Difference Between Cross Trainer & Elliptical

Updated July 19, 2017

The elliptical, also commonly known as the cross trainer, is a fitness machine that offers a low impact, cardiovascular workout. Although the elliptical is popularly regarded as synonymous with cross trainer, the usage of the terms depend

on the machine's construction.

Elliptical Cross Trainers

All elliptical machines deliver great lower body workouts, targeting leg muscle groups and the glutes. The elliptical cross trainer is built with dual action handlebars, which synchronise with the motions and resistance of the elliptical's pedalling, improving upper body strength. As such, the elliptical with dual handlebars can provide a full body workout, which lends to its other name, cross trainer.

Elliptical Trainers

The elliptical trainer targets the same leg muscle groups as the cross trainer but does not provide a strong upper body workout because of the stationary handlebars. The stationary handlebars are designed for support and are beneficial for

individuals with disabilities.


Intensify your elliptical workout by increasing the incline. By doing so, you will change what leg muscle groups are being strengthened the most and prevent other leg muscle groups from being overworked.

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About the Author

Vera Lam is a freelance arts writer who has been writing professionally since 2009. She has contributed her expertise to several Web-based entertainment publications including Week in Rewind. She attended Fairfield University, where she pursued liberal studies.