Are Cross Trainers Good for Your Arms?

People may have specific areas they want to target with their exercises when working out. In contrast, you cannot target one muscle group for an entire session because everyone must work out a section of their body instead of just a couple of limbs. However, there are many ways that people can encourage their desired muscle area to lose some fat. 

But Are Cross Trainers Good for Your Arms? The cross trainer is good for your arms because when you pull on the movable handles you engage the biceps, triceps and shoulders. So you can have a more upper body focussed cardio workout.

In this article, the elliptical trainer and arms will be discussed. You will know whether the cross trainer is perfect for you and your arm-defining needs. 

are cross trainers good for your arms

What Is the Purpose of the Elliptical Trainer?

The elliptical trainer is popular because it is a low-impact machine that is an excellent alternative to running. That is why the elliptical machine can mirror running and walking, but it cannot replicate them. Also, running is not the ideal method to tone arms, but it is a good source of cardio. 

To lose overall body fat, the person needs to be in a calorie deficit while completing cardio. However, this can be done with many different machines. 

What Are the Different Types Elliptical Trainers That Benefit Arms?

There are two types of elliptical trainers: one with moving arms and the one without. The primary machine will have foot pedals that glide back and forth.

These pedals can be adjusted wider or at an incline, so the trainer can make their workout more challenging. Usually, the person will need to keep their hands dripped to the handgrips available, which means their arms do not work out.

However, other elliptical trainers have become more popular, allowing people to tone their arms. These machines have moving arms that people can hold onto and move their arms and legs in a running motion.

This can help with toning your arms and burning fat. 

How Should You Use the Elliptical for Your Arms?

There are many ways people can use the cross trainer, but it is important that it is used correctly. When the trainer steps onto the elliptical, they will need to have proper form because this will improve their results and decrease the chances of injury or muscle imbalance. 

The person should position their feet flat on the pedals while holding the poles at chest height. They need to keep their abs tight and look forward with their shoulders lifted.

The arms and legs need to move back and forth in alternating motion. However, to get a better arm workout, they will need to push their arms out and pull them back in to complete a full range of motion. 

is elliptical good for arms

Does the Elliptical Trainer Tone Arms?

When the elliptical is used correctly, the arms can be toned. Flexion happens when the angle between two bones decreases. That means when the user flexes their elbows, they are working their biceps and the muscles on the inside of their upper arms.

Also, when extension happens, this is when the angle between two bones increases. 

What Does a Cross Trainer Do For Arms?

When the user straightens their arms during their workout, they are working their triceps and the muscles on the back of their upper arms. Additionally, these are not the only areas that can be worked out while using the cross trainer.

It is a good form of cardio, but it can also work out a person’s chest, shoulders, back muscles, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. 

Do Not Forget the Resistance

Adding resistance to any workout can improve results. Resistance can be increased on an elliptical, which will increase the work that the user’s arms and legs need to go through.

Overall, this will help with arm definition. The elliptical cannot be used to make arms bigger because it helps with muscle endurance. 

To make arm muscles larger, the person will need to complete weight workouts and muscle endurance workouts like the elliptical trainer. 

Does the Elliptical Cross Trainer Burn Arm Fat?

The cross trainer or elliptical does not spot reduce fat, so won’t specifically burn fat in the arms. If someone wants to lose fat, they need to be in a calorie deficit.

This means they need to burn more calories than they consume daily. However, the elliptical is a good machine for muscle endurance, and it will help tone arm muscles. 

What Are the Three Steps to Toning Arms on the Elliptical Trainer?

The best way to shave any kind of arm fat is by completing cardio. That is why the elliptical trainer is a great machine to use.

Also, people need to build resistance training when they want to build muscle in their arms, which was previously stated in this post. However, these are the three steps you should follow if you want to use the elliptical trainer to burn fat around your arms and promote muscle growth. 

Step One: Warm Up

Before starting any workout, every person should warm up their body. This will help limber up the bones and joints, which will mean there is less chance of injury. You should warm up for five to 10 minutes by jogging in place or walking.

Also, remember to perform your stretches because this will help increase your range of motion. 

Sunny Health & Fitness Unisex's Air Walk Trainer w/LCD Monitor SF-E902 Elliptical Machine, Grey, 38L x 48W x 156H cm

Step Two: Cardio Is the Way

Every week, you should complete 150 minutes of cardio training. This can be done on the elliptical machine throughout your workout because it is a good form of cardio that anyone can complete in the middle of their workout.

While on the elliptical, you should set the resistance to low or zero to begin with when you have just started using the machine. 

You want to make sure that your form is correct, so you do not injure yourself. While on the machine, hold onto the movable handles and push forward with your arm strength.

This will help you focus on your arm muscles, encouraging muscle building while using the cross trainer. 

Step Three: Resistance Training

People should only resistance train two days a week. This is because people should have an in-between day where they are completing other exercises, so their muscles have a chance to heal and become stronger. 

On the resistance days, you should use the elliptical for 20 to 30 minutes. This is when you want to increase the resistance until it is challenging to move your arms with the force that has been previously mentioned.

However, do not make the resistance impossible because then, this will not tone your arms. 

You will want to keep your feet stationary on the machine. Drive your arms forward and move your legs with the power of your arms.

This will challenge your arms in a completely different way compared to anything else in the gym. When you do this, you are not just adding resistance from the machine, but you are focusing solely on your arms. 

When you add these three steps to your workout routine, then you will feel the difference that it makes. Your arms will be sore, but you are going to be very happy with the result if you keep it up. 

For an extra bonus add in some resistance training afterwards, you can buy affordable dumbbells here:

wolfyok Fitness Dumbbells Set, Adjustable Weight to 44Lbs, Home Fitness Equipment for Men and Women Gym Work Out Exercise Training with Connecting Rod Used as Barbells (Pair)

Maximize Your Arm Training 

Even though it has been confirmed that using the elliptical on a regular basis can tone up your arms, there are many different ways you can maximize this workout with the elliptical. Here are a couple of tips that will help you with toning your arms on the elliptical. 


Obviously, having good posture when doing anything physical is a must, but did you know that if you have the right posture when doing this, then you will see the benefits? When you use the elliptical, you will want to keep your back straight and your shoulders down while you work out.

Also, just like with anything related to working out, engage your core because this will keep you stable as your complete your workout. 

When you have the right posture, you will be able to properly feel your arms being engaged while you drive the handle. Otherwise, you may not feel the engagement and you may end up hurting yourself in the long run. 

Hand Grips

Another way to maximize your arm workout on the cross trainer is to move your hand on the hand grips. When you move them either up or down and drive your arms forward, you will be working different muscle groups in your arms.

This is one of the best ways to target your entire arms when using the elliptical machine because you will be able to feel it. 

Increase Your Pace and Resistance

When you increase your pace and resistance, then you are more likely to burn more calories, which helps with overall fat loss, but you will need to use more force within your arms. This will help your tone your arms even further when using the cross-trainer. 

Does the Elliptical Help Lose Arm Fat

An elliptical is an excellent machine that helps lose arm fat. Its suitable for beginners and experienced people who enjoy working out. It can help with toning the arms, chest, and legs if used correctly.

That is why many people use it at the beginning or the end of their workout. Also, it is an excellent form of cardio with low impact, which is perfect for beginners or people who have an injury. 

However, many people might find this machine to feel monotonous at times, but that is pretty common in most cardio machines. To combat this, the person should ensure to change their routine, so they do not become bored.

Lastly, for a balanced workout, a person should complete both strength training and cardio for the best results that will last a lifetime. 

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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!