How to differentiate between an elliptical and a cross trainer machine

Michelle Lambert
Oct 22, 2017 · 3 min read

The term ‘elliptical’ is alternately used for three distinct cardio workout machines which include an elliptical trainer, elliptical cross trainer and the elliptical glider.

They are all lumped up together to be called the ‘elliptical.’ The one main difference between the cross trainer and an elliptical trainer is that they have the arm handles which can move to and fro with the efforts of your shoulders and arms.

There are several other differences as well which makes one of the more lucrative for you. However, the elliptical trainers are unanimously preferred by the fitness enthusiasts for their versatility and the ability to look well after their body. What is the best elliptical machine is a quest for many home fitness enthusiasts and this unique guide will help them choose the best.

The differences in the design of the two machines

The design is the main thing which is of concern to the user, and they both vary a lot from each other. The elliptical cross trainers come with arms or the handlebars which can move with the motion of the arms, but the incline of the pedals is not adjustable.

However, controlling the incline enables you to choose to emphasize more on your glutes and the hamstrings. The moving handlebars along with the legs give you an incredible variety to tone up your upper body along with your legs.

If the purpose is to increase the intensity of the workout, then you can do so by increasing your speed or in other words the resistance level in all such machines. Health fitness is important for the human body. You can take care of your health fitness by running, hiking, bicycling etc. If you think about health fitness you can check

It is possible using the regular elliptical trainers, but the cross trainer also increases the intensity in your arms by adjusting the resistance levels. You can raise the incline level of the elliptical trainer to make it a more serious workout.

There are several options to anchor the intensity of both the machines, but it remains inconclusive that which type helps in burning more calories. According to an estimate from the experts, the elliptical trainers help in burning 300 calories in just 30 minutes for a 145 pounds person on standard settings.

The major differences in the muscles used

The cross trainers help in toning the upper body muscles which the elliptical trainer doesn’t. The hip and knee extension is done in both the versions by deploying the pedals through leg movements. The hip extension is done with the help of buttock and thigh muscles which also includes the bicep femora’s, gluteus maxims, semimembranosus, Adductor Magnus and the semitendinosus.

The quads muscles are responsible for all the knee extensions while working out on either of the machines. Further, the cross trainer also offers exercise for the elbow flexion, shoulder flexion, shoulder extension and retraction and protraction of your shoulder blades.

This kind of body involvement also emphasizes your shoulder, back, forearm, upper arm, and the chest, etc. The upper arm muscles such as the biceps, triceps, rhomboids, teres major, pecs, lats, levator scapulae, brachial are, and the levator scapulae are typically involved with excellent results for consistent users. None of these muscles from the upper part of the body are affected using an elliptical trainer.

The problematic levels in using both the trainers

When both the machines are used as intended, then the cross trainer is found to be much more challenging as it demands as it demands additional input from you. You need to coordinate your arms and legs movement very well for optimal results, and you also need to balance well. Balancing becomes a challenge as the machine doesn’t offer any point of contact between itself and your body.

The cross trainers also have stationary bars which can be deployed if balancing over the platform is becoming an issue. However, using stable handlebars instead of the moving ones defeats the purpose of using such advanced systems.

The coordination using the moving handlebars on a cross trainer is challenging because your right foot goes forward while the arm is back and the right side of your body at the same time is making different motions. The elliptical cross trainer is advanced, but the elliptical machine still has its value with much more followers.

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