One of the great advantages of cross trainers is the fact that, compared with other traditional forms of exercise such as running, they can be relatively low impact on your joints and muscles. But why are cross trainers low impact? Cross trainers are low impact because your feet never leave the pedals during a workout, which means the repetitive strain of having to land with your bodyweight is eradicated.
This means that you can still enjoy all the benefits of a good cardio workout without the same risk of exacerbating certain injuries or causing new ones.
Why Are Cross Trainers Low Impact?
High impact exercises such as treadmill running, jumping, or other sports can result in your knees, ankles, hips, and many other parts of the body having to endure repetitive ‘hits’ or stress as you come into contact with the floor.
With a cross trainer, your feet never leave the pedals during a workout, which means the repetitive strain of having to land with your bodyweight is eradicated.
Bodyweight plays a significant part in many exercise-related injuries, with ‘weight-bearing’ being a crucial factor in how much strain your limbs and muscles are placed under. The amount that you are weight-bearing during any specific exercise will depend on the type of workout you are doing and the position of your body, as well as your weight, of course!
Generally speaking, however, elliptical machines result in you bearing less body weight on your lower limbs than other common functional and sporting activities.
There are other ways that cross trainers can allow for a more low impact workout. The relatively smooth range of motion can be easier on knee joints and ankles than other stationary exercise machines such as exercise bikes or treadmills.
The similarly smooth motion of the arm handles may also prove less jarring than movements involved in weight-lifting or other muscle building exercises.
What Are The Benefits of a Cross Trainer Being Low Impact?
If you are suffering from overuse injuries in the lower body, you may find that taking some weight off during workouts and avoiding sudden impact stress offers relief.
The cross trainer can even allow you to continue building or maintain cardio fitness whilst recovering from injuries that benefit from having less weight placed on them.
Injury can sometimes feel like a huge spanner being thrown in the works for anyone looking to significantly boost their fitness over time.
With a bit of gentle experimentation, and equipped with advice from a medical professional, you could find that the cross trainer allows you to modify and continue your training regime whilst allowing your joints to repair and strengthen.
Is a Cross Trainer High Impact?
Cross trainers are not commonly thought of as being high impact. They are often popular amongst exercisers looking for a relatively low impact workout in comparison to running or team sports. However, this does not mean that they will be suitable for every injury or ailment.
If you are suffering from significant pain, have back or neck issues, or are simply unsure as to whether or not the cross trainer is going to exacerbate your situation, always consult a medical professional. At the same time, any new exercise routine on the elliptical should be worked into gradually.
You don’t want to help heal one injury but end up causing another one by being over zealous on the pedals!
Go slow and steady, assess whether it feels right for you, and increase your workouts gradually over time to minimise the risk of injury or exacerbating any pre-existing conditions. If it hurts, stop immediately and re-assess!
An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!