Cross Trainer Vs Treadmills

Cross Trainer Vs Treadmills

Both these machines are plentiful in every gym that you step into, you see a lot of people chugging away on these pieces of equipment. Cardio enthusiasts spend plenty of time on both of them, but which one is better? Well, that depends on what you’re trying to achieve from your workout!

Cross Trainer Vs Treadmills Fat Loss

For those looking to lose some of their body fat percentage, both these cardio machines are effective but studies suggest that actually treadmills do burn slightly more calories for an hour of usage with equal intensity, with the cross trainer reaching roughly 700-755 calories per hour whilst the treadmill reaches 700-866 calories per hour. It is important to remember however that it is an estimate and there are other factors that contribute to this number such as weight and current fitness level. You might also consider the temperature and elevation that you are exercising at which will make a difference.

So, whilst treadmills burn slightly more calories than the cross trainer, the question of which machine burns more fat is highly debated. Some believe that the cross trainer burns more fat because of the full body workout it provides with the user being able to utilise their arms as well as their lower body in order to then burn more fat.

The ability to adjust the resistance on the cross trainer is another reason many believe that it burns fat better than the treadmill. This increase in the resistance works the arms, glutes, quads and calves, building muscle in those areas, which in turn burns fat. It can be argued that the treadmill has the ability to increase the incline and therefore build muscle however this is limited to the lower body whilst the cross trainer allows building arm muscle.

So whilst the question of which machine burns more fat is still up in the air, it is important to note that regardless of which is better for burning fat, either of these cardio machines is necessary for anyone looking to burn fat and keep it off in the long term.



The impact that occurs on joints through exercise is something that should be considered by every exerciser but is specifically considered by those who have joint issues, are overweight or older exercisers. The impact that cardio can have on lower body joints is significant and this consideration will often play a role on which of the cardio machines the participant will decide.

The treadmill has a much higher impact on joints in comparison to the cross-trainer. The consistent pounding that occurs on the treadmill can cause wear and tear on hip, knee and ankle joints of the user. On the other hand, the cross trainer has little to no impact on joints and therefore provides the better option for those who struggle with joint problems. As a result, if you are someone who needs to be cautious when it comes to injures then the cross trainer is definitely the machine for you. Whereas if you are someone who does not have to consider injuries and impact then you may want to review some of the other factors before deciding on a machine. Bear in mind also that the cushioning effect on a treadmill is to some extent protective, and is definately less wearing than running on the road or paths. In addition to this you must also remember that gait biomechanics will have an effect on wear when running -on the treadmill or on the road.


In terms of variation, both these pieces of equipment have variation available to the user. Depending on the quality of your machine, many have programs to allow the participant to change up their workout and add intensity, these are pre-programs and encourage the user to push themselves during their workout and improve their cardiovascular endurance.

Treadmills offer the user a choice of the speed that they wish to run/walk at, these treadmills usually go up to around 12 mph with some more expensive products going even higher. This piece of cardio equipment does also have the ability to adjust the incline at which the user is running/walking to allow an increase in intensity in that way as well as speed. This allows the user to work on muscular endurance when at a high incline as well as just cardiovascular endurance, making it a piece of equipment with many benefits for the user.

Cross trainers don’t offer quite the same amount of variation of treadmills however they offer an increase in intensity by increasing the resistance on the pedals, making it tougher for the user to cycle and works on the quads and calf muscles.

Cross Trainer Vs Treadmills For Cardio

Many who use either of these machines have the goal of bettering their cardiovascular endurance which provides a lot of health benefits and also improves performance in a number of sports. So which machine is better at improving your VO2 max?

There is no question that when it comes to improving your cardiovascular endurance and running ability, the treadmill is the most effective machine to do this. It is the best machine to replicate the motion of running on the ground. In addition it also allows the user to adjust their speed and incline to allow a more realistic version of running outside.

However, the cross trainer is not a machine to be sneered at when it comes to improving cardiovascular endurance. Although it does not replicate the running movement and impact as well as the treadmill, it does somewhat replicate the motion of running. and when performed at a high enough intensity, it will improve your VO2 max, especially if you’re a beginner.

If you are slightly more serious runner/athlete, then the cross trainer will likely not be able to improve your VO2 max drastically but is very highly used and considered when an athlete is injured and unable to cope with the impact that a treadmill provides. Cross trainers are commonly used to maintain cardiovascular endurance of elite athletes when they are either tired or injured and therefore is a crucial cardio machine when it comes to endurance.


In the end, when it comes to deciding between these two cardio machines, it is clear that one is not infinitely better than the other, with both coming with their advantages and disadvantages. It very much depends on what the user is looking to get out of their time on the cardio machine and any possible health problems the user may have prior to participating. So, in conclusion, both are very effective cardio machines that can be tailored and used to help and support a user work towards and achieve their fitness goals.

Be sure to check out our guides on the top 10 cross trainers and home treadmills in the UK. In there you can find the models that offer the best value for money and all the information you need for when researching which type of fitness machine you would like to buy.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: