Cross trainer equipment varies depending on what the user's primary sport is. A runner will have a different variety of cross trainer equipment at his disposal than a cyclist will, since the point of cross training is to do exercises outside the normal routine of the primary sport. A runner, for example, might use an exercise bike as his cross trainer equipment choice to work the leg muscles while using a different, low-impact motion. A cyclist, however, may choose an elliptical machine as his cross trainer equipment choice because it will allow him to get a good cardiovascular workout without throwing a leg over the bike.
The elliptical machine is often called cross trainer equipment, yet it is not the only device to be used for cross training. An elliptical machine is a great piece of machinery to use for cross training purposes for all athletes, though, so the nickname is perhaps rightfully earned. This machine simulates a walking or running motion, but it does so by sending the foot in the path of an oval rather than in a hard, straight up and down motion. This allows the user to work the same muscles as running or cycling, but in a low-impact exercise that does not cause damage to the joints such as the knees and ankle. A runner looking to let his body heal in between races might consider an elliptical to continue his normal workout without stressing his joints.
Some elliptical machines come with movable hand grips that simulate the motion of cross country ski poles. This helps enhance the cardiovascular workout by allowing more of the body to move, burn fat, and raise heart rate. Some users may choose to stand on the elliptical machine without using the hand grips or stability bars at all, which promotes balance and core strength, since the core of the body is now responsible for keeping the user upright.
Rowing machines are another good choice for cross training purposes. This workout will enhance both leg muscles and upper body muscles, and it can be used as a good cardiovascular workout. It is a good choice for athletes participating in team sports who want to develop muscle and maintain good cardiovascular performance. Rowing machines must be used correctly; incorrect posture or movement can cause injury, particularly in the back, neck, or shoulders. One should be sure to consult a trainer if he or she is unfamiliar with any of the equipment mentioned in this article.