Cross training has become an integral component of modern workouts. Ensuring a well-balanced as well as grounded fitness level throughout, cross training is best carried out with the help of a dedicated cross training machine or elliptical trainer by your side.
If you intend on working out from the comfort of your home, cross trainers can help in providing an effective as well as a low-impact form of exercise, meaning it can be kinder on your joints than other forms of exercise and therefore means it should be sustainable over long periods of time.
The best cross trainers will provide you with a robust, all body workout and the very best make it a pretty enjoyable experience – especially if you like a bit of friendly competition.
If you are a newbie or even a more experienced user who wants to work out from your home then this guide is designed to spotlight the best cross trainers available with a range of budgets in mind.
Cross trainers help in building the core strength of your body as they cause your torso to twist slightly – allowing your body to burn more calories and offering more engagement of your core muscles.
If you wish to improve the overall cardiovascular fitness of your body, a cross trainer is probably one of the best long term forms of cardio training you can partake in.
With a wide range of cross trainers available it can be tough to decide which is the best for you, so we have taken the hard work out of the equation and bring you our top choices here.
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Top 10 Cross Trainers UK
Since its inception in 1995 by a famous US-based company named “Precor,” the elliptical or cross trainer has gained huge momentum across the globe and these days they are pretty much a staple form of cardio in any respectable commercial gym.
The introduction of these cross trainers sparked the advent of the low-impact exercise era and has seen the dominance that treadmills used to hold start to decline.
An elliptical or cross trainers feature two large platforms that allow you to stand while rolling your feet from the heels to toe – whether you are running or walking.
As you are not leaving the platforms, it causes zero to minimal impact on the joints while giving a good workout to your muscles. Unlike an exercise bike or a treadmill, the cross-body trainer also works on the upper body with the help of two handles as you push and pull them – with varying degrees of resistance available to push your strength and cardio fitness to the max.
In this best cross trainer guide, we will help you choose from some of the top models available in the UK today.
NordicTrack FS10i Cross Trainer
NordicTrack are without a doubt one of the more premium providers of home cardio equipment in the UK, and their new and improved FS10i cross trainer takes the previous FS models to a whole new level.
As a company, they are looking to compete with the likes of Peloton and the FS10i is the Peloton of cross trainers – with a 10 inch HD touchscreen, built in high quality speakers and access to interactive live workouts through iFit making it one of the best all-in-one connected cross trainers available.
It’s not just the connectivity and screen that impress though. The unit is housed in a solid steel constructed frame weighing in excess of 100kg and has a maximum user weight of 170kg – that’s 20kg more than even the JTX Tri-Fit (shown below).
It has an auto adjustable stride length (up to 32 inches) so you get the perfect level of comfort when using it – without the hassle of adjusting it yourself. The near silent operation runs through a 9kg inertia-enhanced flywheel and the whole experience is super smooth – nothing else we tested came close to it.
With 24 levels of digitally controlled resistance and up to a 10 % incline, there is more than enough challenge for even the fittest of users.
Whether you opt to use an iFit membership (you should) or not, the FS10i is about as good as it gets in the home use cross trainer department and has a real commercial quality feel to it.
It couldn’t be easier to use and so long as you have the height in your room (you’ll need at least 70cm higher than the tallest user) and it falls within your budget then this should be your no.1 choice.
JTX Tri-Fit Cross Trainer
If you are looking for a high-quality incline cross trainer that doesn’t break the bank, this model by JTX is the perfect option.
The JTX Tri-fit trainer is an ideal choice for beginners as it is easy to use, but it also has enough challenge to provide a stern test for more advanced users and is perfect for those individuals who wish to target the core muscles of the body, along with focusing on the upper thighs.
The JTX Tri-fit model features as many as 3 different levels of an adjustable incline along with providing full control over the respective incline adjustments of the machine.
As such, the machine offers the freedom to its users to independently change the overall stride length conveniently. The incline model by JTX is combined with the provision of a 17kg flywheel along with 16 levels of the revolutionary electromagnetic resistance and an impressive 20 inch maximum stride length for improved performance – but this is adjustable so you can switch between 16 and 20 inches to create the perfect stride length. With the JTX Tri-fit, you can be assured of having a complete suite of full body workout sessions at your disposal whenever you need it.
The JTX Tri-fit cross trainer features bluetooth connectivity and allows you to sync to the iConsole which provides some added functionality. This serves to be immensely useful in motivating thanks to its visual training as you continue to achieve your desired milestones.
