A treadmill can be a great way to burn calories, shed those extra lbs, and get in shape – all from the comfort of your own home. But with so many different types of treadmill to choose from, it can be difficult to know which type is best for your fitness goals.
If you’ve already been doing some research on the subject, you might already be thinking about a curved treadmill – but are curved treadmills better for running? In this guide, we’re going to go over the differences between a curved treadmill and a motor treadmill, so you can make the choice that suits your fitness journey the best. Let’s get started!
What is a curved treadmill?
A curved treadmill is a manual, non-electric treadmill that uses only the power of your legs to function. While this may sound intimidating, some runners find that a curved treadmill is actually easier on the joints, and more effective to use overall.
Curved treadmill vs. motor treadmill: what’s the difference?
The main difference bewteen a curved treadmill and a motor treadmill is that a curved treadmill is 100% manual. Rather than using the power of electricity, you run on a curved treadmill using only the force of your own bodyweight.
Benefits of using a curved treadmill
So, what makes a curved treadmill a good choice for your at-home workout? Here are just a few reasons why curved treadmills are incredibly popular amongst long-time runners:
Friendly on the joints
If you’re a seasoned runner, you’ll already know that certain motor treadmills can be quite hard on the joints. However, a curved treadmill might just be the best option if you’re looking to protect your knees and legs during your workout. Unlike a motor treadmill, a curved treadmill allows you to run on the machinery with the same force as an outdoor run – without the same collision with outdoor concrete.
This is because motor treadmills propel you forward, which helps take some of the weight off your body, in turn making your workout easier on your joints. However, this can mean a slower pace, and less intense athletic performance. A curved treadmill is essentially the best of both worlds: it allows you to run at your own pace as if you were outdoors, without damaging your joints in the way that outdoor running does.
Dynamic muscle engagement
Another great thing about curved treadmills is the capacity for dynamic muscle engagement. As we just explained above, when you’re running on a motor treadmill, the machine does part of the work for you. As your legs are propelled forward by the machine, you’re not required to engage all the muscles in your legs, and often end up relying heavily on your quads to power you through your workout.
Not only can this lead to muscle fatigue, but you’re not getting in a dynamic leg workout. Unlike a motor treadmill, a curved treadmill allows you to run as you would on any natural terrain, engaging all your leg muscles and even your glute muscles. This makes for a harder workout, better results, and better overall muscle balance in your body.
Higher calorie burn
One downside of a motor treadmill is that your calorie burn isn’t as high as it would be if you were running outdoors. This is easy to explain: outdoor running demands a lot more vigour, as you’ll be required to run over different terrains, in varying extreme weather conditions. In an air-conditioned gym, you’re less likely to vary your pace, and more likely to finish your workout with a lower overall calorie burn.
While a curved treadmill can’t compensate for weather changes, it can give you an experience more similar to that of an outdoor run, giving it an edge over its motorised rival. Without a motor propelling you forward and supporting your body as you run and carry out your workout, you’re required to work twice as hard. With the possibility of adding HIIT and interval training to a curved treadmill routine, your potential for calorie burn is significantly higher, making it perfect for runners looking to shift some excess weight. (Make sure to always speak with a medical professional before embarking on any weight loss programme.)
Control your speed
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of a curved treadmill is in the ability of the user to set their own speed. Instead of choosing a pre-set speed on the treadmill (which can be limiting) the runner is able to simply workout at a speed that feels the most natural for their fitness capabilities. This makes it easier for you to push yourself and understand your own running capacity, so you can increase the intensity at a level that works best for you.
Is a curved treadmill right for me?
Like any piece of fitness equipment, there are a couple of downsides to the curved treadmill. If you’re wondering whether or not this treadmill type is best for your fitness goals and preferred workout methods, here are a couple of disadvantages to using this machine:
Lack of incline
One of the best ways to improve your performance on a motor treadmill is to use the incline feature. The incline feature is great for HIIT and interval training, and adds a challenging dimension to any workout. Unfortunately, there’s very little in way of incline options on a curved treadmill. If you enjoy an incline workout, this might not be the best machine for you.
Larger than a motor treadmill
Another disadvantage of a curved treadmill is its size: this type of treadmill tends to take up a lot more space than your average motor model. If you live in a small home or have limited space for equipment, a motorised option may be the more practical choice.
Overall, if you’re looking for a running experience that mimics an outdoor run as much as possible, a curved treadmill is likely your best option. With higher calorie burn and more extensive potential for HIIT and intensity training, it’s the ideal choice for those looking to test their endurance and get results fast.