Are you getting the best possible workout from your cross trainer? Hopping onto the machine and moving at a leisurely pace isn’t doing you any favors – and won’t help you reach your fitness or weight loss goals.
Here are six of the most common – and worst- cross trainer mistakes that you’re making, and tips on how to fix them ASAP.
1. Your Resistance Level is Zero
It won’t do you much good to step without any resistance. It doesn’t matter how fast you step, you won’t see results if the workout isn’t challenging your body.
There should be enough resistance that you have to push and pull through each stride. On top of this, you should make sure that you’re moving at a moderate pace. When your workout is over, you should feel like you have nothing left in the gas tank.
2. You Slouch
When you use the cross trainer, are you standing up straight, or are you slouching forward? Keeping your back straight will engage your core muscles, and will work your upper body.
Most cross trainer machines have handles that allow you to move your arms with each stride. Take advantage of this feature to work your upper body and burn more calories.
If you can’t find a machine that will let you work your upper body, avoid leaning on the machine or its stationary handles. Doing this can prevent you from burning as many calories as possible.
3. You Never Change Your Workout
Have you been doing the same workout for months? Chances are, this is big part of the reason why you aren’t seeing the results you want. After a while, your body adapts to your workout, which makes it less challenging and less effective.
Use interval training to break up your routine. You can do this by either alternating between a moderate and fast pace, or by alternating between a challenging and moderate resistance level.
4. You Never Change Directions
There’s a good chance that you always move in the same direction – forward – when you’re using the cross trainer. But moving backwards will not only add variety to your workout, but allow you to work a different set of major muscle groups.
Moving forward will work your quads, while moving backwards will work your glutes and hamstrings.
When moving backwards, try to keep your knees at a 90-degree angle and sit back slightly.
5. You Neglect Your Upper Body
Cross trainers can give you an upper body workout, too, but many people skip this and just hold onto the stationary handles. Using the moving handles just two days a week will give you a great upper body workout and help you maximize your results.
6. The Cross Trainer is Your Only Form of Exercise
It’s easy to run straight to the cross trainer for each and every workout, but to get the best possible results, vary your workouts. Try adding in other cardio machines, such as the rower, and incorporating weight training into the mix. The combination of strength training and cardio will help you burn more fat and calories while simultaneously toning and strengthening your muscles.