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Elliptical Vs. Crosstrainer

author image Patrick Dale
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.
Elliptical Vs. Crosstrainer
Woman working out on an elliptical machine. Photo Credit: nd3000/iStock/Getty Images

A wide variety of exercise machines are available to help you get rid of excess fat and achieve a slim and well-toned body. Most gyms and health clubs offer access to many of these options, including crosstrainers and elliptical trainers. You also can purchase equipment for home use. Regular use of a crosstrainer or elliptical burns fat, helps with weight management and tones many of your major muscles.

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Crosstrainers and ellipticals offer an important advantage over jogging and running. Both exercises are low-impact workouts that place a minimal stress through your weight-bearing joints -- specifically your knees, hips and spine. These two types of exercise machines are especially accessible if you have lower limb injuries or are significantly overweight. Both types offer an easily adjustable workout that can be customized to meet your individual fitness requirements -- intense for more advanced exercisers, or more sedate for beginners or the less fit.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Both elliptical and crosstrainers are aerobic exercise machines that improve the condition of your heart and lungs. American College of Sports Medicine states that cardiovascular fitness is directly linked to cardiovascular health. According to the ACSM, people who perform regular cardiovascular workouts are less likely to develop coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.

Musculoskeletal Benefits

Both types of equipment place a sufficient stress through your lower body to improve muscle tone and bone mass. Although both crosstrainers and ellipticals offer a low-impact workout, they are also weight-bearing activities. This stresses your muscles and bones; your body responds to this stress by making these structures stronger. However, while ellipticals only exercise the lower body, crosstrainers also involve an arm action and therefore provide a more all-over workout.

Fat Burning

Working out on a crosstrainer or elliptical burns fat, the primary fuel used in aerobic activity. The amount of fat burned depends on the intensity of your workout and your body weight. Crosstrainers involve not only the large muscles of the lower body, but also the arms, chest, shoulders and upper back. They utilize a greater proportion of your total muscle mass, and therefore can burn more fat than ellipticals.


Though the upper body action utilized by crosstrainers means that you can gain greater benefits in a shorter time frame, you have the option not to use the upper body action, which means you can use a crosstrainer as if it were an elliptical. However, ellipticals are more common for home and light commercial use due to their mechanical simplicity, smaller size and lower cost.

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