The Ultimate Guide of Treadmill or Cross Trainer Which Is Better?


Have you ever wondered treadmill or cross trainer which is better? These two machines are at the top of the rankings when it comes to exercise equipment. They are both popular around the world in both home gyms and fitness studios and help to achieve plenty of the same goals.

In this guide of the treadmill or cross trainer which is better we will compare, contrast, and decide which of the two machines ultimately takes the gold for the best exercise necessity!

treadmill or cross trainer which is better

Treadmill or Cross Trainer Which Is Better?

What Is a Treadmill?

The treadmill is a piece of equipment that allows the user to run, jog, or walk. This is done by using a continuously moving belt on top of the machine. You can control the belt by using the treadmill’s display settings. The speed and incline can both be adjusted throughout the treadmill.

What Is a Cross Trainer?

This piece of gym kit, sometimes called an elliptical, are stationary machines that allow the user to mimic movements of walking, running, and climbing stairs. In addition, most offer upper arm movement with handlebars. The incline and resistance can be adjusted to change the limits of the workout.

Treadmill or Cross Trainer Which Is Better for Weight Loss

One very common goal of many people asking the question of treadmill or cross trainer which is better will be wondering in terms of their ability help facilitate weight loss.

When used properly, both the treadmill and the cross trainer can help you lose weight. But does one make it easier?

When looking at the treadmill, it’s important to consider what you’re using it for. Ultra runners or sprinters may use this machine for something completely different than the casual fitness enthusiast. So, the calories that you can burn will depend on your level of intensity, speed, and incline.

The weight that you can lose and the calories burned will depend on other things that are more unique to your body. People at higher weights may find an easier time burning calories when compared to a person starting at a lower weight. Men and women will differ in calories lost, too.

For ease of comparison, we’ll be looking at somebody who weighs 57kg. Studies have averaged that somebody at this weight will burn the following amounts of calories depending on speed when exercising for 30 minutes:

  • 120 calories will be burned when walking on a treadmill at a speed of 3.5mph
  • 300 calories will be burned when running at a speed of 6mph
  • 375 calories will be burned when running at a speed of 7.5mph

As you can see, you will burn far more calories when running for 30 minutes than walking, and you can do both on the treadmill. Many users will burn somewhere between these two numbers.

The incline also plays a factor. It has been found that you can burn 3-5 more calories per minute when you begin to increase your incline level.

Now, let’s take a look at calories burned on the cross trainer. We will be using somebody who weighs 57kg in this example as well. So, keep in mind that you may burn more calories depending on your weight.

In 30 minutes, the following number of calories can be burned depending on the level of intensity:

  • 130 calories can be burned when using a cross trainer at a slow, light effort pace
  • 145 calories can be burned when using a cross trainer at a moderate, mid-resistance pace
  • 175 calories can be burned at a vigorous pace

Based on the number of calories, it’s clear that the cross trainer is more beneficial if you are not after intense efforts. Walking at a slower pace on a treadmill is less effective than a light effort on a cross trainer.

If you plan on running, you’ll likely favour the treadmill as it will allow you to burn more calories.

What Is A Cross Trainer Better For?

Not everything is about calories. The cross trainer has specific strengths that make it an ideal pick for plenty of users, whether weight loss is a goal or not.

One of the most important times you’ll want to pick the cross trainer is when you have poor joints or are in recovery for an injury. The cross trainer is considered a low impact exercise due to the suspension of your body while working out. This means you’ll put yourself at a lower risk of injury and protect your joints with ease.

The cross trainer will provide you with a more efficient upper-body workout, assuming you are using a machine with handles for arm movement.

Cross trainers are also beneficial for strength building. However, since it is low impact, you’ll be earning less muscle development when compared to using a treadmill.

What Is A Treadmill Better For?

Treadmills have their advantages, too. One of the most notable is that they can be used to assist you when training for races, whether you are running competitively or recreationally.

For example, someone who aspires to complete a marathon will be able to practice their running skills and build up their mileage when using a treadmill. The cross trainer can assist in their fitness journey, but it will be less of a direct impact to their final end goal.

The treadmill will also help build muscle strength far quicker than the elliptical. Some of the muscles impacted the most include:

  • The quadriceps
  • The hamstrings
  • The calves
  • The hip flexors
  • The glutes

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The Ultimate Choice: Treadmill or Cross Trainer?

When it comes to our final answer of treadmill or cross trainer which is better, there is a lot to consider. Ultimately, the treadmill appears to have more diversity and flexibility in what kinds of workouts you can do. However, we also recognize that not everybody enjoys running and finds the level of intensity too much.

We think that the treadmill is the clear pick if you are trying to:

  • Train for a race (like a marathon)
  • Want to lose weight
  • Want to build leg muscles
  • Enjoy high-intensity workouts

The cross trainer would win our comparision under the following circumstances:

  • You don’t like running
  • You have joint concerns
  • You are recovering from an injury
  • You prefer longer, lower intensity workouts compared to shorter, high intensity workouts

So, there you have it! Our guide to the question of treadmill or cross trainer which is better will give you the best answer when your own personal goals and circumstances are taken into consideration. While the treadmill may edge out the cross trainer only slightly, we can see pros in both machines!