I am writing this review because another writer at epinions asked me what I thought of Hot Cross Buns by Proform. I asked some friends if anyone had one or knew of someone who had one. A friend of another personal trainer has one and let me use it. I tried it for a couple of days in one week, told the other writer what I thought and now will let you know. First of all this machine goes by a variety of names but they are all one and the same. You may see it as Hot Cross Buns Thigh Trainer, Hot Cross Buns Cross Trainer Stepper, Hot Cross Buns Lateral Trainer or Hot Cross Buns Multi-Dimensional Total-Body Twist.
Recommend this product?
What is this machine:
Hot Cross Buns is called a stepper but it is non-traditional. It is not an elliptical machine which slides forward and often backward.
It claims to tone the buttocks, hips, thighs (one workout), firm and flatten your abdominal muscles including your oblique muscles which are on your sides (2nd workout), tone your upper body including your back (3rd workout) and burn fat with cardio vascular benefits (4th workout). If you read that it is 4 workouts in 1 this is what they are talking about.
In addition as you see in one of the titles we are told that the multi-dimensional total body twist works every muscle (back, abs, quadriceps- upper thighs) with each step. Hot Cross Buns claims to be a side stepper, stair master, lat machine and ab cruncher all in one. That is a lot of machine power and all for $200.
The machine is 32 inches long by 40 inches wide by 57 inches high. This is not a huge machine making it desirable if you lack space. The maximum weight for the user is 250 pounds. I have been on other machines with that weight limit but I found Hot Cross Buns to be less stable than others. It only weight 60 pounds. If you are close to 250 I would not even consider it. There are suction type cups on the bottom ends that help keep it in place.
It requires assembly. Assembly I was told is not terribly difficult. It is a fairly simple machine. It took this woman less than an hour to put it together.
The frame is under warranty forever; if someone has to come to your house to fix it for mechanical reasons the labor is under warranty for 90 days.
In addition you will get a 30-day trial period. If you are not satisfied in that time frame, the machine will be picked up and the company will pay for the return shipping. Your order will be refunded for all charges less the initial shipping charge. This is very enticing. I am sure they are banking on the fact that once people get it and use it, they may realize that for the price it is worth keeping.
I will take you on a ride:
of the machine by taking you on a workout with me. The first thing I noticed about the machine as I approached it was how simple it looked. The second thing I noticed were the pedals. They were nice and big. Many steppers have small pedals. My feet do not fit on them. They are not designed that way. Hot Cross Buns have pedals that are not only large but have an edge around them. In addition the edge on the front of the pedal is nice because it kept my feet in nice and securely. I never felt as if my feet would slip off the pedals.
I noticed the handles that are in a good position. They are easy to reach and comfortable to hold. The handles move which many people like. My personal preference is not to work my upper body when I am doing a cardio workout. Having moving arms is unnecessary for me. I really do not think the moving arms on any machine give enough of an upper body workout to replace weight training and that is very true of Hot Cross Buns.
One fairly major problem with Hot Cross Buns is that unlike other machines with moving arms, Hot Cross Buns has no side handles to hold onto if you do not want to use the arms. The benefit to this is that you will work your oblique muscles a bit more by not holding on. The negative is that your balance has to be pretty good or this could be somewhat dangerous.
I got on the machine and looked at the console. This is not one you can program to do hills, or a random program. It has an easy to read LCD display that shows time, time elapsed, the strides I took, and the calories I burned. Machines do not get much simpler than this which is fine. I have no problem with that especially for $200. There is no cup holder or magazine rack. I do not have a problem with the lack of a magazine rack but I hate not to have water within easy reach.
I have to talk a bit about how you adjust the resistance levels on the Hot Cross Buns. I have been thinking of what to compare it with. It uses a tension knob which is on the main frame. You have 10 levels of resistance. I found the resistance to be adequate and got a good workout at the higher numbers.
What is this tension knob? Some stationary bikes have them although they are rarely seen in the cardio vascular room of a gym. Where they are seen is in a spinning class. A spinning class is a class that uses stationary bikes to workout on but with music and an instructor leading me on. Since spinning classes move quickly and participants work at their own pace, the tension knob comes in really handy. Also every spin class I have been in has been dark. The lights are off with just dim lighting so using a tension knob (a knob that twists the more you twist the more resistance I get) rather than trying to see arrows to increase tension works quite well.
The placement of this tension knob is ridiculous. It should be really, really easily accessible. The ones I am used to are at the base of the handlebars. The one on the Hot Cross Buns is not. It is on the frame and not within easy reach. I had to bend to change the resistance. Given there are no side handles this can be really challenging and I would only recommend that the young whose bones do not break as easily when you fall buy this if anyone buys it which leads me to using the product itself.
What it is like:
I find steppers to be the most challenging workout of any cardio vascular machine. Hot Cross Buns is easier and more user friendly than traditional steppers. That is the good news. The bad news is the design of the machine. In theory it sounds wonderful. What could be bad about going in all directions with a gently twist while working your arms? A lot. This machine does not move up and down like a stepper so I did not feel the same workout in my glutes (buttock area) as I do on a traditional stepper. It moves down to the left and down to the right. The fact that it is moving in those directions is the reason that ProForm can claim that it works your abs and back. It does force a slight twisting motion and since the handles are moved at the same time my back gets some work.
I found the way the steps move inward uncomfortable on my knees and I actually did not like the constant twisting motion although I can see if it is done long enough and for enough time and days there may be some benefits in your oblique area. I do not advocate twisting for an hour however unless you are trying to set a record for doing The Twist (Some of you may remember that dance.) In fact that is a good way to describe Hot Cross Buns it is like doing the twist.
After about one half hour I wanted to put my arms down. They were tired of holding the arms of the machine. There was no place to put them and I was quite frustrated. Still I continued and tried it again but my assessment was the same.
My final thoughts:
I think that Hot Cross Buns is being sold at a fantastic price. As they say you get what you pay for. I feel that this machine is flimsy and inadequate.
The lack of a cup holder is just the beginning. You should never do cardio vascular work or resistance training without drinking a lot of water. Having no arms; no easy access to resistance, and feeling dizzy after being twisted for an hour makes this a below average. As I said to the reviewer, it will increase your heart rate. There may be a market for it. If you are young, put the resistance at 10, do not mind not having water, and pull on the handle bars hard enough to feel your back working, maybe you want to give it a try. You can return it. I would never say never with the return policy that is given. Personally I would not recommend it though as a long term addition to your home gym.
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