Type + Target Audience
Treadmills have grown more and more popular in recent years, and that growth is reflected in the diverse range of options available to you - one size no longer fits all.
If you’re looking for a comfortable, straightforward workout, you’ll be looking at different treadmills to the ambitious runner. If you’re not looking to train in pyramid sessions, you probably don’t need features like electronic control of your gradient, as you can often set this manually before you start your workout. If you’re a beginner when it comes to indoor running, it’s also important to consider whether you’d prefer a folding treadmill for easy putting away or a sturdier version that’s permanently in place.
Equally, if you’re an ambitious runner, you’ll want to give everything and expect your treadmill to do the same. Therefore you’ll want a machine with a powerful motor and plenty of horsepower so you don’t finding yourself outrunning it straight away.
Space + Time
Treadmills with folding mechanisms are quickly cleared away thanks to their space-saving design, but they can often make more noise than expected. This can depend on the acoustics of the room and surface the treadmill sits on - for example, a wooden floor sounds different to a concrete one.
Also remember to consider the dimensions of your treadmill: the belt should ideally measure 130 centimeters or more in length and at least 45 inches in width. A long belt allows large, rapid strides, while more width provides greater safety. That said you should always wear well-gripped running shoes for your training and stay aware of your position and stride length on the belt, especially while getting used to a new machine.
Quality + Price
The easily stowable compact treadmill generally brings less engine power. Machines with a power of up to 1.75 hp are more suitable for walking or slow jogging. For those looking to run and race, an engine of at least 2.0 horsepower is recommended.
The more powerful machines also include software to control your training and keep your workout fresh. Until a few years ago a treadmill with heart rate monitoring was hard to get below £2000, but now there are products available in this category for less than £900. However, those looking for a high-quality machine with the endorsement of fitness clubs can still expect prices beyond £1500.
Tips + Tricks
The treadmill uses three different elements of cardio exercise to determine the intensity of your workout: how fast you want to run, how long you want to run for and how steep you want your running slope to be. The latter is key, as changing the slope gradient has a large influence on performance. The motion and drive required to conquer an incline results in a complete leg workout and helps to refine your running style. A steeper incline will also help to keep your weight on the balls of your feet instead of the heels, meaning lower impact training and greater protection for your knees.
Arm movement is equally important on the treadmill. The upper body, shoulders and arms can be trained and toned during a treadmill workout by strapping weights to your wrists or moving your arms in vertical lines as you run. This will serve to straighten up your torso and pelvis and help you maintain a healthy upright posture.