Buying a cross trainer can be difficult, but with our help you'll get the best cross trainer for your goals, budget and home. Read our cross trainer buying guide below or get in touch with our dedicated customer service team.
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Users of a magnetic cross trainer will need to manually turn a knob or lever to change the resistance. Increasing the resistance allows you to work harder during your workout. Reducing resistance makes it easier to "pedal" your legs, similar to gears on a bike. These are entry-level cross trainers and are cheaper than electro-magnetic cross trainers. Some retailers don't clearly identify their cross trainers as magnetic, so look out for a twist knob below the console.
This type of cross trainer uses a varying magnetic field to control the resistance level. You will be able to easily change how hard you are working with a touch of a button on the computer console. This is ideal for changing quickly between resistance levels during interval training. Interval workouts are the most effective form of cross trainer workout for improving fitness. This is the type of resistance found on most good quality UK cross trainers.
Rear driven cross trainers have the flywheel at the back of the machine and allow your feet to move in an elliptical motion. This movement mimics natural running and walking styles. Rear driven cross trainers also often provide a smoother motion. All JTX Fitness cross trainers are rear driven because we believe this provides the best full-body workout.
A front drive cross trainer has a flywheel at the front of the machine and a more circular movement. The stride on a front-drive cross trainer feels like you are climbing steps. The motion is more circular and feels less natural than rear driven cross trainers. Front driven cross trainers often take up less space than rear driven machines. The JTX Zenith: Digital Incline Cross Trainer features a front drive flywheel.
An incline cross trainer allows the user to target different muscle groups. The level of incline can be changed to simulate walking up hill or training on the flat. Particularly good for targeting core muscles and upper thighs. The JTX Tri-Fit incline cross trainer offers 3 levels of incline.
A variable stride length cross trainer provides a range of stride length settings in one machine. It allows the user to choose between a walking (shorter stride) and a more intensive, running motion (longer stride). These are also a great option where different family members, with different natural stride lengths are likely to use the cross trainer. Most adults need a stride length of at least 16 inches. The JTX Tri-Fit cross trainer offers a stride length of 16 - 20 inches.
HIIT Trainer is the generic term for this type of cross trainer. The Bowflex Max Trainer is the market leader for this type of cross trainer. They are a hybrid between a cross trainer and a step machine. The pedals move up and down like a step machine (equivalent to walking up stairs) whilst the handles provide an upper body workout like a cross trainer. They are designed for high intensity interval training for intermediate to advance levels of fitness. Beginners may need to spend several weeks building up their fitness to train on them for the recommended 14minutes even without the high intensity intervals.The magnetic and fan resistance can also be used to make the climb more challenging too. Unlike Max Trainers, cross trainers have a broader range of workout intensity options for beginners to athletes. This is because the motion is more similar to walking at low intensity and running at high intensity. Hiit and Max trainers have a small footprint which is ideal for home use. However they can be quite loud due to the resistance fan.
Brands have different definitions of semi-commercial gym equipment. This should indicate robust build quality and simple interfaces. They are normally larger than home cross trainers and are built for 5 -7 hours of use per day. A semi-commercial cross trainer label can be quite misleading because this definition can be so broad. It is better to take a detailed look at the stride length, machine weight and details of the commercial warranty to indicate the quality of a cross-trainer. See the JTX Zenith Rise for a semi-commercial gym cross trainer and the JTX Strider X7 for a home cross trainer.
Commercial cross trainers are built for use in gyms for up to 17 hours per day. They often have very simple consoles with a range of programmes and heart rate training. They have been built to withstand intensive public gym conditions and will normally cost between £5-£12k. Life Fitness are the market leader in commercial gym cross trainers.
These cross training machines use a belt and flywheel to manage the resistance levels. These tend to be cheap cross trainers with a low build quality. If you are looking for a cross trainer that is robust and reliable, we would recommend that you avoid this style of cross trainer.
The JTX Strider X7 is our smallest cross trainer. You’ll see from the dimensions (130cm x 70cm) it's not that small. This is because although space is very important to our customers we have prioritised the most important feature…that you can exercise effectively on the machine.