All in all, the Tri-Fit is a great option that mixes affordability with high quality, offers a smooth ride and has a more than adequate stride length that will suit all manner of users – on top of that it can accomodate users up to 150kg in weight. A top buy from us.
JTX Strider X7
The Strider X7 by JTX is the second cross trainer by JTX to make our list and although we could have opted to include their top of the range Zenith, we instead decided to go for their entry level model – as the Tri-Fit is a good middle ground, but this model is ideal for those who have a smaller budget. The JTX Strider X7 is no exception to the usual high quality we have come to expect from JTX Fitness and for those who are looking for a lower price of entry this model stacks up well.
JTX say that the X7 is one of the best sellers on their store, and we can see why – with a decent price tag, a good set of specs and a footprint that won’t take up an entire room – it is the ideal piece of low impact, home cardio equipment. It is presented as a sturdy & durable machine that is complete with an advanced touchscreen LED screen to enhance your overall workout experience. You get access to an impressive collection of 21 built-in workout sessions, a 16-inch stride length and as many as 16 levels of magnetic workout resistance for allowing you to switch to challenging workouts like a pro.
We’d have like to have seen a slightly higher stride length, but for an entry level model is sufficient and will be of particular interest to those who are of a slightly shorter disposition.
With the given price range, the X7 should serve as a good investment. Some of the additional features of this model are the presence of a large coloured touchscreen console, impressive 130kg maximum user weigh and all with the offering of an outstanding full-body, low-impact workout.
Reebok GX40 One Electronic Cross Trainer
If you are a beginner when it comes to cross training you would not typically need a model featuring adjustable stride, incline, and a hulking flywheel. However, you would not like to bring home a model merely going through the motions. With the all-new Reebok GX40 trainer, there is no potential danger as it is a sturdy cross trainer that covers all the basics of cross training.
The cross trainer is known to feature an advanced 5-inch LED display for guiding you through a series of built-in workouts. There is also the presence of advanced console feedback on essential workout parameters like speed, calories, distance, and so more. The model features a 9kg flywheel along with 32-level tension control and an impressive 15-inch stride length. Although some of these specs don’t quite match some of the other models mentioned above, it is priced accordingly and is still a good performer.
All in all, for a budget option from a known brand, this is a decent buy.
Bowflex Max Trainer M5
If you are looking for a high-end model, this cross trainer is a good option. The Bowflex M5 Max Trainer is a bit of a hybrid machine combining stair-climbing as well as elliptical benefits, this top-end cross trainer offers you the opportunity to engage in an intense workout and is as well built as they come. The 14-minute workout on this cross trainer helps in burning as much as 2.5 times more calories than any other standard model thanks to its multi-functional nature.
Additionally, the M5 elliptical trainer can also be integrated with your smartphone with the help of Bluetooth. Typically, this implies that you can sync the workouts – serving to be a vital function for those who wish to make use of the fitness apps while recording their exercise routines. The M5 offers as many as 16 resistance levels that are controlled by a computer system. Moreover, it also sports an interactive console featuring a blue-backlit LCD display for time, speed, distance, and others.
Bowflex BXE326 Results Series
If you are looking for an elliptical trainer with variable stride length, then this model by Bowflex is the perfect choice for you. Featuring an impressive 55.8cm stride length, the model allows you to switch from brisk walking to an all out intensive effort at the touch of a button. The impressive stride length of the model is ample to satisfy even the fastest runners out there.
The best feature of the cross trainer by Bowflex is that it comes fitted with motorised incline adjustments. This helps in delivering you a highly personalised workout session while featuring the hefty 19.5kg flywheel along with 25 varying levels of resistance. The model also comes equipped with the modern 9-inch LCD colour display for keeping a tab on major stats like telemetry heart rate, contact heart rate, heart rate monitoring and more with the help of a chest strap. Some of the additional features of this advanced trainer model are a USB charging port, 3-speed fan integration, MP3 plug-in, water bottle holder, speakers, four different user profiles, media tray, and useful transport wheels.
Proform 7.0 Cross Trainer
If you wish to keep track of your workout session rather than mindless pressing down and pulling, the magnetic resistance elliptical trainers are the best available options. The elliptical trainer model by Proform takes an impressive step by including additional features to the electromagnetic resistance model. Some of the additional features include target power output & real-time power output – both parameters clearly displayed on the innovative LED display screen for keeping track of the overall fitness goals.
