The best hybrid treadmills include cardio machines that add another dimension to the traditional experience.
The most popular models are the Bowflex TreadClimbers, which are essentially a treadmill, elliptical and stepper all in one.
Why do some people prefer these hybrids? The main reason is that they offer a very effective workout without the need to run or jog. You can burn significantly more calories in the same amount of time on a TreadClimber than you can on a treadmill, elliptical trainer or step machine.
Also, these hybrid treadmills minimize impact on your knees and joints, which makes them a great option for rehabilitation, older users or just those that want a low impact workout.
Any of the models below are great for a calorie burning, sweat inducing workout, so it’s just a matter of choosing the one that appeals most to you.
Why Are Hybrid Cardio Machines So Popular?
Hybrid machines are really picking up steam these days, as they give people the ability to train different muscle groups and really change up their workouts, without having to use multiple cardio machines as in the past.
All of the major brands are getting into the hybrid game. NordicTrack has its popular FreeStride Trainers, ProForm has its Hybrid and new HIIT Trainers, Sole Fitness has its Steppers and Striders and Precor has its Adaptive Motion Trainers.
All of these exercise machines offer some combination of a treadmill, elliptical and stepper, allowing you to vary your workout from one day to the next, and helping you maximize your results.
The Bowflex TreadClimbers are the closest to an actual treadmill experience of all of them, which is why we feature them here on our best hybrid treadmill page.
These machines look like a very compact traditional treadmill with the belt cut right down the middle. The display looks the same, and you have the arm bars to hold onto while you train.
Other Hybrid Cardio Machine Choices For You
Besides the popular Bowflex TreadClimbers, the company also makes the Max Trainer which is an elliptical/stepper combo and the new LateralX machine, adding a lateral element to the typical elliptical motion.
The NordicTrack FreeStride Trainers are ellipticals with more open stride lengths so you can actually stretch out and run like you are on a treadmill. On the more commercial end, Precor has its Adaptive Motion Trainers which are essentially club quality versions of the FreeStride Trainers.
So you really have a lot of choice when it comes to cardio equipment these days. You can go with the traditional treadmill, elliptical or stepper, or you can choose a machine that combines the elements of two or even three of these machines.
Which Hybrid Machine Should You Choose?
If you’re in the market for something a little different than your everyday treadmill, then definitely take a look at the Bowflex TreadClimbers if you want something as close to a treadmill as possible.
Note however that the maximum speed is only 4.5 mph on the up-level TC200 and 4.0 mph on the entry level TC100.
So these are strictly walker’s machines. If you want something you can stretch out on and run or jog on, then consider a FreeStride Trainer or Adaptive Motion Trainer.
If you’re more into an elliptical/stepper type machine, then the Bowflex Max Trainer is a very good compact choice.
Just note that these hybrid treadmills take some time to get used to, especially if you’ve never used something like it before. But most people find that they get accustomed to the motion after a short period of time.
Hybrid cardio machines are definitely here to stay, and there will be new combinations on the horizon for sure.