Getting your posture right
Your posture is vital to making your cross-trainer sessions as good as they can be. Before you start training you need to think about the following:
Look straight ahead and relax your shoulders. This will stop your neck from feeling sore.
Keep your back straight and engage your ab muscles.
Keep your hips aligned with your legs to avoid twisting and to improve muscle gain.
Keep your feet flat on the pedals, as far forward they'll go.
Place your hands on the handles.
If you pedal without using the handles because you don't want to overwork your arms, then straighten your back and your chest as much as possible to help you maintain your balance throughout the session.
What are the benefits of working out on a cross trainer?
When you use a cross trainer you can tone up all or part of your body (upper or lower body, depending on your needs). Rather than increase muscle mass, the cross trainer focuses more on toning, weight loss (by burning calories) and coordinating arm and leg movement. It can be used by people of all ages and does not involve any impact on the joints.
Training sessions to meet every objective
As with any workout, a good warm-up is vital before your cross trainer session. You need to spend at least 45 minutes to one hour on the cross trainer for the session to be effective.
Set the incline and speed to suit your objective and ability level. You should never feel out of breath or force it and you should set the resistance to match your physical abilities.
Burning calories: Interval training is the best way to lose weight and increase your stamina. It involves alternating between periods of high heart-rate intensity and periods of rest and recovery.
Toning all or part of your body: Want to tone up your whole body? The more you push with your arms, the more you will work out your upper and lower body.
Want to work out your lower body? take your hands off the handles, keep your posture upright and focus on working your legs while increasing the incline of the pedals (depending on your level of ability). This will allow you to work on your legs only. If you want to tone your legs, you can set the pedals at an angle and increase the resistance manually and gradually.
Pedal forwards or backwards? Pedaling forwards tones your glutes, the front of your thighs and your calves, while back pedaling works your glutes and abs more.
What type of training?
The cross trainer offers programs that can be adapted to every type of user and objective (weight loss, performance, stamina, etc). Generally speaking, training sessions run from 45 minutes to one hour. Here is a typical session:
Start off with a 10-minute warm-up with the resistance set at level 2 or 3 (manual setting).
Then burn off the calories for 20 to 30 minutes by gradually increasing the resistance level to 6 or 7.
You then move into the recovery phase, eventually taking the resistance level back down to 2 or 3 to allow your heart to slow down and recover.
How fast should I go?
You should plan to do a minimum of three cardio or stamina sessions a week, each lasting 30 to 40 minutes and also containing 15 minutes of warm-up and recovery. Try to spread your sessions out (every next day) to stop things getting monotonous and to give yourself a day to recover.
How to get the better of routine and monotony?
To be effective, a cross trainer session should last at least 45 minutes. You have to be organized to schedule your sessions and you also need to be patient, as it takes around two months to start seeing the results.
To keep your motivation levels up you need to alternate your cross trainer sessions with group muscle strengthening and cardio sessions in the gym.
If your focus is toning and weight loss, this will allow you to retain your muscle mass.
Once you've set your objectives and programmed your sessions, get some music or podcasts together. It will make time go quicker when you're working out.