The all-new magnetic resistance model of the cross trainer by Proform is known to feature as many as 22 levels of varying resistance along with 11kg of the flywheel and a 53cm stride length that can be adjusted. The trainer also features around 20 inches of the incline range and is therefore perfect for a dedicated trainer. There are as many as 29 built-in workout sessions in the Proform 7.0 that guide you to complete your workout session like a pro. You can also log into the LED screen of the machine to access Google Maps –allowing you to virtually run anywhere in the world.
Hammer Crosstech XTR
If you are looking for a more budget cross trainer model, this is the best option under £500. Featuring a significant 16kg of the flywheel, the Hammer Crosstech XTR cross trainer comes equipped with as many as 16 levels of resistance along with 16 workouts that are built in. The wide number of built-in workout sessions is great for beginners and will even provide a good challenge for intermediate and some advanced users.
The adjustable loads on the trainer are available across 12 profiles. At the same time, 4 profiles of the trainer allow you to remain within the target range for your heart rate. This turns into optimal burning of calories which serves to be an impressive feature of the elliptical trainer. At the same time, the presence of multiple levels of resistance in the model allows you to move gradually from a simple one to a complex workout. The trainer has been combined with a significant 16kg of flywheel serving as one of the best features of this cross trainer.
If you are in the price range of something below £300, then this model by JLL is a good investment for you. The model features an on-board computer system with as many as 9 multiple functions. There is the presence of a 5.5kg flywheel as well, along with multiple resistance levels. The JLL CT300 serves to be an affordable option for those who are not willing to go overboard when it comes to setting up a home-based gym area.
In addition to its impressive specifications, the model is also known to sport a built-in heart rate sensor along with an advanced tablet holder for delivering great convenience as you work out. The experts have also claimed the excellent performance of its myriad of resistance levels as it operates smoothly due to the presence of the 5.5kg of the 2-way flywheel. In the given price range, the model has the absence of any built-in workout programmes for the users.
Pro XS Sports Trainer
This is yet another budget elliptical trainer and although it lacks some of the features of the other models listed above, it will suffice for beginners or those who are not going to be using it on a daily basis. The model is available for around £100 and serves to be a great option when it comes to an entry-level machine. This is the perfect option for those who are looking for something advanced yet on a tight budget. The model is known to feature the technology of adjustable resistance that offers the assurance of adjusting the tension as per your preference – on the basis of whether you are performing a low or high intensity workout.
The resistance of the trainer is controlled with the help of a flywheel driven chain, a tension dial, and an advanced belt resistance – something often found on entry-level trainer models. One of the major benefits of the revolutionary Pro XS Sports trainer is that it features the cutting-edge 2-in-1 functionality. This implies that this model is available with an adjustable seat. As such, this allows you to utilise the machine in the form of a stationary bike as well adding to the overall appeal of the trainer. In addition to this, the trainer also features the advanced LED display functionality which is used for displaying time, speed, distance traveled, and the number of calories burned at the same time. It is known for measuring the heart rate as well with the help of the hand sensors that are used for displaying your pulse rate on the respective screen.
NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i Cross Trainer
This model is now discontinued – see the FS10i above instead
While buying an elliptical trainer for your home-based workout space, the overall space is a major concern for the homeowners. While you might be looking for something that suits your small-space requirement, you might find it hard to find a model that fits this mould – and as a rule – cross trainers tend to be on the larger side. The NordicTrack SpaceSaver model – as the name implies, helps you in saving ample space as you work out in the comfort of your own hom. Once you are done with your exercise, you can simply fold the handles of the trainer while storing it upright in a wardrobe or other storage area. Even if leaving it in place, it is going to take up a smaller footprint than most other models.
In addition to its unique space-saving feature, the all-new trainer by NordicTrack is also great for running. The trainer is known to feature a decent 18 inch stride length along with the presence of an oversized adjustable pedal, 22 level resistance, and a challenging incline that can be adjusted to around 8 degrees. The NordicTrack elliptical trainer also features a 5-inch advanced backlit LED screen that provides guidance across as many as 24 built-in workouts. Some of the additional features of the cross trainer are the presence of a water & tablet holder, an auto breeze fan and an iFit Bluetooth connection.
