How to properly use an elliptical machine

Buy and sell elliptical machines

Cross trainer - Cardio training that is gentle on the joints for everyone


Cardio training with the cross trainer is characterized by flowing movements. Hardly any other workout is as gentle on the joints as the one on the cross trainer; the upper body is also included in the workout thanks to the handgrips that move with it. In addition to endurance and leg muscles, this also trains coordination and posture.


What do you train with the cross trainer?


A cross trainer, also known as an elliptical trainer, orbit trainer, elliptical or arc trainer, combines the advantages of jogging and climbing stairs. Due to the soft, flowing movements, however, the impact forces that act on the joints when they come into contact with the ground, both during running training and when climbing stairs after completing the jumping phase, are eliminated. This makes training with the cross trainer as gentle on the joints as hardly any other cardio workout. The handles enable full-body training; in addition to the legs and buttocks, they also include the entire upper body and especially the latissimus dorsi muscle, also known as latissimus or lat for short. This means that up to 85% of the entire musculature is involved in the training.


Can you lose weight with the cross trainer?


Many muscle groups are addressed on the cross trainer, which means that the calorie consumption is particularly high during training. Depending on body weight, training intensity and a few other factors, up to 800 kcal can be burned per hour. The cross trainer is therefore ideal for losing weight. Since HIIT units are also possible with the cross trainer, fat burning can also be effectively boosted with the great all-rounder among the cardio machines. Cross trainers therefore have a double benefit for all those exercising who want to reduce their body weight efficiently.

What should you look out for when buying a cross trainer?

The most important criteria when buying a cross trainer at a glance:

Flywheel and drive pulley: With the cross trainer, the flywheel is the weight of the flywheel and the drive pulley responsible for the transmission. For devices with the flywheel at the front, a minimum weight of 10 kg is sufficient to guarantee smooth and smooth movement. However, you should take a closer look at the definition of the swing weight by the manufacturer of the cross trainer, as some include the pedal suspension and the treads. Of course, the best way to do this is to take the practical test to get an idea of ​​the movement sequence of the fitness machine.

Braking system: In practice, electromagnetic braking systems such as eddy current brakes have proven themselves for home trainers and have now become the standard. However, there are big differences in quality between the individual manufacturers and the various cross trainer models. With cheaper and inferior quality braking systems, the distances between the pedaling resistances are set too high, so that the jump to a higher level of difficulty is associated with a strong increase in the pedaling resistance.

In return, the resistance of high-quality braking systems of new and used cross trainers can be adjusted at every level of difficulty, which is ideal for a wide variety of training programs.

Security aspects: A TÜV or CE mark on the new or used crosstrainer provides assurance that the device has been tested and has withstood various test criteria. For example, the TÜV checks the manufacturer's specification of the maximum permitted body weight of the cross trainer. To avoid training accidents, it is important that the pedals are non-slip. Some elliptical trainers have raised edges on the pedals, which prevent the feet from slipping off.

Frame stability and product weight: The movement sequence of the cross trainer triggers vibrations that can be noticeable through rattling noises or other noises on the frame. A high-quality workmanship of the exercise bike or home trainer noticeably reduces the noise development here.

Condition of a used device: Inquire about the condition of the device if you are interested in a used cross trainer. Refurbished and serviced elliptical trainers from manufacturers or fitness equipment dealers are particularly suitable here. Because in addition to upgrading the exercise bike, a guarantee is often given.

How do you train properly on the cross trainer?


Training with the cross trainer is easy to learn, thanks to the guided movements, many errors in training are avoided.

One of the great advantages of exercising with the elliptical machine is that it involves the arms and upper body. It is important to enclose the handles with your entire hand. A basic tension must be maintained, the grip should neither be extremely slack and loose nor very strained. The hand and forearm should be in a line. The movement takes place in the shoulder and the crook of the arm, not in the wrists.


The training posture is straight, shoulders and upper body are kept in an upright posture, back, buttocks and legs form a line. The legs should always be slightly bent, stretched knees favor overloading and lead to more and more postural errors.


Elliptical cross trainers have a low Q-factor, which means that the tread surfaces have a small distance from one another. In order to maintain a natural sequence of movements, the distance between the feet should not be more than 20 cm when training with the cross trainer. The feet are placed relatively far in front and on the inside of the treads. When exercising, they don't leave the pedals but always keep full contact.


What are the most common mistakes when training with the elliptical machine?


By far the most common mistakes are posture errors. If the arms and hands are kept too slack, the wrists will be stressed too much when exercising with the cross trainer. If the posture is too tense, powerful and the movement is too active, the upper body is used too much. Beginners in particular can be distracted too much from the sequence of movements.

The back should always be straight, a “reading posture” with shoulders falling forward can lead to back problems, as can a hollow back or an outstretched bottom due to a bent hip.

The feet should always be in full contact with the step surface. Depending on the inclination of the treads, the heels can sometimes be lifted slightly, but under no circumstances should you only train on the balls of your feet or even tiptoe. This puts a lot of strain on the calves and knees, which can lead to overload and pain during training.


How often and for how long should you train with the cross trainer?


Beginners should only work with the cross trainer 2 to 3 times a week for 20 to 30 minutes. Later the training can be increased to 4 - 5 units per week of up to 60 minutes. For more variety in training, the cardio units can of course be completed on different machines. Ergometer or rowing machine are ideal additions to cardio training with the cross trainer.