Elliptical cross trainers -- more simply known as elliptical trainers -- aren't perfect; some of them have limited stride lengths, which means they only fit a limited cross-section of the population. Most gym elliptical trainers, however, will suit a wide range of body types, and they offer a range of benefits that's just as wide. Elliptical trainers offer a low-impact, full-body workout that burns calories to the tune of 800 per hour, depending on your body weight.
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A Low-Impact Workout
Because your feet never leave an elliptical trainer's pedals, you don't have to worry about the repeated pounding your joints take when you run on a treadmill. Even walking offers a certain degree of impact -- albeit much less -- that you can avoid by using an elliptical trainer. Yet elliptical trainers still offer all the benefits of a weight-bearing workout, which helps build bone density in your legs, hips and spine.
Work Those Arms
Some elliptical trainers have moving handlebars. Push and pull on those handlebars as you pedal for a true full-body workout. The back-and-forth motion targets your chest, back, shoulders and arms, while the pedals work every major muscle in your lower body.
If you're trying to lose weight, a vigorous workout on an elliptical trainer can burn up to 800 calories per hour, depending on your body weight. You can up that number by doing intervals, increasing resistance or using those upper-body handles. Overall, elliptical trainers offer the potential for a high-intensity workout without the risks of injury found in higher impact training.