It is the iFit subscription (that comes included) that really sets this cross trainer apart from some of the competitors as you get full access to a wide range of live and pre-recorded workouts through the 5 inch touch screen monitor. The iFit membership is included for 12 months and brings a Peloton type experience to the world of cross trainers – pretty impressive.
The SE7i is one of our favourite cross trainers so long as you are happy with an 18 inch stride length. In terms of overall build quality it is right up there with the best and the interactivity is top class. There is a maximum user weight of 135kg which is more than ample and is a testament to the overall quality of this model.
Reasons to Buy a Cross Trainer
Cross trainers are often regarded as one of the best types of cardiovascular training equipment. But, the question arises, “Why use a cross trainer in place of an exercise bike or a treadmill?” Here are some top reasons to bring home a top of the range cross trainer for yourself:
- Comprehensive Workout: Unlike working out on a treadmill or exercise bike, an elliptical trainer that comes along with arms, is known to work your upper and lower body, including quadriceps, calves, core muscles, biceps, and other smaller muscles. The comprehensive workout session increases the total amount of calories burnt. As far as the workout of the upper body is concerned, when you pull & push the handles of the arms, it turns into a full-body workout.
- A Wide Range of Workouts: As you adjust the resistance of the cross trainer, you can diversify your workout session seamlessly. With the lowest setting of the resistance resembling a brisk walk, the highest resistance value of the cross trainer is known to compare to running up a steep hill. Cross trainers are also increasingly used for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Some of the best models are also known to adjust the intensity in relation to your heart rate automatically.
- Low Impact Exercises: Using a cross trainer serves to be a form of low impact exercise when compared to other forms of exercise such as running on a treadmill. This serves to be a perfect form of exercise –especially when you have joint pain or are prone to issues with your joints. A cross trainer is also a great option when you wish to minimise the overall risks of developing joint pain in later life or take rest from a day of running. A cross trainer is known to be beneficial for your heart rate, just like running on a treadmill.
- Activation of the Glute Muscles: Most of the western form of gym-based exercises are not known to activate the glute muscles. When you tend to sit a lot, it allows the glute muscles to enter into the stage of “sleep.” As per a recent study, it has been observed that elliptical trainers are great for activating the glute muscles rather than running. At the same time, cross trainers are also known for strengthening external rotators in the hip region –ensuring balanced biomechanics.
Choosing the Right Cross Trainer
Before we jump straight in to our top 10 list, let’s take a moment to consider what you should look for when looking to buy a cross trainer.
- Resistance: Most modern day cross trainers make use of magnetic resistance which essentially is designed to make your workout tougher. Some cheaper models might come along with a mechanical control to determine the resistance but even the budget models tend to use magnetic resistance these days. Other models feature a specialised motor system allowing you to adjust the resistance levels through an on-board computer system.
- Length of the Stride: The longer the stride of the cross trainer, the more comfortable is going to be to use and the more range of motion can be achieved – essentially making your workout more effective. Most of the cheaper models out there are known to come with a shorter length stride. If you are looking for a more effective workout, you should go for the one featuring a stride length of at least 16″ and ideally somewhere in the region of 19″-22″.
- Smoothness While Stepping: A high-quality elliptical trainer will feature a smooth stride as you take your steps. The smoothness factor of the machine is affected by features like the flywheel’s weight and drive train.
- Stability & Maximum Weight of the User: Make sure that you opt for an elliptical trainer featuring a decent maximum user weight capacity. This is to ensure that the workout machine turns out suitable for every member of your house. At the same time, the machine should also feature effective stabilisers such that there are no chances of the machine toppling over while performing an intense workout. Generally speaking, the greater the maximum user weight, the higher the quality of the machine.
- Other Useful Features: While shopping for the best cross trainer for your home, you can come across a series of non-essential features that can enhance the overall usability of the machine. For instance, you can consider installing tablet holders on the machine to enjoy watching your favourite tv show or watching a motivational exercise video while exercising. You can even consider installing a drink holder to remain hydrated throughout the workout session. Many models will have these features out of the box.
If you plan to bring home an advanced cross trainer for yourself, it can serve to be a great way in achieving your fitness goals – both cardio and strength based. Right from getting the perfect body shape to being at the peak of your fitness levels, these high-quality elliptical trainers are the best choices for a home-based gym. While it might prove a challenging task to choose the right model of cross trainer when there are so many to choose from, this detailed guide has hopefully helped you out. Depending on your fitness goals, pick the right one based on your needs from our list!