What Muscles Does the Cross Trainer Work? Your Great Fitness Questions Answered


Working out for the sole purpose of raising your heart rate and getting your recommended amount of weekly exercise is a great way to promote your physical fitness. However, those working towards specific goals, like weight loss or muscle gain, might be interested to know more than just how hard an exercise is to do. For example, have you ever asked yourself what muscles does the cross trainer work?

A cross trainer is a fantastic piece of gym kit. Fortunately, they are also widely accessible, whether they are found in a fitness studio or your own personal home gym! They are designed to help you burn calories and build strength, among other benefits. So, we’re here to answer the above question for you!

what muscles does the cross trainer work

What Muscles Does the Cross Trainer Work?

What Is a Cross Trainer?

Before we answer the question of what muscles does the cross trainer work, we’ll take a closer look at what cross trainers actually are.

These machines, often mixed up with the similar elliptical, are stationary pieces of gym equipment. You place your feet on elevated platforms that are suspended from the machine. There are also handlebars for which to keep your hands on. You’ll then move your feet and arms simultaneously.

This set up will have your body making movements similar to running. In addition, you can increase the resistance to make it harder to move forward, maximising your energy output. The incline can also be changed.

The reason that many people love the cross trainer is because it provides a full-body workout. The combination of moving your arms and legs, while also engaging your core, will push your body to new levels!

What Muscles Does the Cross Trainer Work?

Are you ready to answer the question of what muscles does the cross trainer work? As mentioned, the cross trainer will work out your whole body. This means that there are quite a few muscles that get targeted.

The following muscles are worked while using a cross trainer:

  • The abdominals
  • The chest muscles
  • The biceps
  • The triceps
  • The lower shin
  • The calves
  • The hamstrings
  • The quads
  • The glutes

The above muscles are all targeted during most cross trainer workouts. For an added muscle group to target, increase the incline to strengthen the backside of your lower body.

Some people hope to use the cross trainer to support their journey towards becoming a runner. While the cross trainer will help build muscles associated with running, and bring other health benefits that translate well to the sport, there is still significantly less stress placed on the legs compared to running. This means that the direct gains won’t directly carry over, making you a pro runner.

Can You Lose Weight on a Cross Trainer?

Strengthening your muscles is one of the most common goals of most fitness enthusiasts. However, there is one goal that is even more common: losing weight.

As such, many people are also curious to hear whether the cross trainer will help you on this journey. The answer is a pretty clear “yes”!

Cross trainers encourage you to do cardiovascular exercise, which is one of the most beneficial ways to lose weight.

The number of calories burned will depend on your intensity and the weight that you are at the beginning of each workout. Though, most people will be able to burn somewhere between 150-300 calories per 30-minute workout on the cross-trainer.

For example, a 79kg individual spending 30 minutes on the cross trainer at a medium intensity would burn about 205 calories within that time.

Increased burning of 3500 calories will equate to one pound lost. If you were to change nothing about your diet (while assuming a caloric intake that maintains your weight and does not cause you to gain or lose) while exercising with the above stats, you would need to complete the workout 17 times.

This seems like a lot of work to lose one pound. However, with increased intensity or added workouts, as well as cutting a few hundred calories from your daily diet, you would be on the fast track to weight loss!

Completing the workout five times per week while also cutting out 350 calories per day would allow you to lose one pound per week! So, it is certainly an achievable goal with the help of a cross trainer!

what muscles does the cross trainer work
Image courtesy of Unsplash.

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What Other Cross Trainer Benefits Are There?

There are various other benefits of using the cross trainer, beyond building muscle and losing weight.

One of the most alluring benefits is how safe and low risk of an exercise this is. The cross trainer is designed in such a way that your joints are protected throughout your workout. This makes it a great option for people recovering from injuries, or those who already have joint concerns.

Thanks to the low intensity of this workout, it can also facilitate the recovery process. It can be tough for fitness enthusiasts to stop working out after being injured, but cross trainer use provides a healthy alternative to many other workouts.

Other benefits of the cross trainer include:

  • They are easy to purchase and utilise from the comfort of your own home
  • The machine itself is budget-friendly, which will be a benefit on your wallet
  • They help to boost your stamina and overall cardiovascular capacity
  • They help to burn overall body fat
  • They can help improve your balance
  • They are an easy machine to learn how to use and are widely accessible

As you can see, the answer to the question of what muscles does the cross trainer work is quite the extensive answer. These machines are great at building muscles throughout the entire body, while also working towards burning fat and calories, and providing a safe and low-impact workout for fitness enthusiasts of all ages!