A cross trainer is your number one ally when it comes to burning calories, developing your coordination and toning the whole of your body effectively and over time.
We give you our advice on how to use it and achieve your objectives.
Your posture is vital to making your cross-trainer sessions as good as they can be.
Before you start training you need to think about the following:
Keep your back nice and straight and you'll engage your abdominal muscles.
LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD
Look right in front of you and relax your shoulders. That will stop your neck from feeling sore.
Keep them aligned with your legs to avoid twisting and improve muscle gain.
Keep your feet flat on the pedals, as far forward as they will go.
Place your hands on the handles.
If you pedal without using the handles, because you don't want to overwork your arms, then straighten your back and your chest as much as possible to help you maintain your balance throughout the session.
When you use a cross trainer you can tone up all or part of your body (upper or lower body, depending on your needs).
Rather than increase muscle mass, the cross trainer focuses more on toning, weight loss (by burning calories) and coordinating arm and leg movement.
It can be used by people of all ages and does not involve any impact on the joints.
As with any workout, a good warm-up is vital before your cross trainer session.
You need to spend at least 45 minutes to one hour on the cross trainer for the session to be effective.
Set the incline and speed to suit your objective and ability level.
You should never feel out of breath or force it and you should set the resistance to match your physical abilities.
If your goals are...
1. Burning calories:
Interval training is the best way to lose weight and increase your stamina. It involves alternating between periods of high heart-rate intensity and periods of rest and recovery.
2. Toning all or parts of your body:
Want to tone up your whole body?
The more you push with your arms, the more you will work out your upper and lower body.
3. Giving your upper body a workout (chest, back, arms, stomach)
The repeated movements back and forth will help you strengthen your back and chest.
By pushing hard on the handles on your cross trainer and focusing all your effort on your arms, you'll tone up your triceps and chest area.
And if you pull hard on the handles, you'll work your back and biceps more.
4. Giving your lower body a workout (hips, thighs, glutes)
To tone up your lower body (hips, thighs and glutes): take your hands off the handles, keep your posture upright and focus on working your legs while increasing the incline of the pedals (depending on your level of ability). This will allow you to work on your legs only.
If you want to tone your legs, you can set the pedals at an angle and increase the resistance manually and gradually.
The cross trainer offers programmes that can be adapted to every type of user and objective (weight loss, performance, stamina, etc).
Generally speaking, training sessions run from 45 minutes to one hour. Here is a typical session:
Start off with a 10-minute warm-up with the resistance set at level 2 or 3 (manual setting).
Then burn off the calories for 20 to 30 minutes by gradually increasing the resistance level to 6 or 7.
Slowly move into the recovery phase, eventually taking the resistance level back down to 2 or 3 to allow your heart to slow down and recover.
You should plan to do a minimum of three cardio or stamina sessions a week, each lasting 30 to 40 minutes and also containing 15 minutes of warm-up and recovery.
Try to spread your sessions out (every next day) to stop things from getting monotonous and to give yourself a day to recover.
To be effective, a cross trainer session should last at least 45 minutes.
You have to be organised to schedule your sessions and you also need to be patient, as it takes around two months to start seeing the results.
To keep your motivation levels up you need to alternate your cross trainer sessions with group muscle strengthening and cardio sessions in the gym.
If your focus is on toning and weight loss, this will allow you to retain your muscle mass.
Once you've set your objectives and programmed your sessions, get some music or podcasts together. It will make time go quicker when you're working out.