Burn the Most Calories on the Arc Trainer

How to Burn More Calories with the Cybex Arc Trainer

Are you a “cardio bunny?” The tongue-in-cheek phrase is often used to refer to those who work out on cross trainers at a high speed but low resistance. Though some gym-goers dismiss these exercisers in favor increasing resistance instead of speed, the "cardio bunnies" might be on to something.

Studying Calorie Burn

The Cybex Research Institute sought to answer which results in the greatest calorie burn – using the Arc Trainer at a low resistance/high speed, or a high resistance/low speed.

To study this, we brought in a group of exercisers and asked them to work out at a constant power output, but with different combinations of resistance and step rate.

As we’ve examined in the past, power is a function of force and velocity. That means that we can maintain the same power level on the Arc Trainer by manipulating both the resistance and the speed.

What did we find? 

Interestingly, exercisers burned the most calories when they maintained a high speed and low resistance. These findings suggest that, for those concerned with calorie burn, it might be wise to focus on keeping a high cadence on the Arc Trainer.

Next time you are on the Arc, keep an eye on your steps per minute (SPM) and try to maintain a fast (150 SPM, or higher) speed.

To learn more about the research, “The Energy Cost of Cross Training at a Constant Power Varies with User Cadence,” read the abstract here.

Discover even more reasons why the Arc Trainer is the best non-impact cross trainer. Learn why the Arc Trainer burns more calories and try out this HIIT workout on the Arc Trainer.


Get the facts on non-impact cardio trainers. Discover which cross trainer aced "The Ultimate Fitness Test." Download your copy now.



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) -

  • Thom Pesce

    9/16/2016 7:57:06 AM |

    I need information for older individuals, 65 to 80 years old, about using the arc trainer for the maximum calorie burn and health benefits. Can you  please forward any information relating to this topic. All of your emails are very helpful and informative but I do not see much for older individuals.

  • Reinaldo Lopez

    10/10/2017 12:41:54 PM |

    Dear Cory,
    Great article Cory ! This what I preach with the runners I train. Any good training tip for runners suffering from Patellar Tendonitis ?
    Your Friend Reinaldo

  • Duncan Lawrence

    5/14/2018 4:55:42 PM |

    I reached out to Cory for some tips:

    Rest is obviously the number one recommendation - but I know your runners will not want to hear that! I'm assuming that they will have some program of strength training to rehabilitate the injury. For cardiovascular conditioning during this period, I would suggest using the Arc Trainer at Low Inclines (0-4) and Low Resistances to see what can be tolerated. This should be minimal stress, and allow the runner to recover. To progress, you can increase to mid-range inclines (4-10) and increase the resistance/wattage. Finally, carefully introduce running in small doses.

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