An exercise scientist reveals you shouldn’t waste your time on the elliptical machine or cross trainer


When it comes to trying to get in shape, not all forms of exercise, workouts and even gym equipment are equal.

In fact, some forms of exercise or training can be a waste of your time and regardless of how much you persevere with them, are unlikely to get you the results you are looking for.

According to a leading exercise physiologist, the cross trainer or elliptical machine is one piece of equipment that is probably best avoided.

While it can offer some benefit for people who are looking for exercise that is lower impact, most people don’t work hard enough on the cross trainer, Heather Milton, a senior exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Health.

“Many people tend to use the elliptical trainer and will start reading or watching TV. Kind of forget that they’re for the purpose of the exercise. And we notice that when that happens, the actual intensity of the exercise is reduced,” Heather told Business Insider.

If you are going to use the elliptical machine you need to ensure that give yourself some resistance rather than just freely going along.

However, for most people looking to lose weight and get in shape, it is probably best to skip the elliptical machine altogether in favour of more dynamic movements.

This is because not only does it not offer enough resistance or intensity for most people, it also only keep your body moving in one plane of motion – front and back.

“I choose not to use ellipticals because I do enjoy more dynamic movements in different planes of motion,” Heather said.

“So it’s always good to mix up what you’re doing in terms of getting overall fitness by doing not just exercises that keep you in one plane of motion, forward and back, like running and elliptical training but also sports and other exercises that can get you moving in the frontal plane, or what we call side-to-side, or transverse plane, which is in rotation”, Heather explained.

“If I were to use an elliptical trainer, I would choose the ones that do allow you to move your arms as well.

“That way as you are moving you have to activate your core to keep yourself sturdy and engaged the whole time, Heather said.

Instead, opt for some form of whole body exercise or a workout that will offer more resistance than the crosstrainer.

A simple bodyweight circuit which you can do anywhere and should done at high intensity is likely to yield much better results than plodding away on the cross trainer.

An example workout could be something like this:

5 rounds – 30 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds rest

Press ups
Bodyweight squats
Mountain climbers


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