Cross Trainers Versus Treadmills – Which Is Best

If you’re currently building a personal home gym, you may find yourself going back and forth with the question of whether you should invest in a cross trainer or a treadmill. Both are considered to be great pieces of cardiovascular equipment and without a doubt can help you reach your fitness and fat loss goals.

But, does one come ahead of the other? Is there a superior choice between these two that you should lean towards if you really want to maximize your success?

Let’s take a closer look at the cross trainers versus treadmill debate so you can learn for yourself which piece of equipment is right for you.

Treadmill Pros

First you need to assess the pros to using a treadmill. The great thing about treadmill is that running is a very calorie intensive activity, so from a fat loss perspective, it definitely ranks high up there on the best forms of exercise to be doing.

In addition to that, since running doesn’t take a lot of skill or muscular strength, almost anyone can use it.

And, if you aren’t a runner, walking is as basic of a form of exercise as it gets, so everyone can easily complete these sessions.

The other nice thing about a treadmill is that you can put it on an incline and perform intense incline walking. For those who don’t like to run or can’t stand the impact, incline walking is a perfect alternative.

When done briskly, this can burn just as many calories as running and will also really strengthen the hamstrings, quads, and glute muscles as well. If you want a shapely lower body, incline walking is perfect.

Treadmill Cons

On the cons side of using a treadmill, first, these machines can require quite a bit of maintenance. If you’re running on a treadmill quite hard and often, do expect to have regular service calls to keep it in good working order.

This is why having a good warranty is especially important if you plan to purchase a treadmill. It will definitely increase the initial cost to you, but over the long run it will be well worth it.

The second downfall to using a treadmill is that it does provide that high impact, so for those with knee or back pain, this could be problematic.

Even incline walking does still have some impact, so depending on how severe your pain is, it may or may not be out of the question.

Finally, the last downside to a treadmill is that it is exclusively a lower body workout, so you should also plan to include either some rowing cardio as well to get the arms involved in addition to your treadmill sessions, or perform upper body weight as well.

This is vital for good overall muscle balance and building a complete workout program.

Cross Trainer Pros

Looking over to the cross trainer side of things now, one of the biggest pros about the cross trainer is the fact that it is so low-impact. This is what very often draws many people to these in the first place – they find they can’t walk or run, but this machine allows them to still get their cardio in without being in pain.

The second really great thing about the cross trainer is the calorie burn. These machines can definitely match that of a treadmill and if you’re setting the resistance high, it could even top it. This is largely due to the fact that you’ll get the upper body working as well, so you’ll see added calories being expended because of that.

Finally, the last nice thing about the cross trainer is that it will help firm the lower and upper body since you are working against that resistance, so if you aren’t planning on doing a weight lifting program in addition to your cardio, this is a smart choice.

While you won’t build up as much strength on the cross trainer as you would with free weights, you will definitely see strengthening benefits nonetheless.

Cross Trainer Cons

Looking at the cons of the cross trainer, the first issue is the movement pattern itself. For some individuals, this movement pattern feels incredibly awkward and it’s just not something that they’ll get used to.

If this is something you deal with, it could influence the intensity in which you’re able to work at, thus influencing the results that you get.

Another issue that can arise is if you have a very strong lower body and a very weak upper body. In this situation, one of two things can occur. Either you’ll end up primarily using the lower body muscles to perform the activity thus the upper body really won’t increase its conditioning level at all, or secondly, you may find that your upper body strength becomes a limiting factor to how hard you’re able to work.

Because of this, the lower body doesn’t get challenged as much as it should and you aren’t progressing as quickly as you’d like.

So as you can see, both the treadmill and the cross trainer have their fair share of pros and cons. The real answer to whether one is superior than the other depends on your own personal preferences and goals.

Your workout program will always be dependent on you actually doing the workouts, so if you love the cross trainer and hate running, then that’s what you should choose regardless of whether one is ‘better’.

When you enjoy an exercise, you’ll do it regularly and that is what leads to long-term, long-lasting results.

Since both machines are quite similar, there definitely is not one that’s better than the other, just one that’s a better fit for you.



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