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10 of the best cross trainers for runners to buy in 2022

Supplement your running fitness at home with our pick of the top elliptical trainers.

best cross trainers uk 2022

Despite the best efforts, sometimes there are moments when it's time to mix up the running training and substitute some of your runs with another form of exercise to make those cardio gains. minimise injury or aid recovery. But what if we told you that shaking up your running routine could actually make you a better runner too?

If you're pushed for time, reluctant to consider another sport, or the idea of hitting the gym turns you cold, it's worth considering investing in a domestic cross trainer to supplement your running.

From the ideal equipment for low intensity workouts, to what to buy on a budget, keep scrolling for our pick of the best cross trainers for runners...

What is a cross trainer?

Also known as an elliptical trainer, a cross trainer is an exercise machine that targets the same muscles and cardio vascular system as running through climbing and power walking against resistance, but without the impact that running on a treadmill brings.

'A cross trainer is one of the most popular cardio machines in the gym. Comprised of two footrests and two handles that you push and pull, the cross trainer provides a full body, low impact workout,' says Dean Zweck from Total Fitness. 'To use a cross trainer, you move your feet in a striding pattern while pulling and pushing the handles to train multiple muscles at once.'

How do cross trainers compare with treadmills?

According to Dean, there are a couple of key differences between using a cross trainer compared to a treadmill. 'Firstly, there is the impact – or lack of it when using a cross trainer,' he explains. 'When you run, typically a force of two to three times your body weight is absorbed by the body every time your foot strikes the floor. When multiplied by the volume of steps you take when you run, this is a lot of force and can cause muscle or joint pain. Cross trainers offer a zero-impact way to achieve similar results to running.'

Cross trainers also have the edge when it comes to overall fitness. 'Treadmills focus on speed and gradient to achieve intensity, whereas a cross trainer will use resistance,' adds Dean. 'While both are great ways to train, cross trainers hold the advantage for strength and tone, particularly of the upper body, over a treadmill.'

What are the benefits of using a cross trainer?

Cross trainers have a number of benefits for runner. So, if you're on the fence keep scrolling for the pros, plus we review the best ones to buy.

• Injury recovery and prevention: Because they're low impact, cross trainers can help you continue to train if you are injured. 'For the majority of avid runners, the temptation to push through your injuries to stick to your running plan, or hit your weekly targets is huge but not necessarily sensible,' says Dean. 'Small injuries have the habit of intensifying if not managed correctly, and there is nothing more frustrating for a runner than to not be able to train.'

• Manage intensity: It's also easier to monitor your training with a cross trainer. 'It is very easy to manage intensity while on a cross trainer by manipulating the resistance and steps per minute (SPM),' explains Dean. 'Training in different HR zones is a common way for runners to train, whether that be a low intensity recovery day, a tempo run or an interval session..'

• Upper body workout: While runners often have super strong calves, our upper body strength can get overlooked. 'Cross trainers also strengthen and tone your arms (biceps and triceps, back, chest and core) giving it an advantage over running,' says Dean. 'Depending on your goal, this may make the cross trainer a better choice to achieve multiple training results at once.'

The types of cross trainer

When choosing a cross trainer for your home, it is useful to know that there are different types available:

  • MAGNETIC: The first difference is how the resistance is achieved, whether magnetic or electromagnetic. 'Magnetic cross trainers are usually controlled by a knob or lever, whereas electromagnetic ones are controlled by a button on the console,' says Dean. 'The electromagnetic versions have a much wider range of resistance and are more suited to the advanced exerciser but do cost a little more.'
  • FLY WHEEL. The second difference is where the fly wheel is located. 'The fly wheel is what creates the motion in the pedals,' explains Dean. 'Some are located at the rear, while some are at the front. For a runner, you want to buy a rear driven cross trainer, as the motion this creates is more alike to a natural running motion. Front driven cross trainers are more circular or like climbing steps than running.

    Things to consider when shopping for a cross trainer

    From size to cost, it's worth considering the following points before you make a purchase:

    • Size: Check the size. 'You can get foldable cross trainers now which are great to save space,' says Dean.
    Durability: How sturdy is it and does it have a warranty? 'Most home equipment is built to a decent standard but sometimes things break and after investing that money you don’t want to be out of pocket.'
    Cost: 'Ultimately the cross trainer you buy has to be suitable for your goal and situation, but also your budget,' adds Dean.
    The console: How tech savvy are you? 'You may want to see power, speed, calories and distance as well as having Bluetooth connectivity to your favourite fitness wearables,' suggests Dean.

    10 best cross trainers for runners to buy now

    From self-powered models to the latest in cutting edge tech, keep scrolling for our pick of the best cross trainers on the market in 2022.

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    1
    BEST SELF-POWERED CROSS TRAINER
    Self-Powered Smart Cross Trainer 520
    DOMYOS decathlon.co.uk
    £429.99
    2
    BEST CROSS TRAINER ON A BUDGET
    Elliptical Cross Trainer
    BTM amazon.co.uk
    £131.19
    3
    BEST CROSS TRAINER FOR SMALL SPACES
    XT2000 Cross Trainer
    Pro Fitness argos.co.uk
    £440.00
    4
    BEST CROSS TRAINER FOR MULTIPLE USERS
    JTX Tri-Fit
    JTX Fitness jtxfitness.com
    £749.00
    5
    BEST CROSS TRAINER FOR FUNCTIONALITY
    Sina Elliptical Cross Trainer
    Viavito sweatband.com
    £379.99
    6
    BEST CROSS TRAINER FOR BEGINNERS
    CT200 Home Elliptical Cross Trainer
    JLL Fitness amazon.co.uk
    £189.99
    7
    BEST HYBRID BIKE CROSS TRAINER
    Hybrid Trainer XT
    Pro-Form proformfitness.co.uk
    £599.00
    8
    BEST BASIC CROSS TRAINER
    Cross Trainer Essential 120
    DOMYOS decathlon.co.uk
    £229.99
    9
    BEST CROSS TRAINER FOR OCCASIONAL USE
    2-in-1 Air Cross Trainer and Exercise Bike
    Opti argos.co.uk
    £175.00
    10
    BEST PREMIUM CROSS TRAINER
    Commercial 14.9 Elliptical Cross Trainer
    NordicTrack sweatband.com
    £1,799.00
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