Does a Curved Treadmill Provide More Benefits Than a Regular One?
You may have seen a curved treadmill if you’ve been to a health club in the last few years. And you probably thought to yourself…hmm that looks pretty cool…I wonder if I should use that one instead?
Chances are the treadmill in question is the Woodway Curve, one of the most popular and unique cardio machines to hit the market in quite some time. There are others, including the TrueForm Runner and SpeedFit, but Woodway is the most popular. The curved treadmills are more common in gym settings than residential, but some people love them so much they buy one for the home. Let’s go through some of the benefits and drawbacks of these machines.
Benefits of the Curved Treadmill
Perhaps the biggest benefit of these treadmills is the fact that there is no motor, so you have none of the problems and costs associated with this component. So it is a green treadmill, completely self-powered…the faster you move, the faster the belt moves. As you slow down the belt slows down with you. So you avoid all of the headaches and additional costs.
It also offers health benefits. Taking the Woodway Curve as an example, you can burn up to 30% more calories than you can on a traditional treadmill. Since it is manual, you are in complete control of your speed and motion, allowing you to determine exactly how you want to accelerate and decelerate, as opposed to waiting for the machine to reach a certain speed. You can do interval, sport specific, weight loss and any other training with more efficiency and ideal biomechanics.
Another benefit of the curved treadmill is the fact that you don’t need to push any buttons to increase or decrease the speed. So you can just concentrate on your workout, instead of fumbling around with buttons. And the belts tend to last much longer, requiring much less maintenance. They also tend to be more compact, and the fact they are self powered means you can place them anywhere you’d like.
Drawbacks of the Curved Treadmill
Although you can save money on electricity, the purchase price of these treadmills puts them out of reach for most of us. The Woodway Curve, for example, starts at around $6,000 before the software updates. As a frame of reference, some of our best high end treadmill picks are about half that price. The Woodway Curve XL model is around $10,000. So if you want one of these for your home you are probably better off with a refurbished model.
Another drawback is the fact that the belts can be very narrow, making them not as comfortable for larger users. The running surface on the Curve is only 17″ wide, narrower than the typical 20″. Same is true of the TrueForm Runner and the SpeedFit ProXL…they both have a 17″ width as well. So that is something to consider. The Woodway Curve XL has a wider belt, but again, it’s $10,000!
Something else to consider is that the curved treadmills are very bare bones. You typically get a very basic console, with the relevant workout stats such as distance, time, calories, etc. But that’s about it. You don’t get internet, touch screens, music compatibility, accessory or tablet holder, workout fans or any of the other features/comforts that you do on a traditional treadmill.
This may not matter to serious athletes who are only concerned with getting a great workout. But for many of us, those other features are important as well, as they help keep us motivated to work out every day.
So What’s the Bottom Line?
As you can see, a curved treadmill has its benefits and drawbacks. You do save on electricity, you do get a more effective workout, you can place them anywhere and they tend to be maintenance free. However, they are very expensive, the belts tend to be narrow, and they lack many of the features and capabilities that we have come to expect/enjoy on traditional models.
So it’s a matter of weighing the good and the bad when it comes to buying a self propelled treadmill. Your best bet is to try one out at your local gym next time you go, and see how it feels. If you absolutely love the workout and you can afford it, by all means go for it.