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Difference between Elliptical and Crosstrainers

The terms elliptical and cross-trainers and even elliptical cross-trainers are tossed around frequently as if they are all referring to the same exercise machine, but these terms do have subtle differences and knowing them will surely help you when shopping for one. Although it should be noted that some people do use these terms interchangeably so it always helps to ask questions for clarification.


What is an elliptical?

An elliptical is a cardio machine that is designed to be low impact and is used to simulate running, walking or stair climbing. They also usually have resistance settings to increase or decrease the intensity of your workout although this is not always the case. Ellipticals are also low impact because it keeps the foot in contact with the pedal, decreasing impact to the joints. The elliptical is the umbrella term for crosstrainers and elliptical crosstrainers. It is similar to the mushroom and fungi relationship which states that all mushroom are fungi but not all fungi are mushrooms. All crosstrainers are ellipticals but not all elliptcals are crosstrainers.

What is a crosstrainer?

Crosstrainers are a type of elliptical with one defining feature, movable arm handles. Elliptical crosstrainers are great for getting a full body workout because not only does it provide cardio and lower body movement, moveable arms also adds an upper body element to your workout. Another advantage of the elliptical crosstrainer over an elliptical without movable arms is the difficulty of the workout. While it is easy to slack off on an elliptical without movable arms by resting and putting weight on the arms, it is impossible to do so on a crosstrainer. This makes the workout more effective and more intense. If you’re just beginning though and want to have a lower intensity workout, an elliptical without movable arms could be your best bet.

We hope this has cleared up some confusion with the terms elliptical and crosstrainer. Now you can use your knowledge to shop for some ellipticals on our site!

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