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Letter Q


I'm 72 years old and had a torn miniscus repaired this past July. My quads need to build strength. Which is better for my needs: elliptical or cross trainer?    

- Gus Cawley

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Dear Mr. Cawley:
If quadriceps strengthening is your goal, then you should first consider strength training exercises, such as leg press or leg extension. Keep in mind that meniscal injuries are susceptible to compressive loading at the knee joint, so proceed carefully with your strengthening, so as not to exacerbate your injury.  
The Arc Trainer may be a helpful addition to your regimen. First, it is capable of generating higher workloads, so it can actually contribute to lower body strength. Some recent research studies have shown improvements in squatting strength and muscular endurance as measured on a leg press.  
In addition, you can modify the range of motion at your knee during your exercise. Decreasing the incline on the Arc Trainer will reduce the total flexion at your knee, which you may find more comfortable. Lastly, if you still want to reduce the loading effect at your knee, you can lower the resistance, and even “cheat” the exercise by entering a body weight which is lower than your actual weight. Since the resistance on the Arc Trainer is adjusted according to body weight, a lower weight will result in less resistance. You can then gradually increase the weight setting, or workload, to suit your tolerance to the exercise.  
I hope you find this helpful - and good luck with your rehabilitation.  
Paul M. Juris, Ed.D. 
Executive Director, CYBEX Research Institute


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I am suffering from patellofemoral syndrome in my knees and wanted to know if I could use an ARC Trainer instead of a treadmill to do my training for a half-marathon I'm signed up for in late June.  I am hoping to use this for the next 1 1/2 to 2 months to give my knees a break.

- Allison  [post from Runner's World]

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Dear Allison,

Several case studies have shown that distance runners even sprinters have improved their cardiovascular capacity and even running speed from using the Arc Trainer, so it is certainly an excellent option to help you prepare for your half-marathon.  That, in combination with your therapy, will help with your patellofemoral pain syndrome until, and even after, you get back to running.

Here’s some additional advice for using the Arc Trainer.  First, patellofemoral pain syndrome is exacerbated by higher knee flexion angles, so you’re better off lowering the incline setting on the Arc.  This will have two benefits; first, it will decrease your knee joint angle, reducing compressive loading at the patellofemoral joint; second, it will increase hip muscle activation (your glutes and hamstrings), and thus will help with the propulsive phase of gait.  Also, you can actively push through the balls of your feet in order to enhance plantar flexion.

When you’re creating your workouts, think about setting up sessions in a similar fashion to your running workouts.  In other words, you can do longer duration, steady state workouts, and you can also do speed work.  The Arc Trainer is excellent for high intensity interval training.  If you have access to a 750 series Arc, ask someone about Adaptive Power Training.  It will really help you push yourself, but it’s also very accommodating, so you’ll never feel overworked, and recovery will be relatively easy.

If you have any other questions, please let us know.

Paul M. Juris, Ed.D. 
Executive Director, CYBEX Research Institute


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Questions may be featured in future editions of CYBEX ANSWERS or responded to directly by our experts.  


Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. As always, be sure to consult a physician if you are unsure of your individual exercise readiness or have a pre-existing medical condition. While these programs offer great benefits, there are many considerations that should be weighed before attempting any type of physical activity.

Comments (4) -

  • Reinaldo Lopez

    4/27/2017 3:17:08 PM |

    I have developed a bad case of Shin Splits on my left leg. Is the Cybex Arc Trainer a good option ? What level of elevation and resistance I should use ? I am training for a triathlon in 3 months and I cannot run.

  • Joe Narron

    8/30/2017 8:56:57 PM |

    Just recently discovered the Arc Trainer the 1st of August. Noticed it looked different and nobody was using I tried it and think it's a great machine. But, nearing the end of August I began to develop right hip abductor/flexor pain. I'm 45 and have ran for years but wanted something new and was hoping the Arc Trainer was the answer. Any ideas about the hip pain? Wrong posture, incline? I don't want to give up please advise. Thanks Joe

  • Duncan Lawrence

    5/14/2018 4:53:47 PM |

    In our experience, the Arc Trainer is a great option for those suffering from Shin Splints to get an effective cardiovascular workout. The said, everyone and every body is different, so carefully monitor the injury and be willing to stop any activity that causes significant pain in the affected area.

  • Duncan Lawrence

    5/14/2018 4:54:08 PM |

    Even with more information about you and your training/injury history, diagnosing an injury is quite difficult, especially from the internet! In general, an injury arises when you do subject a part of the body to more stress than it is capable of handling. Even in a relatively low-stress environment, an injury can occur (think carpal tunnel syndrome from typing too much!). We would suggest consulting a medical professional, who will probably advise a period of rest and a gradual return to physical activity as you recover. Best of luck!

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