Cross Trainers: specifications, types
Maximum user weight
The maximum weight of the user for which the simulator is designed, in other words, the maximum weight of the athlete, at which the orbit track is guaranteed to work out the amount of time stated in the characteristics without the risk of breakage. This parameter should be adhered to as accurately as possible, do not be mistaken about the fact that 3-5 kg in excess of the calculated weight will not affect the device. Yes, most likely, the simulator will be able to work for some time, but it will experience loads exceeding the calculated ones, and at best it will fail earlier than expected, and at worst it may break at the most unfortunate moment, which is fraught with injuries. In addition, this case is usually not covered by the manufacturer's warranty, and you will have to eliminate the consequences at your own expense.
The design of the system that creates resistance on the flywheel of the orbit track and the corresponding load during training. The following options are currently in use:
— Mechanical. The operation of this system is similar to the brakes of a car: special brake pads are pressed against the flywheel, and by changing the force of pressing, the resistance to movement also changes. The advantages of mechanical loading systems are simplicity and low cost, reliability, the ability to create high resistance for large loads, as well as battery life — they do not require power, and in the design of the orbit track you can get by with a battery for auxiliary electronics (see "Power"). On the other hand, the pads, due to friction against the flywheel, create a certain noise, which can lead to inconvenience; they also wear and tear over time. The mechanical system is used mainly in low-cost orbitrek models.
— Magnetic. In systems of this type, the resistance changes due to permanent magnets: by bringing them closer to the flywheel or moving away from it, you can change the resistance to movement. Similar to mechanical ones (see above), magnetic load systems do not require power; at the same time they provide smoother adjustment and practically do not create noise. At the same time, this variety is poorly suited for training professionals — it is not capable of creating a serious load (although it...is usually quite enough for domestic use).
— Electromagnetic. This type of system is considered the most advanced. The principle of their operation is similar to magnetic ones (see above), however, instead of permanent magnets, stationary electromagnets are used in this case. The load, on the other hand, changes due to a change in the strength of the current passing through the windings of the electromagnets: the stronger the current, the stronger the magnetic field and, accordingly, the higher the resistance to movement. Thanks to this, electromagnetic models are able to provide very solid load levels, while maintaining one of the main advantages of magnetic systems — complete noiselessness. The main disadvantage is the need for a powerful power supply, which is realized either by connecting to the network or by installing a built-in generator (see "Power"). Yes, these trainers are quite expensive.
— Own weight. The load system allows you to work exclusively with the load of your own weight. The simplest mechanism, which has a minimum of nodes, is quite reliable and budgetary.
The location of the flywheel relative to the platforms of the orbitrek (for more information about the flywheel, see "Location of the flywheel"). Most often it is installed at the rear, but there are also models with front placement. The differences between both options are very small, so in fact only the appearance of the simulator depends on the location of the flywheel.
The weight of the flywheel installed in the orbitrek is a massive wheel, the rotation of which ensures the movement of the pedals and creates a load on them. It is believed that the more weight, the better: a massive flywheel provides smooth movement with a minimum of jerks and creates uniform loads that mimic natural ones as much as possible. This is especially important for athletes with a large body weight — from 100 kg and above. At the same time, it should be taken into account that the cost of the entire orbitrek directly depends on the weight of the flywheel, and for home non-professional use it is not always justified to look for a simulator with a very heavy wheel.
The number of fixed load levels (platform resistance during movement) provided for in the design of the orbitrek. The more such levels provided in the design, the wider the possibilities for adjusting the load and the more accurately it can be adjusted to the requirements of a particular user. At the same time, the abundance of adjustments accordingly affects the price.
Q-factor — the distance between the orbitrek pedals. Anatomically correct running ankles suggest a Q-factor between 50mm and 90mm. The exact value depends on the height and build of a particular user. Orbitrek with a Q-factor up to 90 mm allows you to remove excess stress from the joints of the legs. Of course, it must be taken into account that with the growth of the Q-factor, the load on the user's muscular system automatically increases. So, models with an indicator above 90 mm allow for more effective training. But at the same time, an anatomically incorrect position of the legs is assumed, which can adversely affect the health of the joints. If the user has any diseases associated with the joints, you should choose an orbitrek with an optimal Q-factor for your height and build (from 50 to 90 mm).