Unfortunately small cross trainers do not allow you to increase the length of your stride. Your stride naturally increases as you pick up the pace (the difference between walking and jogging or running). If you can't take a long step then you will struggle to increase your pace or heart rate. Cross trainers with a small footprint cannot support our minimum recommended stride length of 16 inches. See our most compact cross trainer here.Shop Elliptical Cross Trainers
Exercising on a cross trainer will help you lose weight, get fit, tone up your muscles and improve health. These cross trainer benefits can be realised by training regularly for a short period of time. Cross trainers also provide a fantastic low impact workout, so they are kinder to your joints and muscles than other gym equipment.
Cross trainers will tone and strengthen your quads, hamstrings, calves, bottom and arms, all at the same time. It will also flex your stomach and sides with gentle twisting movements. You can increase the resistance level to improve muscle tone or keep the resistance levels low to achieve cardio and weight loss goals. Select a cross trainer with an incline feature and you can target your stomach and thighs too.
Cross trainers are fantastic for burning calories because they work multiple muscle groups at the same time –providing a more intense workout. The number of calories you can burn on a cross trainer will vary based on age, gender, physical fitness and the amount of effort you exert. As a rough guide, it takes an average of 30 minutes to burn off 200 calories.
Change the emphasis of your workout based on the body part you want to target. For example, if you want to strengthen and tone of your arms, relax your leg muscles and let your arms pump backwards and forwards. Incline cross trainers like the JTX Tri-Fit will help you target the most common problem areas; thighs, bottom and stomach. You can also work on improving your core stability by taking your arms off the handles and solely using your legs to exercise. Cross Trainers are completely adaptable and offer something for everyone, whatever your age, sex, fitness goal or ability.
Cross trainers provide a fantastic cardio workout for the heart. A few sessions a week on a cross trainer will improve your general aerobic fitness, strengthen bones and increase lung capacity.
There is no doubt that cross training machines offer a much lower impact workout than running. Your feet don’t leave the supports on a cross trainer which creates much less impact on your knees, joints and back. This reduces the likelihood of an injury. The longer the cross trainer stride length, the smoother the motion and impact on your joints.
Cross trainers are a fantastic supplementary training option if you are working towards an endurance challenge. They allow you to increase the duration or regularity of your workouts without adding the increased risk of injury that endurance training can result in. This means your body and fitness levels improve at a much faster rate than if you were to stick to one type of exercise.
This simple fact makes cross training machines the perfect fitness solution for the home. Cross trainers are quiet for two main reasons. The first is that, unlike running, your feet don't leave the workout surface. The low impact nature of a cross trainer means no sound is emitted as you workout. The second reason is that the movement is created by your muscles rather than a motor (unlike a treadmill). There is a resistance motor but they are generally very quiet. Older cross trainers can become noisy over time and can create an annoying squeaking noise but this can normally be resolved by tightening up the bolts relating to the moving parts. You can find out more about cross trainer maintenance here
We recommend that you don’t keep electronic fitness equipment in cold rooms or garages. In the winter months particularly, the temperature can fluctuate widely. This can cause condensation inside the computer and circuit boards. If you do want to keep your machine in a room like this we certainly recommend keeping it under a heavy sheet or rug to help minimise the risk of damage.
It is also worth avoiding rooms which get extremely warm. This is not so much about maintenance, more because it will make it more difficult and uncomfortable when you come to workout.
If you can, we recommend you put your cross trainer in a room with a TV or stereo. Getting motivating tunes or your favourite TV series on will help you get in the zone and smash through your training.
Cross trainers can be surprisingly large. Add 10 – 15cm to the width and length of a cross trainer for easy access and enough space to comfortably workout.
Most cross trainer manufacturers provide a maximum user weight of around 20 stone (130kg). This often increases with the quality of the machine. If you weigh near or over 13 stone, we recommend you look for a machine with a footprint larger than 140cm long and 75cm wide to ensure a stable and enjoyable workout.
This is the maximum distance between the rear of your front foot and the front of your rear foot as you workout. It is important to consider stride length when you buy a cross trainer. In general long stride length cross trainers are higher quality than those with strides under 18 inches. The stride length effects the range of movement on a cross trainer. Using a walking motion on a cross trainer only requires a short stride length. Increasing the speed and intensity of the workout extends the length of the stride. If you use a cross trainer with a stride length that is too short your workout will be restricted and the movement can feel awkward.
