Everybody knows them: Crosstrainers are a popular fitness tool, both in the gym and at home. Compared to their older brothers, the newer vibration plates are not yet as established. But they also allow for an intensive workout to promote strength (endurance) and other health-related aspects.
But how do cross trainers and vibration plates actually work? Which health and fitness goals can be achieved with them? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of the machines? You can find out all this and much more with us!
Crosstrainer – running with full arm use
Crosstrainers are also called elliptical trainers, which is due to the oval pattern of the movements. When you train on such a machine, you are virtually imitating climbing stairs and combine this with the features of a treadmill.
The machine puts a cross load on the legs and arms and requires numerous muscle groups. Therefore, such a trainer is ideal for a comprehensive total body workout – with a crosstrainer you can strengthen your muscles and improve your body awareness. But not only that! An elliptical trainer is also excellent for reducing body fat and improving endurance.
Note: By crossing your arms and legs (guided), you do not run the risk of neglecting the arm work. This is the case for example with many joggers. A workout that uses both legs and arms is much more effective than running without arms!
Safe, safer, crosstrainer
The active use of the arms is one of the many advantages of an elliptical trainer. In addition, the high level of training safety: the guided movements prevent you from making incorrect movements and thus protect your muscles, joints and tendons. Furthermore, a crosstrainer does not run by itself – if you stop moving, the device stops as well. So there is no danger of being thrown off the machine or the like.
A glance at the display shows you how versatile such a training tool is. It shows you the distance covered and the time elapsed as well as your speed, heart rate and calories burned. In addition, the equipment allows you to adjust the intensity of the training (by increasing or decreasing the resistance). Some models even allow you to create an individual training plan.
Note: Due to its features and high operating safety, a crosstrainer is equally suitable for ambitious athletes and beginners. The equipment also supports people with joint problems in achieving their athletic goals!
How you benefit from training on a Crosstrainer
Speaking of athletic goals: Crosstrainers are primarily used for warming up, reducing body fat and improving endurance:
- Warming up. Just ten minutes on the machine are enough to prepare your musculoskeletal system and circulation for an upcoming exercise.
- Reduction of body fat. One hour workout on the elliptical trainer burns up to 500 kcal. The exact values depend on your gender, your fitness level and other factors.
- Increase in endurance performance. The exercises on the crosstrainer strengthen and improve your cardiovascular system. This not only improves your endurance, but also prevents diseases such as arteriosclerosis and diabetes.
An elliptical trainer is not a power machine like the chest press or the lat pull. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it to strengthen your muscles as well.
You won’t be able to reach upper arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger with such a device, but by increasing the resistance while running, your muscles will definitely be stimulated to work harder. An improvement in strength endurance is the result.
Other positive effects of training on a cross trainer are
- increased oxygen supply for the body
- Improvement of the general well-being
- Release of endorphins Frustration reduction and relaxation.
Note: By exercising on the crosstrainer you can train and get your whole body in shape. Although the focus of the exercise is on the legs and buttocks, visible effects can also be seen on the stomach, shoulders, etc.
Vibration plates – train like an astronaut
Vibratory plates originally came from the Russian space program: the astronauts used the devices to prepare themselves for their time in space. The sports scientist V.T. Nazarov discovered that the special vibrations not only strengthen the body, but also boost calorie consumption. And so the first vibratory plates came onto the market in the mid-2000s.
Today, the trainers are no longer just part of every fitness studio, but are also available for private individuals. In addition, today’s machines work much more precisely than their ancestors and they have been equipped with additional useful features. Today, for example, you can tailor the training to your individual needs. And an integrated computer gives you feedback on various health aspects of your workout.
The advantages of vibration plates
Training on a vibration plate is one of the so-called low-impact exercises (just like swimming, cycling etc.). The device generates vibrations which are transmitted to the whole body. This in turn stimulates your entire musculature and helps to reduce muscular imbalances and instabilities (keyword inter- and intramuscular coordination).
Because the training tool addresses various muscles, it also causes an increased calorie consumption. At the same time, the workout with the vibration plate feels more strenuous than running on a crosstrainer, for example. Especially for beginners.
Further advantages of vibration plates
- Increase in muscle mass and bone density
- skin tightening
- Improvement of the balance
- Improved coordination
- Stronger blood circulation
Vibratory plates are equally suitable for long-established pumpers and beginners. They are a good way to bring variety into the training plan. Contrary to the widespread misconception, the plates do not fulfil their purpose by themselves.
You should make use of different exercise possibilities and not just stand on the equipment to maximize your training results. Use different exercises and techniques to strengthen all your muscle groups!
There are different types of vibration plates
What they have in common is that novices can start their workout after a short instruction (by a professional trainer). Another advantage of the machines is their time saving: studies suggest that just a ten-minute workout on the plate can replace a conventional strength training of about 45 minutes.
Type of vibration plates Features
|Oscillating Vibration Plates||Rest on a pivot point and are similar in function to a seesaw If you stand on the plate, one side lifts and the other lowers The vibrations cause the body to tremble Particularly suitable for Cardio training, abdominal muscle training, back training, whole body training|
|Vertical Vibration Plates||Offer different types of vibration The entire plate vibrates and moves up and down Particularly suitable for: Strength training, increased fat burning, improving posture, increasing blood circulation|
So before you buy a vibration plate, you should think about what training goals you want to achieve. Accordingly, you decide on one of the above mentioned types of training equipment. The main advantage of these compared to the crosstrainer are the many different exercise possibilities.
However, vibration plates are generally more expensive to buy. They also offer (thanks to the integrated computer) the possibility to adjust the intensity of the vibrations and individualize the training.
Note: Depending on the muscles you want to train, you can adopt different body positions and postures (lying, sitting, squatting, standing, …) when working out on a vibration plate.
Crosstrainer vs Vibration plates
In the following, we have summarized the advantages of both types of devices for you once again and expanded on some aspects. Of course, we do not want to withhold the disadvantages from you.
|Train the muscles of the legs, arms and parts of the back|
Promotes fat metabolism (weight reduction)
Strengthen the cardiovascular system
High training safety
Suitable for beginners
Allow the adjustment of the training intensity
Already available for little money
|Take up a lot of space|
For a good device you have to dig a little deeper into your pocket
Less suitable for muscle building Small exercise selection
|High training effectiveness with low time expenditure|
Helping to lose weight (greatly increased calorie consumption)
Strength muscles and bones
Promotes muscle building
Promotes coordination and balance (keyword inter- and intramuscular coordination)
Bring variety into the training plan (varied exercises)
Suitable for beginners and advanced students
| Requires a lot of space|
Especially weak muscles can be injured
Require instruction (by a professional)
It’s your Choice!
Let’s hold on: The biggest advantage of the vibration plate compared to the crosstrainer is that it offers a much greater exercise variety. On the other hand, both tools train the cardiovascular system and improve further physical abilities. In this regard, however, it has to be said that the crosstrainer is more suitable for increasing (strength) endurance; the vibration plate is the right equipment for you if you want to build up muscles.
Both types of crosstrainer take up a certain amount of space in the room. Therefore, consider the space available to you. And also, if the machines are not cheap at first sight: With a crosstrainer or a vibration plate you will save a lot of money afterwards compared to a gym membership.
Final tip: When comparing the prices of different machines, keep the motto “quality has its price in mind” in mind. Then nothing will stand in the way of an effective, healthy total body workout!