The ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer is a pretty fantastic piece of kit – we knew this before we tested it, but given that we like to give everything a thorough testing before writing a review, we thought it best to get our hands on one. You can read our thoughts right here in our ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer review.
ProForm are one of the best home fitness equipment manufacturers going, nailing it with well-built, fantastically designed machines time after time, most of which are incredibly easy to use and easy to live with. They are also known for bringing this excellence to bear without putting too great a dent in your bank account (thank clever manufacturing wizardry, market competition and economies of scale for this).
They are also particularly well-known for their range of cross trainers, which caters to all-comers with its breadth of available models and types. This is where we come across their HIIT trainer, a form of cross trainer designed to work you to the bone in a relatively short amount time (which all HIIT routines should manage to do) – not an easy task – so let’s see if this effort from ProForm really does live up to the brief.
ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer – The Build
The ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer is surprisingly compact, thanks in part to its stair-like structure, which by its nature takes up less floor space than a conventional cross trainer might. In fact, the footprint is only 140 cm x 80 cm (or 55.1 in by 31.5 in). This is relatively titchy!
This is compounded by the fact that the machine’s action at its fullest range of motion is entirely self-contained – nothing will go outside of its own footprint, unlike with other cross trainers that tend to swing back and forward out of their frame a bit. You really can put it away in a forgotten corner and use it as its meant to be used without dedicating a whole room to it.
All this being said, it doesn’t feel small. It’s tall, at five foot five, or 1.68 m. It’s designed similarly to a stair climber, so no surprises here, really. But, as most people have vertical room to spare in their homes, with more limited square-footage on the ground, this makes it absolutely perfect for home use. It is incredibly easy to live with and won’t dominate any room that you decide to locate it.
You may get a little acrophobic at the top, though – it will feel like a long way down!
It’s a little awkward to assemble, as is quite common of more advanced ellipticals. It will definitely take two people to do, preferably with at least a modicum of mechanical knowledge and ability between you. However, the manual is pretty clear, well written and simple to follow, so although it’s arduous it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for most people and ProForm have a great customer service line to get some assistance if you really do become totally stuck (which is unlikely).
Using the Cardio HIIT Trainer
The Cardio HIIT Trainer feels substantial and weighty. Such a tall machine, made from good-quality metalwork, should feel like this. Though you may worry about feeling wobbly at the top, in reality this shouldn’t be the case. It has oversized pedals to give you a feeling of stability, no matter your shoe size (I’m a 10.5, and even my flippers had room to breathe). It manages to be substantial and bulky at the same time as being unobtrusive – a rare and very impressive feat.
You get a well-sized monitor that is easy to use and read. It makes use of a 7” backlit two-colour LCD display that gives you all the data you might need for your workout – resistance level, speed, time, distance travelled (including, as you would expect from a climber or stepper, vertical distance travelled), and pulse.
The screen is adjustable for contrast and can be switched between imperial and metric data readouts. You get a tablet holder positioned at the top of the console, which will allow you to keep your tablet comfortably in your eye-line throughout your workout. Finally, there is a water bottle holder at the front and centre, with quick and easy access. This is vital. The amount of sweat you will shed using the Cardio HIIT will mean needing gallons of water at a time!
The Cardio HIIT also has a very impressive range of workout programs, with a full 32 modes broken down by category. You can select the category that best suits your goals – calorie, intensity, speed, incline and so on. It is simple, despite being so generous, and everything is pretty intuitive. You won’t spend a long time programming the Cardio HIIT, allowing you to hop on and off pretty easily.
However, cross trainers can be as simple to use and elegantly designed as you like – ultimately, the only real thing that matters is the tread action. How does it feel, how smooth is it, how long or deep is it, how loud is it…? All of these questions need close scrutiny if you’re to pick the right model for you. If a machine falls down here, bin it – it’s no good, no matter what else it promises.
Luckily, the Cardio HIIT passes muster across the board. This is no small thing. It’s quite hard to pull off with a hybrid stepper/climber cross trainer. You get a decent stride, neither too long nor too short, that glides quietly whilst remaining under your control throughout. Everything is perfectly aligned for proper weight distribution and, as such, your joints and muscles will work quite harmoniously.
This should be a given with any piece of cardio equipment. It isn’t. It really isn’t.
On top of this, the Cardio HIIT offers a very challenging workout. All steppers and climbers should, and many do, so this is no surprise. However, if you’re looking to build up leg strength and conditioning, and/or to burn through lots of energy, and/or to sweat buckets, and/or to leave your lungs in rags, with your heart rate near 100% max, this will deliver.
It will also deliver if you’re looking for a bit of a steady state workout, despite its name. The Cardio HIIT is so adaptable and customisable that you can always bring the intensity down so that you can enjoy a longer session, without burning out.
The Cardio HIIT is a pleasure to use. It will deliver the results you need and leave you with a smile on your face.
The Bells and Whistles
The basics are taken care of. They are good – no, they are great. You should seriously consider investing in a Cardio HIIT based on these alone. The bells and whistles don’t matter too much in comparison… but they are nice. And the Cardio HIIT has some good ones, as you might expect.
Alongside the 32 inbuilt workouts, the console is also iFit compatible, with a full year’s iFit Coach membership included with purchase. This increases the already substantial range of training options on this machine by a great deal – you won’t ever get bored with the Cardio HIIT. It also makes this machine incredible value for money when you consider you are getting access to the live coaching as well as the machine itself.
With this, you will also get Google Maps workouts, allowing you to map your own routes around the world. You can also enjoy high-definition workouts led by professional trainers and coaches, take part in online races against other iFit users, and receive personalised information and advice on things like diet and nutrition, training routines and even sleep schedules.
It really is like having a personal trainer on your tablet.
Alongside the iFit capability, you get MP3 playback capability via a 3mm input jack, 2 speed cooling fan and integrated Bluetooth heart rate receiver. All of this comes with a 2-year warranty on parts and labour, so that you can rest assured feeling safe in your investment.
The Cardio HIIT stands head and shoulders (quite literally, given its impressive height) above its competition, in a market known for excellence in design and manufacture. It is a hard market to lead, but the Cardio HIIT Trainer does a great job of it.
It is compact and sturdy, allowing you to feel safe as you climb, allowing you to make the most out of available floorspace. It is also a real challenge – your legs will burn and your shirt will be soaked by the time you’ve finished with it.
It’s great. If you’re in the market for a decent cross trainer and you value a hard workout, go and buy one. You will not regret it.