The maximum horizontal distance between the platforms of the orbit track, which determines, respectively, the length of the athlete's step when working on the simulator. It is believed that for people of average height, a step length of 400 – 500 mm is optimal, and many simulators are made with this calculation. At the same time, there are models with a variable stride length, which allows you to adjust it to the personal preferences of different users.
Anyway, the step length should be chosen depending on height, physique and personal preferences. Too small a step will lead to the fact that you have to mince, and the imitation of walking will turn into marking time, and too wide will lead to inconvenience and an unjustified increase in load without increasing efficiency. Ideally, it is advisable to test the simulator before buying — how comfortable you will be on it. This applies to both fixed and adjustable stride length.
Step length adjustment
The ability to change the step length provided by the orbitrek (see above). This function allows you to customize the simulator for athletes with different heights and physiques, for which the optimal stride length will also be different; this is especially convenient if the orbitrek is in public use — for example, installed in a gym. However such adjustment is expensive, and the real need for it is mainly in professional training. Therefore, most orbitrecks with adjustable pitch are top models.
The presence in the design of the orbitrek seats — similar to what is used in exercise bikes. Actually, the main meaning of this function is the possibility of using the unit in a "bicycle" format. Most likely, such a model will not replace a specialized exercise bike, but anyway, the seat significantly expands the scope of use of the orbit track.
The ability to change the angle of inclination of the platforms on which the legs are placed while working with the orbitrek. Thus, you can change the direction of the load and focus on a particular muscle group. This feature is relatively rare, mainly in professional-level simulators.
Possibility to change the length of orbitrek arms. This allows them to be optimally adjusted to the height of the user, which is especially important for those who are significantly above or below average height.
The possibility of folding the orbitrek to reduce its dimensions during storage and transportation. This feature saves space — the machine can be unfolded to full size and collapsed after use — which is especially true for small apartments where there is little floor space. At the same time, folding structures are somewhat less reliable than clumsy ones. Therefore, it is worth looking specifically for such a simulator only if compactness is of decisive importance for you.
The presence of rollers or other devices in the design of the orbit track to facilitate transportation. Transport rollers are useful for moving the device within the same apartment — a rather heavy and inconvenient to carry simulator (which can also damage the floor if it is accidentally dropped), can be easily rolled without fear of damaging the coating under the wheels (or taking minimal precautions) .
Uneven floors compensators
The presence in the design of the orbitrek of height-adjustable legs. Each of these legs is independently adjustable, and they can be set to different lengths. This allows you to compensate for uneven floors and stably install the simulator in a horizontal position, at all points of support.
The number of training programs provided for in the design of the orbitrek. Different programs have different purposes — strengthening the cardiovascular system, maintaining physical fitness, burning fat, etc. At the same time, the operation of the program relieves you of the need to manually set the parameters — this is done by the simulator. Accordingly, the more training programs the orbitrek has, the wider its capabilities and the more convenient the training. And some models may even provide the possibility of self-creation of programs.
Heart rate programs
Pulse-dependent is a type of training program in which the load is adjusted depending on the heart rate (pulse) of the athlete. Simply put, you just need to set the desired frequency — and the simulator will automatically adjust all the training parameters so that this frequency is maintained for the required time.
The simplest version of the heart rate program is the constant heart rate mode, when the heart rate is maintained at the same level throughout the entire workout. However, this set of such programs is not limited. As in the case of training, the wider this set, the more opportunities you have to choose the best option for each specific moment.
