The ARC Trainer is a workout machine that you can use in lieu of an elliptical trainer for a low-impact workout. The original machine, manufactured by the Cybex Company, is found in gyms. But you can purchase a smaller version for home use. You’re also likely to find the smaller version in hotels and spas.
The ARC trainer resembles an elliptical trainer or a stair stepper, but its motion is different from both. It combines the motion of a hiker, climber and skier. The motion pattern is designed to balance your direction of force in front of your hip and behind your knee. It has a 23-inch stride length.
The ARC trainer is designed to primarily engage your glute and quadriceps muscles. Product literature says this maximizes your calorie burn. The device also engages your arms, and lets you choose workouts that emphasize your upper body.
The ARC reduces your perceived discomfort and effort when compared to an equal intensity workout on an elliptical trainer, says M.J. Turner, lead author for a 2010 study published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.” Cybex claims the ARC's "un-elliptical" movement pattern allows your legs to move in a biomechanically correct motion. It’s also designed to minimize strain on your back and hips.
The ARC trainer has 11 incline levels. It has quick start and manual workout options as well as 10 preset programs. The preset programs each have 10 levels that control resistance and incline. The machine keeps track of your heart rate, calories burned, time and distance. It has a maximum user weight of 300 lbs.