort it will take for you to keep your feet moving. The speed will be determined by your own movement.


  7. For those who is looking for a home gym cardio equipment, consider this machine. Elliptical machine uses very little electricity and is economical to operate. Because of lesser impact, there is less wear and tear of the machine, making the maintenance quite low compared with treadmill.

For those who are overweight or who has chronic knee problem, I highly recommend cross trainer. It does less harm to your knees and I am sure you will like it.I have been using this machine since two years ago and I have no complaint about it so far. Once you use one, you will be hooked. The machine at my fitness club actually has a LCD screen showing few cable TV programs (ESPN, MTV and Star Movie). I never like doing cardio, but now, you know why I like this machine so much.

If you have already tried elliptical machine, but have doubt whether you get the most out from it, check out this article – 5 Tips in Using Elliptical Machine More Effectively


If you want to shop for one, check out the review of some of the Elliptical Trainers at Amazon. Few of the highly recommended machines are:




Category: Fitness Gadget/Equipment

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32 responses so far ↓
  • ria // Jul 27, 2008 at 6:46 PM

    Great post! Is it also safe to say that, for home users, the cross-trainer would usually take up less space than the treadmill?

  • Oliver // Jul 27, 2008 at 7:40 PM


    Mind to share an article about stepper? I use to do cardio on steeper…compare with cross -trainer or treadmill…

  • howshouse // Jul 28, 2008 at 10:01 AM

    the elliptical sure is a great way to exercise. when i was recovering from a serious knee injury, i used it a lot to strengthen the legs without having to impact the knee joints. sure works up a sweat too. of course, being a person who’s always been active in sports, there was no greater joy than being on a treadmill once i could jog/run again!

  • Angie Tan // Jul 28, 2008 at 10:03 AM

    I love this machine…. I used to have it at home until my parents got “conned” into getting a treadmill (non-electrical one).

    This machine is pretty good for elderly folks too as it is low impact exercise.

  • stupe // Jul 28, 2008 at 3:37 PM

    :) Since i stopped going to gym, i’ve no privy to use all these equipment anymore…but calorie burned vs time on the machine, nothing still beats running.

  • dailymuscle // Jul 28, 2008 at 5:36 PM

    Agreed – this is great for those who are really overweight and those recoring from lower body joint-related injuries (less impact on the knees/joints), as compared to a treadmill which can be hard on the knees. Worse off if one had got lousy footwear + treadmill. Ouch.

  • Lisan // Jul 30, 2008 at 1:19 AM

    Great idea! I never use to like the elliptical exercise machine all these years in the gym and very very rarely I use it. I never know why? After reading your article, I try to workout with it for 45 minutes, I find it great for burning calories and toning up! I start to perspire just within 5 minutes or so and I find my butt, thigh, hamstring, calf muscles are being worked on (the stretched feeling). Best of all, my knees don’t hurt as much as I do on treadmill or bike. In fact it didn’t hurt at all. From now on I’ll use the elliptical exercise machine more often and longer duration than other cardio machines.

  • sassyjam // Jul 30, 2008 at 1:29 PM

    i love using this machine too…but the one at my gym doesnt have the built in LCD screen la.. i cant run on the thread mill to save my life so this is my perfect workout choice

  • K // Aug 1, 2008 at 12:56 PM

    Ellipticals are good but please don’t fool yourself. To get a good workout on an elliptical, you still need to pump up the resistance level.

    Don’t expect it to be some super duper calorie burning machine when you’re whirring along at level 1 to 3 or something equally lame. Pump it up to level 12 at min and keep your RPMS above 100 and you’ll be burning up those calories like nobodies business!

    Somethings to note:
    – use an appropriate resistance level otherwise you’ll be losing potential fat burning power to momentum.
    – use the handles! the upper body movement helps with the caloric burn too.

  • FQ // Aug 30, 2008 at 3:42 AM

    The problem is not the elliptical itself — it’s just that it tends to allow/promote momentum (as most people have the resistance too low) from bodyweight alone.

  • RaY // Feb 22, 2009 at 10:04 PM

    I have lower back pain and looking for a machine to get fit and strenghen my back, can the Cross-Trainer help me.

  • jc_dawgs // Mar 16, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    I have patellar tendinitis in both knees that I try to keep under control. I still lift weights 3-4 days per week…..but before the elliptical I thought I would never be able to do any cardio. Cardio would just aggrevate my knees.

    I was wrong. With the elliptical….I am only up to 10 minutes every 3 days(on level 1 – 20 degree ramp). I know I know…thats pathetic…but you have to understand….my patellar tendinitis can be bery bad. I want to take it slowly.

    Anyhow….not only can I do some light work on the elliptical…but my knees are actually getting better! I could probably do a whole lot more but instead…I am going to take it slowly. My goal…eventually get to 20 min every 2-3 days at the 5-10 level with the 30 degree ramp. Add that to my weight training….I just might get lean and mean!

  • sanjana // Jul 9, 2009 at 8:00 PM

    Hi, I am great fan of cross trainer. On a period of usage some people might find the hurt in the heel. I would suggest one thing that one should avoid is lifting the heel when moving. Always make sure that even during the burst of energy, don’t lift the heel and keep your full foot on the pedal.

  • nikita watts // Sep 6, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    This is very informative – i have recently bought a cross trainer to help me lose my baby weight – it has always been my favourite machine in the gym and i always felt embarrassed sweating it out in the gym. So i now have one at home and it is fantastic!

