What is a Recumbent Cross Trainer?

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  • Written By: Micki Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 26 January 2020
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A recumbent cross trainer is a piece of fitness equipment that is similar to both a seated stationary bike and an elliptical trainer. Although the word recumbent often refers to a fully-prone position, this equipment typically calls for an upright or slightly relaxed seated position. A recumbent cross trainer usually requires one to cycle the legs while also pumping the arms back and forth in order to incorporate as many muscle groups as possible simultaneously. Various programs, controls, and levels of resistance help an individual to tailor a workout on the cross trainer to his specific needs. This low-impact equipment should be safe for most people to use.

There has been some concern that people who feel that they need the benefits of exercise equipment the most—the elderly as well as obese individuals—cannot use many modern types of cardio equipment. Treadmills and bikes could cause too much impact and strain on a body, weak or strong, resulting in injury. A recumbent cross trainer is one type of fitness equipment that strives to decrease the impact on the joints and muscles.

Cross training simply refers to the many different types of conditioning exercise one can do to improve overall body strength. Most recumbent cross trainers focus on strengthening the leg and arm muscles. These muscle groups can be worked simultaneously or one at a time.


To work the legs, one should first take a seat on the machine and adjust settings as needed. One can then place the feet on the pedals and cycle the legs as if riding a bicycle. Low-impact machines typically use a weighted flywheel to produce a continuous, smooth movement.

Sometimes, a recumbent cross trainer will also have two handles to grasp onto with the hands. As the legs cycle, the handles move back and forth in time. It is up to the individual user whether he wants to incorporate this upper-body workout or not. One could even choose to focus on the arms rather than the legs simply by relying more on the arms than the legs to move the flywheel. Using both the lower and upper body equally could provide a total body workout in just one sitting.

Many models of the recumbent cross trainer come with pre-programmed workouts that simulate riding through different types of terrain, such as hills. Usually, the individual can either choose a specific program or control the level of resistance manually throughout a workout. Recumbent cross trainers are marketed toward all individuals, regardless of fitness level, because of the many ways a workout can be tailored. This equipment can be purchased through different manufacturers. While this product is relatively new, some gyms are beginning to put it to use.


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