Investing in the right home gym equipment is pretty essential right now. With the third lockdown in full swing and gyms still closed, being able to get a sweat on and release some feel-good endorphins from home is important. After all, there’s no better way to de-stress after a long day at your desk (or, ahem, kitchen table).
Advice from the wise – if you are searching the web for cross trainer reviews and figuring out which one to go for, we’d say get a wriggle on. Things are selling out fast, and you’ll never regret spending money on improving your fitness, right?
So, why a cross trainer? Also known as an elliptical trainer, they’ve long been hailed as one of the best low impact cardio machines – if you’re someone who struggles with joint pain but enjoys maintaining their cardio fitness, this one’s for you.
Essentially a stepping machine, they mimic a run – and the health benefits of one – without the same high impact as actually pounding the pavements. Expect the same results from regularly using a cross trainer as any cardio sport – improved cardiovascular fitness and high energy burn as well as the stand out USP of any cross trainer, of putting way less stress on your joints than, say, running.
The science says it all, really: one study found that working out on an elliptical significantly reduces ‘weight bearing’ compared to running, jogging, and any other workouts of this nature. Basically, cross training enables you to keep working out hard without the damage that high-impact exercise can have on your body.
What should I look for in a cross trainer?
As with any home workout machine, there are a few different types to choose from, although with cross trainers, there isn’t an awful lot of difference between the makes.
Styles span incline, variable stride, electro-magnetic resistance, ergometer, belt resistance, and rear and front driven. All the styles work in similar ways but have slightly different primary settings: for example, an incline elliptical is great for hill climbs, whereas a variable stride length cross trainer lets you switch between small strides and longer strides (walking or running).
Some machines will have an assortment of the above. The most important technical things to have on your radar are stride length, mentioned above, flywheel weight, and resistance levels.
Stride length will dictate whether you can walk, jog, or run on your elliptical. Aim for over 18 inches if you’ll be wanting to jog or run on your new machine.
Your flywheel weight will dictate how smoothly your machine runs, so as a general rule, the heavier weight it is, the better.
And finally, resistance levels are simply what you’ll have to push against during your workouts, so aim high if you’re looking to push yourself and mix things up.
Top tip: as always, with any bigger investment like this, it’s best to check your elliptical comes with a guarantee. That way, if a part falls off or it arrives not as you purchased, you’re protected.
Which is the best cross trainer to buy?
You’ll likely already know that your home gym equipment is likely to go the distance if you spend a touch more on it. That being said, you can still get some good bargains on cross trainers, too.
If you want something cheap and cheerful, you can’t go wrong with this Roger Black cross trainer from Argos, or our second top budget choice from Amazon, a We-R-Sports 2-in-1. The Opti 2-in-1 Air Cross from Argos isn’t a bad choice, either.
Got a bit more money to invest? NordicTrack are renowned for their home workout machines for a reason, and their Space Saver cross trainer comes with an iFit membership included, and the CX2 Crosstrainer from SportsTech has built-in Bluetooth capabilities.