    It uses no electricity apart from batteries for the screen – it looks good and takes up a tiny section of my kitchen :) with room left for me to wander around freely.

    I love this machine and I am soooooooooooo glad i have one!
    HIGHLY reccommended!

  • Moi_Innit // Sep 13, 2009 at 5:58 PM

    How long is a ‘good’ workout on a cross-trainer?

  • Love It All And Grow // Feb 7, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    When I had a gym membership I used to use this machine all the time for my cardio. I figured that instead of paying out for another years worth of gym membership fees I could buy myself one instead. I got a second hand ex-gym precor cross-trainer for just under a £1000. It’s not small and I had to put it in my garage (soon to be in my new conservatory). Wow what a machine and I am so glad that I spent the money instead of the gym. It’s been about 3 years now, and both me and husband work out for 30 mins daily – amazing machine!!!!! I do a mixture of low resistance (5-8) for two mins and then high resistance (8-20) for two minutes which helps with metabolic rate. I would recommend these machine highly, you don’t need to be overweight or injured to get the best out of these machines!

  • sandy // Apr 8, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    Very informative article. I’ve found your site via Google and I’m really glad about the information you provide in your articles. Btw your blogs layout is really broken on the K melon browser. Would be great if you could fix that. Anyhow keep up the great work!

  • fts // Jul 31, 2010 at 3:55 AM

    Using a elliptical is the only exercise machine that I now use, I have great problems with my knees and this is the only type of machine that will not cause me great pain.
    Having one with a built in computer that measures heart rate and mileage is an added benefit

  • Pam Cota // Aug 1, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    a chocolate bar shows 98Kcal and i can see my Cross Trainer shows 200 Calories while I work out for about 30 minutes. How do I have the relation to this : Kcal which shown in the food packet and Calories shown on the Machine.

  • Clint // Aug 4, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    The Cross-trainer is my preferred machine for at-gym-cardio.
    I even use them for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as adjusting speed levels between sprints is made a whole lot easier.

  • farah // Oct 12, 2010 at 4:41 AM

    how many minutes do we use it everyday?

  • Steve // Nov 7, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    Cross-trainer is ace. I broke my hip 9 months ago, and as a result my knees are also wrecked because of muscle problems in my quads. I can now do half hour, then weights then another half hour burning a total of 700 calories not including the weights. Yet I have no pain whatsoever in my hip or knees. Def the way forward, why anyone would want to damage themselves running is beyond me.

  • Zul // Nov 15, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    As mentioned by you and many, this machine helps those on recovery path and those with injuries (& the risks).

    However, if we’re talking about fat loss, elliptical is not ideal. Unless, like Clint mentioned, we do HIIT. But then again, HIIT with elliptical have disadvantages:

    1. The handles are a nuisance. You can’t really go high intensity with the moving handles
    2. Regular intervals will break the machine in faster time then we can think off, like what happen to my brothers’ [yes, i do HIIT using his machine :-)]

  • James // Nov 29, 2010 at 2:52 AM

    I injured my knee about a year ago and found that a elliptical is the easiest and least painful of exercise that I can do. It’s also better than walking for that also causes some pain too.

  • wkendwarrior.jin // Feb 19, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I must admit a cross trainer takes less space as compared to a treadmill, and is definitely more fun to do than a stationary bike.

  • bambang // Mar 29, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    The biggest benefit of an Elliptical trainer is the time you can save by using this machine. There are many people who lead extremely busy lives and do not have a great deal of free time to spend exercising and keep their body in good health.

  • weeling // May 4, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Hi Mun,
    been following your blog for quite a while.
    In Malaysia, which Elliptical trainer do you recommend ?
    Mid-range, for home use. want a reliable one, that takes up little space.
    There’s just so many in the market, i’m confused.
    Front wheel? rear wheel?
    what brand do you recomend?? what model?

    newbie here… just wanna get fit, and i think elliptical/cross trainer sounds great to start my exercise regime!


  • sarah // Mar 25, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    I have lower back damage am in pain most days. Could the cross trainer make it worse. Cheers

  • hampi // Sep 21, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    cross trainer is a very satisfying work-out machine. I keep the Level 18 and RPM to 45 and I can feel my abs working out too as I work. Keeping the posture straight,bust up and using arms as much as you use legs make it a complete worker. Just keep up the posture and pump up the level and see your abs squeeze as move your arms! keep it burning

  • Sjaak S // Nov 16, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    I’m living in Thailand and bought a crosstrainer a year ago. Thought I was going to use it only on rainy days, if I can’t go out bicycling. But now I’m using it on a daily basis, early morning when it is still cool (25 degrees celcius) for about 45 minutes. My training is simple: the lowest number feels already as hard as the mid level on the crosstrainer I used in my home country. So I start with that, after 15 minutes I increase the level by one and after 15 minutes back to 1 again. When I’m done, my clothes are dripping wet.
    While on the crosstrainer I attach my Android Tablet to the front panel and watch a movie. So I don’t get bored. It’s great and it makes me feel good.

  • Poulose // Jan 3, 2015 at 3:05 AM

    I am spending 30 minutes in the cross trainer daily. It is a fantastic machine without any noise and so fun to do exercise. I am sweating well and burning around 160 calories daily.

  • John // May 5, 2017 at 10:35 PM

    Such a great read. I have this machine at home and until now
    I am doing such exercise. It really works well on strengthening and building my lower legs.

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