This function requires the presence of a colour display (see "Additional"), and quite a large one. Such a display shows a “picture” that creates the impression that the athlete is not on a stationary simulator, but is moving along the street, park path, specialized track, etc.; and some models may even provide the ability to connect a larger screen, such as a TV on the wall in front of the machine. At the same time, the speed of virtual movement depends on the intensity of the athlete's work; in other words, the simulator determines how fast a person would move in the real world with such an intensity of work, and accordingly adjusts the mode of changing the "picture" on the screen, providing the most realistic image. The main advantage of virtual training is obvious: watching the changing landscapes is much more pleasant and interesting than constantly looking at stationary objects. At the same time, it’s not just about positive emotions: additional interest can significantly increase the level of motivation and the overall effectiveness of training. Admittedly, this feature comes at a cost.
iFit is a technology that provides access to a vast library of training programs designed for each specific machine and for specific fitness goals, as well as picturesque videos that allow you to diversify your workouts. Usually, orbitrecks with support for this system are equipped with an LCD display, and when you start a workout, an HD video appears on the screen of the simulator with views of the terrain along which the jogging route will be laid. The video sequence is complemented by thematic audio compositions. However, the possibilities of the technology go further than conducting workouts to video clips. Advanced models, which are equipped with a large screen and a module for connecting to the Internet, allow you to use the potential of Google Maps. That is, the user can independently lay the route of a morning run through the streets of some famous city.
Information that the machine can display during operation.
— Training time. The display of training time can include both a total time counter and specialized functions — for example, the time spent in the “target zone” (working at a certain heart rate that is optimal for a particular mode), the total training time per day / week / month, etc. .P. Specific features differ from model to model.
— distance. Display of the "distance traveled" — the distance conditionally covered by the user during the workout. By default, this feature displays the distance traveled since the machine was turned on, but some models may have more advanced features, such as summing up distances over a certain period of time.
— Speed. Displaying the conditional speed of the user's movement (that is, the speed of movement on the ground, which would give the same load as the movement on the orbit track at the current moment). Usually a function is provided to display the current speed, however, some models can also calculate the average speed for passing the distance.
— Revolutions per minute. The display of the simulator displays information about the speed of movement of the pedals (revolutions per minute, rpm). This information will be extremely useful if the user conducts workouts in accordance with the planned programs....The cadence data allows you to maintain the optimal pace of your workout, giving you a benchmark to compare your current speed with the reference speed required by your workout program. Depending on the model of the orbit track, the simulator can only display the speed in real time or show the dynamics of changes in rpm throughout the entire workout. Advanced models allow you to save data on the dynamics of the speed of movement of the pedals, which opens up the possibility of a comparative analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of training.
— Measurement of the pulse. The ability to measure the user's heart rate during training. This parameter is one of the most important, for different training goals (burning fat, maintaining tone, strengthening the cardiovascular system), the optimal heart rate will be different. It also depends on a number of other parameters: gender, age, physique, physiological characteristics, etc. And exceeding the maximum allowable heart rate is fraught with unpleasant health consequences. You can learn more about this in the specialized literature, and best of all, consult a trainer or doctor. To measure the pulse, special sensors are used, in different models of orbitreks they can have a different design: a clip on the ear, a chest block with a belt, sensitive plates on the handles of the simulator, etc.
— Recovery test. The presence of a recovery test function in the orbitrek (also called a "fitness test" or "fitness assessment"). This function allows you to determine the rate of recovery of the body after physical exertion and, accordingly, its general physical condition and fitness for such loads. Usually, for this, the pulse is measured twice — immediately after training and 1 minute later — after which the simulator gives an estimate, which is deciphered using special tables. Recovery test machines, by definition, have heart rate measurement capability (see above).
— Calorie consumption. Displays the amount of energy expended by the user during the workout. This allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of the work to a certain extent, especially if it is aimed at burning fat and you need to track energy costs. Note that in most models, the estimation of calorie consumption is done quite approximately, without taking into account the individual characteristics of the body, however, for amateur training, this accuracy is quite enough.
— Generated power. The display shows how much electricity, in Watts (W), was generated during the workout. The power generated is directly related to the pedaling speed and the selected load. This parameter is especially relevant for orbitreks with a built-in generator. Simulators of this type operate in a completely autonomous mode — to power the on-board electronics in the orbit track, a battery is provided, which is regularly recharged from the generator. But the calculation of the generated power can also be carried out in traditional network / battery orbitrecks. Experienced users use the power generated data to gauge the overall level of effectiveness/efficiency of a workout. The generated power gives an overall estimate of the pedaling speed, the level of the selected load and the training time. Upon reaching a certain value of generated power, experienced users often end their workout.
