Rehab - cross trainer?: Just curious... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Rehab - cross trainer?

Calliope153 profile image

Just curious - I;ve been doing cardiac rehab stage four for about eight months. Do fine on the bike and the rowing machine but the cross trainer sends my heart rate high and I end up feeling really ill. Don't usually go near it but today it was the only thing free and the lady of 84 beside me going faster than I was was 86 heart rate - I was 116 and climbing.... even holding the rests and not moving arms didn;t help to lower it. Any one any explanation as to why this should happen?

16 Replies

From a purely logical stand point, there appears very little between them however, my Achilles heal is the treadmill, especially if it is the machine I am using towards the end of the session. Were you using the cross trainer towards the end of your session with your heart purely peaking during a quite stressful routine? I know we are all different and the way in which we have lived our lives can influence the stress any one event with the example I have upper body and core strength but do not do a huge amount of walking which makes me weaker on the treadmill. I really don't think there is too much to worry about and you could test my theory by attacking the cross trainer first. Good luck - and don't be forced to do something you do not like doing! Keep the effort going but change the Achilles heal

Calliope153 profile image
Calliope153 in reply to

It was at the very beginning of the gym bit after the warm up - it was so busy today it was the only thing left in the leisure centre. I managed to get a bike quite quickly once i got off the cross trainer- did puppy eyes until a nice young man let me have the one he was on. I wondered if the arm resistance stressed the chest or something like that .....thanks for the reply though.

in reply to Calliope153

Could it have been the nice young man and not the cross trainer that raised the blood pressure?

Calliope153 profile image
Calliope153 in reply to


in reply to Calliope153

I do find I can get raised BP for many reasons - some times just because there are a lot of people at the gym and cannot get on with my routine and put his down to stress levels - I do suffer from this! You really do have to become your own health detective and make an analysis of how you feel at any one time. My fears have also been around chest pains, always spontaneous, always towards the heart side of my chest and over time associate this with a hard and unexpected sneeze or a cough or trying to do something that requires some super strength of the chest. I had these often after the operation and know they have dropped of in recent months and I believe, quite rightly, that they are associated with my chest healing. Now that six months have passed I still am surprised and frightened by the pain that only lasts for a very few seconds and always associated with a strain. I do fret but discuss this with myself and then move on and tell myself not to be a drama queen! I think this type of worry, like your BP affects us all - if you are really concerned and cannot find a friendlier issue, you should discuss the issue with your GP

Hi I can’t use cross trainer as it does same to me. It’s just a very high intensity machine I think. I just avoid it. My thighs used to seize up on it in less than a minute. By the time I got it going I was knackered🤣🤣

Calliope153 profile image
Calliope153 in reply to Shoshov

thank you - so not just me then!

Shoshov profile image
Shoshov in reply to Calliope153

Definately not. Keep up the good work ❤️shiona

laura_dropstitch profile image
laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to Shoshov

I've had similar experiences with the cross-trainer. I do use it now but take it quite slow and easy compared to other equipment and don't stay on for long. You can only do what feels right to you, I think. And I agree with other replies re not knowing other people's circumstances, so do try not to let someone else's apparent ease stress you out. I'm guilty of comparing myself to other gym users too - always have to give myself a stern talking to. Ha! Good luck with your ongoing rehab x

thanks - I don;t think I am really cut out to be a geriatric gym bunny somehow!

In comparison to a rower or bike it’s a fully weight bearing exercise, vs a seated exercise. The heart is having to contend against gravity as well as exertion, hence HR increase.

The lady next to you may have had it set on a different resistance (so looked to be going fast but little muscular exertion required, just like freewheeling a bike downhill, so a lower HR), or she could have been on meds that limit her HR etc, so no point comparing, just focus on your own HR and how you feel (talk test etc)

Thank you - this makes sense

The job of a cross trainer is to raise your heart beat. How high it goes depends on you. Slow down. In gyms its easy to try and compete with others. Just do what you need. As you use it more and your body gets used to its action you will find it gets easier. But be careful. If you cannot get in with it don't use it. I don't like it's action so don't use it. I do other exercises and am fitter at 65 than I have ever been. Use it but slowly build up. Don't use it and use something else doesn't mean you are not getting fit.

Calliope153 profile image
Calliope153 in reply to Andyman

Thank you for this.

Hi Calliope. I'm still in stage 3 (hospital rehab) where I've failed to progress to stage 4 because my HR goes too high when I walk fast. However, they are happy for me to use the gym as long as I'm sensible and keep an eye on my HR. So I've been cycling, and got back on the rower last week for the first time (I was worried about that, but HR stayed down), but I know that if I got on the XTrainer my HR would immediately rocket, so I avoid that, and go for walks instead.

Good luck xx

I walk every day too - and in total achieve a minimum of 180 mins a week of exercise. Recently I have been struggling as so tired all the time. Long saga short - found out today that my iron levels are really, really low. Always something.....

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