Why curved treadmills are not just a sleek design
There has been some serious innovation happening in the world of treadmill development. While regular motorised treadmills have been gym staples for years, there are some new kids on the block that could challenge the way you train.
Curved treadmills have a concave shape, so the ends of the stepping area curve upwards. They don’t have motors. Instead they are powered by footfall only. This natural connection of a runner’s pace and the speed of the movement mimics road running conditions closely. Running closer to the forward arc can also increase speed. Some models have an additional resistance option on the control panel.
If you’ve ever switched from a predominantly road-based routine to a treadmill session, you will have noticed that the pace and effort required varies significantly. Because the curved treadmill is operated in a similar fashion to road running, there may be less transition required, but those used to regular treadmills will need to adjust their strides.
The curved treadmills ask much more of users than traditional motorised ones. Detailed studies have shown runners on curved treadmills need to work about 30% harder to maintain a similar pace. This could lend itself to shorter training sessions if runners are looking for cardio supplementation, or a more appropriate wet-weather training option to mimic outdoor sessions.
Curved treadmills offer a boon to runners training for races with hills. The gradient of the new models mimics a hill gradient of around 8% and promotes corresponding development of muscle groups traditionally worked during hill climbs. This gradient has another effect on runners, too. If you are used to training on a traditional treadmill, don’t worry if you notice an approximate 20% drop in pace speed. The difference in the mechanics will reduce your pace overall but will easily give you an equivalent work out when comparing effort, heart rate, and oxygen uptake.
Keep an eye out for curved treadmills at your local gym. While they may not completely replace traditional motorised treadmills, they will offer a challenging and novel alternative that should yield both variety and improved training results over time.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.