Beginner tips to improve your cross trainer workout

Looking for a way to enhance your cardiovascular health with a cross trainer workout plan that actually works?

A cross trainer is one of the most effective pieces of gym equipment. When used correctly, it helps you to lose weight and tone muscles. The machine is easy to use too, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

As you use a cross trainer, you’ll notice your heart rate increase and feel blood pumping throughout your whole body. You’ll target major muscle groups during your workout, including arms, shoulders, back, legs, abs, and glutes.

Whether you’re new to the gym or want to enhance your current regime, keep reading to find out more. Before we jump straight in, let’s look at how a cross trainer helps you tone up and lose weight.

two women and a man working out on cross trainers

Table of contents

Is a cross trainer good for losing weight?

Studies have shown a person weighing 155lb can burn 324 calories during a 30-minute cross trainer workout. But does burning more calories mean losing more weight?

When exercising, your body uses energy from calories you’ve recently consumed combined with energy stored for fuel. Fewer calories and increased physical activity mean that energy from your body fat is used. By burning fat whilst having a low intake of calories, you use more of the calories you’ve just consumed and therefore store less.  

To lose weight in the long term, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This is where you consume fewer calories than what your body expends. As long as you’re consuming fewer calories than what you’re burning, a cross trainer workout is great to lose weight.

Are cross trainers good for losing belly fat?

If your primary goal for using a cross trainer is to cut belly fat, you’ll need to plan your workout accordingly. Having a consistent regime with a pace and resistance that allows you to push yourself will mean you’re more likely to lose weight. A calorie deficit, healthy diet and a good workout plan will guarantee results. 

Is a cross trainer good for toning muscles?

women concentrating during cross trainer workout

Although a cross trainer mainly targets your lower body, other muscles group can benefit from this highly versatile machine. Your arms and abs can also be worked, meaning that around 80% of your body can be targeted.

To get the most from your cross trainer workout, positioning your body correctly is key. Keep your back straight, core engaged and head up to feel the full benefits. By moving both your arms and legs, you’ll get a full-body workout.

Note that you won’t typically build muscle using a cross trainer. However, to help you tone your muscles, go at a slow pace but use a high resistance.

How do I tone my stomach on a cross trainer?

Although your stomach may not be directly impacted by a cross trainer workout, there are a few things you can do to help.

  1. Avoid using the handles. By not using the handles, you will be driving the movement from your hip-flexors and core rather than with your arms.  
  2. Increase the resistance to a higher level
  3. Watch your diet to ensure you’re in a calorie deficit
  4. Add additional core workouts to your regime for quicker results

Does the cross trainer work your arms?

To tone your upper body with a cross trainer, including your arms, shoulders and back, make sure you hold the moveable handlebars. The less you use your legs to power the machine, the more you’ll rely on your arms for movement. By using a push-pull motion, your upper body will be driving the workout.

Is the cross trainer good for slimming legs?

Due to the nature of a cross trainer, you don’t have to worry about bulking. For shapely pins, simply keep your legs moving at a resistance level you can feel working. You’ll notice a difference mainly in your thighs and your calves as they become more toned over time.

Is the cross trainer good for your bum?

Whilst doing the pedalling movement that operates the cross trainer, your glute muscles are activated. The back and forth motion keeps your bum engaged during the entirety of the workout. For a high-intensity feeling, push your heels down or pedal backwards! 

How long should I work out on a cross trainer?

It’s recommended that you do a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes worth of moderate cardio workout per week. However, for better results, you should exercise for 60 minutes a day, five days a week. To maximise weight loss, try doing a HIIT workout.

The longer and more frequently you use a cross trainer, you’ll notice:

  1. A boost in stamina and endurance
  2. Stronger and more toned muscles
  3. Improved balance and posture
  4. Increased lung capacity
beginner being shown how to use a cross trainer

Is it OK to use a cross trainer every day?

Although you may be tempted to work out every day to experience the above points quicker, this can do more harm than good. Remember not to overdo it. By trying to do too much, you’ll put inevitable strain and stress on your body. Take a rest day to allow your muscles to recover and refuel. 

What’s the difference between a cross trainer and an elliptical?

Although a cross trainer and elliptical may look the same on the surface, they have one very distinct difference. They are both low-impact machines that are great for your cardiovascular health and focus on similar muscle groups. However, a cross trainer allows you to target one primary set of muscles that an elliptical does not.

An elliptical has a stationary set of handlebars, whereas cross trainers have moveable arms. This enables you to push and pull with your arms as well as your legs, offering a more well-rounded, full-body workout. 

Cross trainer workout plans

If you’re looking for cross trainer workouts to help you get in shape, you’ve come to the right place. The duration and rate of perceived exertion can be followed as a guide to help you lose weight and tone muscles.

Cross trainer workouts for beginners

Your first time using a cross trainer doesn’t need to be scary. This 30-minute routine is great for beginners, but feel free to adjust the resistance based on your abilities.

0-5 Minutes – RPE 4 (gentle pace with moderate resistance)

5-25 Minutes – RPE 6/4 (20 minutes of interval training, changing resistance every 2 minutes)

25-30 Minutes – RPE 3 (gentle cooldown)

HIIT Cross trainer workout 

Push your cross trainer workout to the next level with HIIT training. During the interval training, make sure you do one minute of fast sprinting and one minute at a slow pace to feel the full benefit.

0-5 Minutes – RPE 4 (gentle pace with moderate resistance)

5-20 Minutes – RPE 8/4 (15 minutes of interval training, changing resistance every 1 minute)

20-25 Minutes – RPE 9/3 (10 minutes of interval training, changing resistance every 1 minute)

25-26 Minutes – RPE 7 (1 minute final sprint)

26-30 Minutes – RPE 4 (gentle cooldown)

Buy a cross trainer for home use

Here at Fitkit, we sell both commercial and home use cross trainers. Whether you’re hitting your local gym or looking to buy a one for yourself, you now know how to use the machine for full impact.

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