The Xterra Free Style 5.8e is a serious bit of kit. Offering an electronically controlled choice of 20 incline and 20 resistance levels to guarantee challenging workout sessions which will rise to meet you as your endurance improves. The blue backlit 7.5” display is a user friendly and slick way to stat-track and provides a 13 programme selection. The heavy flywheel keeps resistance constant while the robust construction safeguards even the most powerfully built user.
Heart rate can be measured via either pulse grip sensors or a supplied chest strap combined with the machine’s wireless receiver. The expansive 20” stride length will comfortably accommodate users of any height as will the generously sized, padded pedals. Exemplary attention to detail in both look and user experience elevate this cross trainer to a professional standard. Making this an excellent investment for anyone with long term fitness goals and a commitment to their regime.
Length: 82” (209cm)
Height: 67” (171cm)
Width: 22” (55cm)
If you are new to cross trainers, or not confident of putting a machine to regular use, the Xterra Free Style 5.8e is unlikely to be the machine for you. If, however, you are ready to make a long term investment in your workouts you could do a lot worse than make the choice to buy this impressive machine. The aesthetic is discreet and contemporary, with its black bodywork and blue LCD screen. It doesn't scream fitness freak but it does promise to evolve and keep stride with you.
With the variety of resistance and incline levels on offer and the choice of programmes, users with the tendency to bore of routine will have no excuse to lose focus. The great advantage of cross trainers, over other home exercise equipment options, is the ease of use. Jump aboard and go! But at home there is also the notion of intrusiveness to consider. Fortunately the flywheel on this model is as smooth as silk so you can make the most of the inbuilt speakers and crank your tunes!
Features: 20” stride length - Multiple incline/resistance options - Audio jack
Price: Mid range
At the higher end of the cross trainer market, pre-installed workout programmes and wider ranges of resistance levels deliver training diversity and ensure you obtain maximum results from every workout. In addition to lower muscle groups, cross trainers engage your upper body for overall weight loss achievement and whole body toning. With similar calorie burning results to full running, the low impact design of the movements imposes little strain on your joints as feet are never lifted off the ground.
The JTX Tri-Fit, with its variable stride length system and electro-magnetic resistance and incline control delivers those results with panache. The incline training allowing you to engage core and glutes for a complete and dynamic body workout. That adjustable stride length (16-20”) allows for multiple users. So too does the ability to store up to five individual user’s stats. The large colour display offers both bang for your buck and utility - in addition to the 19 workout programmes you may design and store your own personal routine. It is compatible with Apple and Android devices.
This is an exemplary cross trainer with all the advantages of buying a high end machine - the high technical specifications, the robust build and the breadth of body types accommodated. But it also manages to avoid one of the few pitfalls of buying exercise equipment at this level...it is actually compact. 30% smaller than the competition, in fact! JTX Fitness have patented their space saving design. And for good reason. Rather than the widely, attention grabbing, bulk you would expect upon reading the state of the art features, the JTX Tri-Fit Extendable is a modestly sized, matt black and brushed aluminium, marvel.
Features: 5 adjustable stride options - Free app - Design your own workout
Price: High end
If you are an intermediate user mid range cross trainers will always make an excellent choice. Demanding a less dramatic investment than top of the range models, they nevertheless give a varied and enjoyable selection of fitness options to those seeking to expand and refresh their exercise regime. The JTX Strider-X7 is a fine example of the leap in features you will enjoy by taking a step up from more basic models. Its on board computer can adjust and tailor programmes to suit you by monitoring and tracking your heart rate. This is a great way to ensure you’re building stamina and burning fat without needing to scrutinise every individual stat for personal growth!
The ergonomic footplates on this model ensure correct alignment, while smooth and easy movements deliver a joint-safe and virtually silent exercise experience. Quick start buttons and a large colour console (with the ability to store up to 4 workouts of your own design) make this a very user friendly option. However, the budgetary constraints do show in the lighter weight flywheel and limited stride length. At 12.5kg and 16” respectively. In appearance the Strider-X7 is also a little more lairy or loud than its higher priced contemporaries.
As previously stated, this is a perfect example of a mid range cross trainer and a more than adequate equipment choice for the average home user looking for an increase in fitness yet not necessarily ‘hard core’ about getting their endurance up into the stratosphere. Its limitations aren’t insurmountable but they are worth taking note of. For starters. The 16” stride length means that this machine may not be well suited to anyone over 6 feet tall. Or in search of a machine to evolve alongside them. The lighter flywheel also precludes users looking for really heavy resistance. If this is a family purchase do carefully consider everyone’s needs before choosing it.
The same measurements that would make this a poor choice for a tall, powerful, user become attributes to those with a different body type though. If you are of slighter build or advancing years this is a great buy for your household. The low impact nature of cross training really comes to the fore on a machine like this which has the option to start you off gently and up the ante as you grow in strength and endurance. That large touch screen is also of benefit to more mature or less experienced users as the display is clear and the variety of programmes well explained.
Features: Colour touch screen - Easy storage - Competitive pricing - Stat tracking
Price: Mid range
This machine sits at the lower end of the mid range and it does show. We lost the flywheel in favour of a belt driven system and many of the teccy options rely upon you attaching a device of your own to enhance the exercise experience. The Sportstech CX610 does compensate you for these compromises though, with around £100 shaved off the price tag of its competitors and a fun and vibrant design which won’t take over your home.