— Workout chart. On the screen of the orbit track, a schedule of the training program is displayed, on which the level of load and the duration of the training are fixed in a convenient form. The chart allows you to visually assess the amount of energy expended, and at the same time the calories burned, at various stages of the lesson. Additionally, this allows you to take control of the load rate. A decreasing or increasing schedule will tell you when it is desirable to increase the load, and when to reduce it, in order to evenly distribute forces throughout the entire training program. Some models allow you to save the results of training in a graphical form and compare the diagrams of past sessions with each other.
— Fat analyzer. The presence in the orbit track of the function of measuring the amount of adipose tissue in the body (in percent). The operation of such a metre is based on the use of a weak electric current passed through the human body: different types of human tissues have different resistance, and the amount of adipose tissue can be deduced from the characteristics of the discharge. This technology is not accurate, but to a certain extent it allows you to evaluate the features of the physique; and by measuring the fat content before and after a course of training, you can get a pretty clear result. The measuring current is considered harmless for healthy people, however, we note that there are a number of limitations here: in particular, the fat analyzer cannot be used by pregnant women, children under 10 years old, and people with electronic pacemakers installed. And anyway, before buying a simulator with this function, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
— Body mass index (BMI). The automatic calculation of the body mass index allows you to adjust the training modes for each individual user, as well as more objectively evaluate the result of training programs. Body mass index (BMI) is the ratio of a person's height to their weight. Calculated using the following formula: weight / height / height. Let's assume that the user weighs 70 kg and is 1.76 m tall. In this case, BMI = 70/1.76/1.76 = 22.6. The normal MBI is considered to be an index from 19 to 24. If the user's MBI is insufficient (less than 19), then the simulator will develop workouts based on gaining body density and increasing muscle mass. When the MBI is excessive (over 24), the machine will recommend using a training program to reduce fat mass.
— Assessment of basal metabolism (BMR). Ability to calculate basal metabolism — the minimum amount of energy required by the body for normal functioning (for the respiratory, circulatory, nervous systems, as well as various organs). In other words, basal metabolism is the amount of energy that the body spends directly on functioning, without putting it off “for later” in the form of adipose tissue. This parameter is extremely important for organizing proper nutrition, especially when exercising to burn fat and reduce excess weight. There are formulas that allow you to determine BMR by weight, height, age and sex of a person; however, they allow you to get only an average result, while the simulator is able to take into account many additional factors that affect the metabolic rate. Usually, basal metabolism is determined by energy costs per day.
— Room temperature. The possibility of measuring and displaying the temperature in the room on the display of the orbit track. This function will help you more accurately assess the conditions for training and choose the appropriate form of clothing, as well as, if necessary, take measures to ensure a comfortable temperature (open the window; turn on the air conditioner — or vice versa, the heater).
The above list is not exhaustive; in modern orbitrecks, other types of information can also be displayed on the display.
— Management on the handles. The control buttons for training modes are placed on the handles of the orbit track. With their help, you can change the load without stopping the lesson. However, the control options in each model may be different.
— Fan. The orbit track has its own fan. This feature is useful for cooling during intense workouts with copious “warm-up” and sweating, especially in warm weather.
— Bottle holder. The presence in the design of the orbit track of a special stand on which you can put a bottle or glass. Thus, you will always have a supply of water at hand, and to replenish its amount in the body you will not have to be distracted from working with the simulator.
— Colour display. The presence of a colour monitor in the design of the simulator. This feature does not affect the main features of the device, however, such displays are considered more convenient and pleasant to view than black and white. And some models may include various additional features designed to make classes more interesting — for example, the ability to play DVD movies or virtual workouts (see above).
— Bluetooth. The presence of a Bluetooth wireless module in the orbit track allows the simulator to be synchronized with the user's smartphone, tablet or laptop / PC. Thank...s to data synchronization, the user will be able to control the results of training in a convenient form. Additionally, Bluetooth wireless communication can be used to download new training programs to the on-board computer of the simulator and synchronize with the heart rate monitor via the ANT protocol.
