skip to Main Content

What is the difference between a Cross trainer and an Elliptical trainer?


Cross trainers and elliptical trainers were first developed by Precor.  They developed them for their low-impact design, which limits tendon and joint stress, which in turn reduces the chance of injury. They were also created for their use in rehabilitation, as they are recommended by physio-therapists and doctors for those with past injuries or joint pains.


There are different types of cross trainer / elliptical trainers on the market. The most common models are the rear-end drive and the front-end drive.

Their name explains them well. The front-end drive machines work by having the fly wheel at the front end of the equipment while the rear-end drive works by having the flywheel at the rear end of the machine.

Both types of elliptical machines are the same in terms of their feel and it all depends on the type of cross trainer that is suitable for you. There is no right or wrong here, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

So, in studying the main difference between a cross trainers and elliptical trainers, the fact is that an elliptical trainer uses a static handle, which requires the person exercising with this type of machine to primarily use their legs. In other words, you cannot use your hands other than just holding on to the handle.

The cross trainer, on the other hand, has both the option of using only your legs to operate the machine and or using both your legs and arms to operate. Most cross trainers have both handles that move back and forth as you move your legs while using the machine as well as a static handle if the person chooses to focus more on the legs, which means they are two in one.


One last important point

Many manufacturers choose to call their machines cross trainers while others tend to use the word elliptical trainer, even though they are in fact cross trainers.

So in conclusion, based on what units are out there on the market and given the fact manufacturers often do not stick to using accurate terminology. We can say that both an elliptical trainer and cross trainer are 99% of the time the exact same thing, just with different names.


The best thing to do is to ask, check the specifications or just look at the pictures. Also, please feel free to check out our range of cross trainers here at dynamo fitness.


Thank you for reading…

Dynamo Fitness Team.