This is undeniably HOME exercise equipment. There is somewhere to put your water bottle and tablet on the frame and a transport wheel to help you whisk it away into a cupboard. And that’s about it. As far as appearance goes, anyway. Fortunately Sportstech saved the bigger guns for usability and here things rapidly improve. With 32 resistance levels, an app compatible (if basic) Bluetooth console and Google Maps/Street View compatibility to lend an original dimension to your training. A pulse belt can be attached but is not included.
Home exercise equipment offers the convenience of indoor training without the expense of joining a gym. Some people want to bring the gym experience into their homes but for others there is joy in being able to stash equipment out of sight and out of mind. This elliptical can be wheeled aside and stored but is unobtrusive enough to be left out on display. The integration of Google Maps and Street View brings the outside in - a fun way to add a new level of motivation for those who like tangible proof of their progress - staving off the tiresomeness of repetition.
The CX610 is unquestionably a more traditional (or old fashioned, depending on your perspective) cross trainer so it won’t be to everyone’s taste. If the simplicity and functionality appeals to you then you will find it a reliable, easy to assemble, machine. The synchronised upright handles and foot plates allow good distribution of effort between upper and lower muscle groups and those 32 computer controlled resistance levels still allow plenty of scope for calorie burning, body toning and improved fitness all around. Its reasonable pricing is another selling point.
Features: Free water bottle - App compatibility - 32 resistance stages - 5 year warranty
Price: Mid range
Buying home exercise equipment need not demand a huge financial outlay. The V-Fit MCCT1 reminds us that there is something impressive on the market to suit budgets big and small. With ingenuity and pragmatic priorities, V-Fit have delivered a dual purpose cross trainer that boosts cardiovascular fitness and improves body conditioning without bumping up the cost to consumers.
The clever combination of cycling and elliptical motion offer both seated and standing work out options. Ideal for those particularly targeting lower body while wishing to keep the choice of full or upper body conditioning available. Balance and coordination are challenged by the reverse motion option while hand pulse readings and speed and time function keep your progress on track.
With the smallest stride length of our five options at only 12”, this is perhaps not the ideal cross trainer for serious athletes or committed gym attendees. What it offers instead is an alternative for users just setting out on their keep fit journey or keen to augment other sporting activities with some general conditioning. As discussed, Cross Training is gentle on joints but the MCCT1’s cycle function take that a stage further by allowing for seated exercise at a variety of resistance points.
The on screen functions are minimal and the stats estimates so this is a poor choice for pedaling pedants but a pocket friendly option for anyone keen to get healthier without drowning in detail. The compact design is space friendly and the tubular steel appearance inoffensive and sleek. Though less robust than pricier models it remains sturdy enough for users to feel at ease onboard. The belt driven mechanism may require more ongoing attention than flywheel options in the longer term.
Features: Dual function - Cast iron flywheel - Adjustable saddle - Beginner friendly
Represented here are a splendid cross section of the best cross training options on the market. There is something in the mix to please every budget and cross training demand. But our best all rounder is the Xterra Free Style 5.8e Elliptical cross trainer. Sitting comfortably at a fair mid range price point it still manages to impress by virtue of a dynamically modern aesthetic, the 20 resistance and incline options and that elusive (for lower price points) 20” stride length.
The incorporation of a cross trainer (also referred to as an elliptical trainer/elliptical machine) into your home exercise regimen can offer a huge boost to the potential levels of fitness you may achieve without setting foot in the gym. Cross trainers - particularly those equipped with moveable handlebars - allow you access to the same full body workout without bank-busting membership fees and the guilt of skipped visits. The reason for their effectiveness is that the range of movement they promote engages you through your core, quads, calves, triceps, biceps, chest and beyond. Bringing the result triumvirate we're all ultimately seeking: fat-burning, muscle toning and increased fitness.
For older users (and those recovering from impact injury) a cross trainer's distinctive pedal movement is gentle on knee and ankle joints and thus limits strain through those areas. Depending on the intensity of your workout, cross trainers can burn a pleasing 8-12 calories per minute. A significant improvement on treadmill stats without taking up much more space in the home. Whether you are looking for gentle cardio, increased endurance or significant weight loss, the ability to alter resistance makes this a flexible and enduring home exercise product.
However, buying a home cross trainer is still a considerable outlay and therefore there are questions to consider before you hit 'checkout':
With your budget in mind, what are the most important features to you? Be objective. While you might be a fan of hi tech when it come to your phone or home entertainment packages, do you really need all the digital bells and whistles on your home gym too? Consider the programmes and features you will actually use. Could an entry level machine suffice or are you someone who is stat driven and responds better to beautifully formatted results they can track?
Will you be the sole user in the home or is there anyone else to consider? It is essential to consider weight, height and workout needs ahead of this investment. A cross trainer with a basic stride length (16") could be adequate for users of average height and build but anyone over 6' will need a longer stride and this will impact the ticket price. At the lower end of the market you'll be limited to machines with a 16" stride and minimal aesthetic appeal. However these cross trainer do have the benefit of being more compact, which is a selling point for those with restricted floor space or more irregular exercise habits.
Leading on from the more compact nature of basic models, have you considered the best spot to put your cross trainer in? It will be necessary not only to consider the machine's dimensions but also the best place for you to experience the full range of motion it offers as you work out. Aesthetics play a big part here. If you have limited storage your cross trainer will remain on full view to you and any visitors to your home. You'll need to be happy to let it take up space in your life. If you are fortunate enough to have a full home gym, take time to think about how well it will sit alongside existing equipment. In terms of both scale and style. Also be sure to check out our reviews of home rowing machines.