The crosstrainer - often referred to as elliptical crosstrainer, is a flexible fitness equipment and provides great cardio exercise. It has been described as to be like cross-country skiing when you work out on a crosstrainer. They target almost all your major muscle groups and work your upper and lower body simultaneously. Alternatively, you can opt for stationery handles should you wish to concentrate just on your lower body. Besides giving you good cardio workouts, crosstrainers also allow you to improve your strength and muscle tone.

Naturally, as you work out on the crosstrainer, you would improve your stamina and balance too. Additionally, you get to target muscle groups in your buttocks, thighs, calves, back, abdomen, shoulders and arms. Unlike treadmills, crosstrainers require your constant effort to maintain your speed and momentum. One way to maintain your focus is to add varieties to your workouts. Here are other tips to help you get the most out of crosstrainer workouts.


Interval Training

Interval training is one of the best ways to boost your cardiovascular fitness. How does interval training work? The fundamentals of interval training is to repeat a cycle of short but high intensity bursts of speed; then, with slow, recovery phases. Since your fitness is best depicted with the rate you recover, when you persist with this rotation, you would make your body recover more efficiently. In this manner, you would boost your fitness.  You may try this and as you get fitter, you can decrease recovery time and bring the intervals closer:


Work your core

Crosstrainers can provide effective strengthening of your core muscles. When you let go of the handles, you would engage your core and abdominal muscles for balance. So, drop your arms to work your core because when you strengthen your core muscles, your abdomen would be strengthened. So too would your thoracic and cervical region of the spine. The result is that you would complain less of lower back pains, have slimmer waistline as well as improve your stability and posture.


Push & Pull

For upper body training, simply push and pull the handlebars and use your arms to impel the crosstrainer while your legs stop pedalling. Reduce the resistance level. This is great to tone your arms, shoulders, chest and back but do remember to keep a straight back at all times to avoid injury. Pushing works your triceps and chest more while pulling works your biceps, shoulders and back. Break into 2 or 3 intervals of upper body work out during your exercise sessions. You should see encouraging results.


Pedal backwards

This can be tricky and suitable for the more experienced and serious-minded. Pedalling backwards would greatly improve your thigh tone. You would also be challenging your balance. The results would be you improve your agility while giving your quads an intensive workout. Your body would be changing the way it uses its muscles for backward motions. To seriously work your thighs, let the handles go and squat down while you keep on backward pedalling. This is highly effective. Keep it to no more than 30 seconds as your legs can and will tire quickly. Do this a few times during your workout and you would see a big difference to your thighs and buttocks.


Increase resistance

To improve your strength and burn more calories, increase the resistance as you get fitter and stronger. This is only logical and to be expected because when you increase resistance, your body needs to apply more effort and hence, has to work harder. Working out at the same resistance level would only result in your body getting used to it. What eventually happens is it will use less strength and energy to work the same load.


* Please consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise program.