Unlocking the Cross Trainer: Guide to Holistic Workouts

Looking for cross trainer work out ideas to take things up a notch?

Whether you are just getting started or looking to test yourself with something more challenging, we've got workouts for everyone.


Tips for an Effective Cross Trainer Workout

Easing into the Cross Trainer Adventure

Before we jump into the workouts, here are some tips to get the best out of your exercise time:

Get Settled In: If you are new to using a cross trainer, it is important to get used to using the machine. Start with the foot pedals, finding a good pace. Once you've got that, add in your arm movements. Stand up straight and feel the movement.

How Long to Workout: Most experts suggest working out for about 150 minutes a week. If you're up for more, aim for an hour a day, adding in some high-energy HIIT exercises.

Stay Safe: Always start with a warm-up and finish with a cool-down. It's important! And remember, even if the cross trainer feels easy on your body, your muscles still need breaks to recover.

Stay Hydrated: Have a water bottle nearby and take small sips as needed. It is important to stay hydrated as you workout.


Workouts to Spice Things Up


20-Minute Beginner Cross Trainer Workout

Warm-Up (0:00 - 3:00)

Intensity: Low

Start with a gentle pace to get your body warmed up. Keep resistance levels low. Focus on your posture: stand tall with a straight back and engage your core.


Basic Pedaling (3:00 - 7:00)

Intensity: Low to Moderate

Begin to increase your speed slightly. Find a rhythm that feels comfortable, not too strenuous. Keep the resistance at a low level.

Arm Engagement (7:00 - 11:00)

Intensity: Moderate

Begin to use the handlebars, pushing and pulling with your arms in sync with your leg movements. This helps to engage the upper body.


Resistance Increase (11:00 - 14:00)

Intensity: Moderate

Increase the resistance by one or two levels. This will make it slightly harder to pedal, engaging your muscles a bit more.


Backward Pedaling (14:00 - 17:00)

Intensity: Moderate

Change the direction of your pedaling to go backward. This can help engage different muscle groups.


Cool Down (17:00 - 20:00)

Intensity: Low

Instructions: Decrease the resistance back to a low level and slow your pace. Focus on deep breathing and gradually winding down your workout.



20-Minute HIIT Cross Trainer Workout

Warm-Up (0:00 - 3:00)

Intensity: Low

Start with a steady and relaxed pace to get your body warmed up. Keep resistance levels moderate. Focus on engaging your core, maintaining a straight back, and using both your arms and legs for an even warm-up.


Interval 1 (3:00 - 4:00)

Intensity: High

Boost your speed and resistance, aiming to push yourself to around 80-90% of your maximum effort.


Rest (4:00 - 5:00)

Intensity: Low

Reduce speed and resistance to catch your breath.


Interval 2 (5:00 - 6:00)

Intensity: High

Again, increase your speed and resistance to push yourself hard.


Rest (8:00 - 9:00)

Intensity: Low

Recover with a slower speed and reduced resistance.

(Continue this pattern of 1-minute high-intensity intervals followed by 1-minute rests until the 18:00 mark.)


Cool Down (18:00 - 20:00)

Intensity: Low

Gradually lower your resistance and speed, allowing your heart rate to come down. Focus on deep breathing and steady movements.


Mountain Climber Workout

    Warm-Up (0:00 - 5:00)

    Intensity: Low

    Start with a gentle pace, keeping the resistance low. Use this time to get your body warmed up and to familiarize yourself with the cross trainer's movements.


    Foothill Climb (5:00 - 8:00)

    Intensity: Moderate

    Gradually increase resistance. This stage simulates the start of your climb, where the incline isn't too steep but you can feel the effort increasing.


    Mountain Base (8:00 - 12:00)

    Intensity: Moderate-High

    Boost the resistance even further. This should feel noticeably harder as you're entering the base of your mountain climb. Incorporate your upper body by vigorously pushing and pulling the handlebars.


    Steeper Ascent (12:00 - 16:00)

    Intensity: High

    Increase resistance once more, simulating a steeper climb. Your legs should be working hard, and your breathing should be heavier. Keep the pace steady, but challenge yourself to maintain the increased resistance.


    Mountain Peak (16:00 - 18:00)

    Intensity: Maximum

    For these two minutes, set the resistance to the highest level you're comfortable with. This simulates the final push to the mountain peak. It will be challenging, but remember, the descent is next!


    Descent (18:00 - 23:00)

    Intensity: Moderate-Low

    Gradually reduce the resistance, simulating the descent down the mountain. This phase is your reward for the hard work. It's easier, but keep your pace steady and use this time to recover slightly.


    Cool Down (23:00 - 25:00)

    Intensity: Low

    Further reduce resistance and slow your pace. Use this time to relax your breathing and let your heart rate come down.



    Muscle Engagement Tips

    A cross trainer's design inherently allows users to focus on different muscle groups by adjusting how you use the machine.

    Related: Cross Trainer Benefits

    To emphasise your core, stand tall, ensuring you're not leaning on the handlebars too much.

    For a strong lower body workout, play with the resistance settings. Pedaling backwards offers a unique challenge, specifically engaging the hamstrings and glutes.

    For the upper body, exert more force when pushing and pulling the handlebars, which will work your arms, chest, and back muscles.

    Regardless of your chosen workout, being conscious of these simple adjustments ensures you're always targeting the desired muscle groups.

     Related: Best Elliptical Cross Trainers

    Get Started!

    Incorporating the cross trainer into your fitness routine can be a great way to target various muscle groups and boosting overall health.

    But remember, everyone's body is unique.

    Before embarking on any new workout regimen, especially high-intensity ones, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional or doctor to ensure it's right for you.

    Prioritise your well-being, and let the journey to a fitter you begin safely and effectively!

    Related Posts:

    Cross Trainer Vs. Treadmill Guide

    Author's Photo

    William Parrett

    Will, co-founder of Home Gym Supply, launched the company in 2019 after 15-years in the fitness industry. His expertise stems not only from his professional background but also from his athletic pursuits. A former competitor in the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF) and a competitive rugby player, Will has always been dedicated to health and fitness.