The flywheel's job is to create a smooth feeling pedalling action without pauses or gaps between each stride. This is achieved by creating momentum. Momentum can be generated by weight OR speed. Heavier flywheels use their weight to create more momentum and a smooth action. However some flywheels have been designed to generate momentum by spinning a lot faster. For these flywheels to spin faster they need to be light weight. So it can be a red herring to use flywheel weight to indicate the quality of a cross trainer. Its also worth noting that some manufacturers cut costs by using lightweight flywheels too. So we highly recommend disregarding the flywheel weight and reading independent customer reviews about how the cross trainers feels to use instead.
You can increase the intensity of your cross trainer workout by increasing your pace, or resistance level, or both. By increasing the resistance the cross trainer increases the force for you to pedal against. In general having a larger number of resistance levels on a machine is better than only a few. However cross trainer ‘A’ with 20 resistance levels might not offer more resistance than cross trainer ‘B’ with 10 levels. The difference between each resistance level on cross trainer ‘B’ may just be larger. So, we would not recommend using the number of resistance levels on a machine as an indicator of quality.
Reviews are a great way to understand if a company is as good as they say they are. We collate our reviews in association with TrustPilot, which means you can be absolutely sure they are independent, authentic reviews from genuine customers. Read JTX cross trainer reviews.
If possible, we would recommend testing a cross trainer before making a purchase. This will allow you to get a feel for the machine to see if it is the right one for you. You can try out our full range of cross trainers at our gym equipment showroom in Shoreham, West Sussex.
There are a number of important considerations to look for in the terms and conditions:
Another name for a cross trainer, typically used in America. Browse our Elliptical Cross Trainers
This is the maximum distance between the rear of your front foot and the front of your rear foot as you workout. Cross trainer machines offer a variety of stride lengths and it’s important to select the right one for you.
This refers to the mechanism in a machine which effectively creates a long stride in a small machine. Also known as Variable Stride Length or Adjustable Stride Length.
A Flywheel is used to create a smooth workout with no jarring or pausing between strides. The size of the flywheel is one way to identify a good quality cross trainer. However the flywheel weight can be misleading. Light weight flywheels can also generate the momentum needed to create a smooth action by spinning faster. So we recommend you read customer reviews to get a good understanding of how it feels to use the cross trainer. Compare JTX Cross Trainer flywheel sizes here.
This is provided as a guide by manufacturers. You can expect machines with larger maximum user weights to be more robust. However, this is also open to interpretation by retailers so use this alongside other specification details to identify a good quality cross trainer.
There are two types of heart rate monitor; hand sensor monitors and wearable monitors. Hand sensors come with most fitness machines and take your pulse through the hand grips, they are good as a guide but rarely very accurate. Wearable monitors such as chest straps and watches are generally much more accurate than hand sensors.
Target heart rate training can be used to assist goals ranging from fat burning and weight loss to maximum aerobic capacity development. A target heart rate zone is selected before working out based on the users individual goal. A strap or watch will then monitor your heart rate, giving you real time feedback so you can maintain the right level of effort to stay in your selected target zone. Many fitness machines link to chest straps or watches and auto adjust resistance levels to help keep you in your target zone so it is worth checking product detail pages if you are interested in this type of training.
Most cross trainers will provide a range of workouts. These are designed to help you stay motivated by varying your workouts. They typically include things such as hill climb simulations and heart rate training options. For more workout inspiration, see our cross trainer workouts.
Changing resistance effects how hard you work when moving the foot-plates and handles backwards and forwards. Increased resistance or tension will make it feel like you are moving up hill or against a strong force which increases how hard your muscles are working. Increasing speed is the only other way to increase your effort on a cross trainer.
If you have been toying with the idea of hiring a cross trainer instead of buying one, check out our Cross Trainer Hire vs Cross Trainer Finance page to find out why we think you should always consider buying.Cross Trainer Hire vs Buy
Reviews are a great way to understand if a company is as good as they say they are. We collate our reviews in association with TrustPilot, which means you can be absolutely sure they are independent, authentic reviews from genuine customers.Read Cross Trainer Reviews