— Wi-Fi. The presence of a Wi-Fi wireless communication module in the design of the simulator. The Wi-Fi interface was originally intended for connecting to computer networks (including Internet access), but more recently it has also been used for direct connection between different devices, without using a network. The specific features implemented using this module may be different. So, some simulators are able to interact with training programs installed on tablets and smartphones and transmit information to such programs about the details of the training (distance traveled, calories burned, etc.), others allow you to update the firmware or change the settings remotely, etc. .P.
— USB connector. USB itself is a universal interface designed to connect external peripherals to a computer or other control device. Actually, for the same purpose it is used in modern simulators; but the specific application in different models may be different. So, USB can be used to connect heart rate sensors and other specialized accessories, to play music and/or video from external media (for example, “flash drives”), to update the firmware using the same media, etc.
— TV tuner. The presence in the design of the simulator of a TV tuner — a device designed to receive television broadcasts. This function is useful for those who would like to be able to watch their favorite TV programs, series, etc. right in the process of training: usually, models with TV tuners also have colour displays and speakers (see below), which allows you to watch the broadcast directly on the simulator. However you need to remember that tuners can be designed for different broadcast standards; therefore, before purchasing a model with this function, it is advisable to make sure that it is compatible with local TV broadcasts.
— mini-Jack 3.5 mm (Aux). The 3.5 mm mini-Jack (Aux) connector is designed to connect an MP3 player or a smartphone/tablet. Thanks to this, it is possible to output a sound signal from multimedia devices to the speakers built into the orbitrek. Some models may additionally have a mini-Jack connector for connecting headphones. The sound output to the headphones will allow you to train to your favorite music without disturbing other users in the same room as you.
— Speakers. The presence in the design of the orbitrek of its own speakers. They can play music, the sound of a movie playing on the display (see "Colour display"), as well as various service messages — for example, a warning about exceeding the maximum heart rate.
— Tablet stand. Allows you to securely and safely mount a tablet with almost any screen size on the orbit track. Thanks to this, the user can enjoy watching TV shows or movies directly during training. Usually, the stand is located under the main screen of the simulator. Advanced class models are often equipped with a stand with the ability to adjust the angle of the tablet.
The type of food used in the orbit track.
— Network. Powered by a standard 230 V power supply (in other words, a regular home outlet). Such power allows you not to worry about replacing or recharging "dead" batteries — the simulator will work as long as there is light in the house. In addition, it is suitable for simulators with any load system, even electromagnetic (for more details, see "Load System"), while such models are much cheaper than similar generator ones (see below). The main disadvantages in this case are the dependence on the outlet and the need to use a network cable, which can limit mobility and get in the way. However, in most cases, these shortcomings do not cause significant inconvenience.
— Battery. The orbitrek is powered by replaceable accumulators or batteries. The main advantage is the complete battery life of the simulator — it can be installed anywhere without worrying about the presence of sockets and laying the network wire. On the other hand, the battery power is very limited, and they are only suitable for simulators with non-volatile load systems (mechanical or magnetic, see "Load System" for more details), where only the computer needs power. In addition, the battery life is not infinite, and they need to be changed or recharged periodically (and in the case of batteries, only changed).
— Built-in generator. The...orbitrek is powered by its own built-in generator, which is driven by the rotation of the flywheel. In other words, when using such a model, the user himself generates the energy required for work. To turn on the generator simulator, it is enough to turn the flywheel several times. This type of food combines the advantages of the two above. On the one hand, it is autonomous, on the other hand, it has sufficient power even to provide energy to electromagnetic load systems (for more details, see "Load System"). Yes, and you won’t have to change anything, unlike batteries, because. the service life of the generator is comparable to the service life of the simulator itself. At the same time, this feature significantly increases the weight, and most importantly, the cost of the orbit track, and therefore is found only in premium-class models.
The dimensions of the equipment in the assembled and ready to work state. It is important to note that in fact more space is needed for comfortable and proper operation of the simulator.
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