The Cybex Arc Trainer may look a lot like your ordinary elliptical, but that’s where the similarity pretty much ends. When it comes to its effectiveness as a cardio machine that gives the best workouts, the Arc Trainer is simply the better choice. It uses a different motion that makes it easier for the body to exercise but still gives a challenging workout for achieving your fitness goals.
In order to understand this better, it’s best to do a comparison of the Arc Trainer and the ordinary elliptical. Now there’s nothing wrong with using ellipticals – it’s a good cardio machine and has qualities that makes it better than other cardio equipment, like treadmills and stationary bikes. But the Arc Trainer may offer something more, which is why it’s worth getting to know this machine better.
What is an Arc Trainer?
Not everyone is familiar with the Arc Trainer. Compared to ellipticals, this machine is still relatively new. Its main difference from the elliptical is the motion it uses – its foot pedals travel along an arc. These machines from Cybex have been around since 2003, but it has not gotten much attention until years later.
The Arc Trainer comes in two styles – lower body and total body.
The lower body machine is the original one, which works your legs while your hands are simply resting on the rails. Some find it more comfortable to swing their arms at their sides while their legs are working out.
The total body machine, on the other hand, provides a full body workout.
The machine gives a weight-bearing exercise that is non-impact at the same time. You can adjust the resistance, incline, and stride rate.
Why is it Better Than an Elliptical?
When you watch closely how the Arc Trainer works, you will notice that its footplate pushes down and back. It’s the same motion you make when you walk, hike, and pedal a bicycle.
The footplate on the opposite side subsequently travels in an arc, which prepares your other foot to put the power down in a movement that is more natural.
Now if you compare this to the motion of an elliptical, in which you have to contort your body into pedaling an ellipse. You may think that the difference is just slight, but when it comes to exercise, the slight difference can turn into bigger problems in the future, considering the number of rotations that your legs go through in just one 30-minute workout.
So the main point is this: the Arc Trainer reproduces your natural gait better than an elliptical. Nick Clayton, personal training program manager at the National Strength and Conditioning Association, likes the range of motion when using the Arc Trainer.
“It’s like running uphill or marching through snow without the impact. I also like the fact that it emphasizes hip extension,” he says.
How About the Workout Plan?
The Arc Trainer has a wide variety of pre-programmed workouts or you can use the advanced interface to program your own routine. You can adjust the incline and resistance and come up with a stride rate that is comfortable for you and suits your fitness level.
4 Reasons to Use the Arc Trainer
Here’s a more detailed breakdown on why you should try the Arc Trainer.
1. It Gives a Better Overall Workout
The two machines similar to the Arc Trainer – treadmills and ellipticals – have their own set of drawbacks that you won’t find or experience with the Arc Trainer. A lot of people do not enjoy using treadmills because it’s not the same as running and it can be really hard on the joints.
As for the elliptical, athletes and other people who work on advanced levels gripe that the machine is not enough to get their heart rate up for a serious workout. Compare this to the Arc Trainer, which functions like a stair stepper. You can get serious work done on your hamstrings, quads, and glutes.
Nigel Anderson of Gym Source likes that it’s a full-body exercise. “The more muscles you’re working, the more fat you burn. That math will never change in a million years,” he says.
2. It’s More Functional
The motion of the Arc Trainer is similar to hiking when you drive your knee to the handlebar coming from the bottom of the pedal stroke.
3. It Burns More Calories
Using the same intensity and perceived exertion, those who use the Arc Trainer can burn 16% more calories compared to the elliptical. This is especially important if you’re working out during winter, when it’s harder to burn calories.
Small differences matter. On average, a male who weighs 150 pounds doing a 30-minute workout can burn 300-475 calories. Of course, this will also depend on factors such as resistance, incline, and stride rate.
Dr. John Porcari, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at University of Wisconsin La Crosse, is a co-author on a study showing the Arc Trainer does burn slightly more calories than an elliptical, “at the same amount of perceived exertion.”
Porcari recommends that people should continue using whatever machine feels best, which includes the Arc Trainer, because ultimately “the best machine is one you’re going to use.”
4. It’s Easier on the Joints
The Arc Trainer is designed to be easier on your knees and hips, thanks to its balanced loading design. Its body positioning makes working out better for your back as well.
According to a study from the NCBI, “individuals with, or at risk for, lower-extremity joint pathology may benefit from exercise with modalities other than the elliptical trainer.”
Take the next step to a better physique!
The Arc Trainer can help you reach your fitness goals without putting unnecessary pressure on your body. Primo Fitness can help you find the machine that you need, brand-new or secondhand. We have more than 20 years of worldwide success for our new and used gym equipment for sale.
To speak to our experienced technicians about our certified, pre-owned, and custom-built refurbished equipment, call Primo Fitness now or visit our store nearest you.