What about the Treadmill? How efficient is it?

Next on the list is the most popular of all cardio machines, the treadmill. This has to be the most used fitness machine of alltreadmill-3101time. I would believe the bike as well but I think the treadmill is still king of the cardio equipment. There are literally hundreds of different models from manufacturers all over the world. You can find them for as cheap as $100.00 and they can get real expensive, sometimes as much as $10,000.00.

It is hard to argue that running is one of, if not the best cardiovascular training you can do. Some other time we will go over the various types of cardio. For now see if you can do better than running for ease of availability, calories burned, health and muscular benefits.

treadmillSo how well does running on a treadmill stack up to its real life counterpart, running outdoors. On the surface they would appear to be the exact same thing. Running is running right? Well yes fundamentally they are the same thing, running on a treadmill and running on another surface. Here are two major differences that can have some serious impact on how your muscular system responds to the stimulus of a treadmill.

First, when you are out running on the road the road is not moving at you. I know this sounds simple enough but how much does this change the impact into the joints to have the surface you are running on come at you? In my opinion it will change it quite a bit. The force of impact when the heel hits the deck of the treadmill will be greater than when it hits a stationary object such as the street. This is one of the main reasons why most quality treadmills now come with a flexible deck so when the heel does strike the treadmill it has a natural give to it. This is designed to help with this shock absorption upon impact. In theory this is a good thing but now you are running on a bouncy surface which will also impact the way your muscular system will respond to the running.

Second the machine determines your stride length. This is my least favorite part of the treadmill is that it produces a stride that may or may not be exactly what your hips need to improve your overall running efficiency. Trying to set a speed on the treadmill to match a stride you would normally want to run at is not as precise as it should be. Too often you are running and then you start to hit a good stride that your efficiency in your hips is able to produce and so you notice you are nearly running into the bar across the front of the treadmill. If you were outside you would simply accelerate without even realizing it. I understand you can increase the speed on the treadmill at this point but I still do not believe it is the same.

These 2 issues not withstanding I still would say that a treadmill is without a doubt on of the better cardiovascular machines. It does do a decent job of replicating it non machine counterpart. Next up we will go over a few exercises to help you get the most out of your treadmill training.

5 Comments on this post


  1. Choosing the Best Option for Cardio Machines wrote:

    […] of various levels of efficiency. On of the most common and more popular pieces of cardio, the treadmill is the one we received the most response to. This is a great tool for runners to take advantage of […]

    January 15th, 2010 at 9:48 pm
  1. Ben said:

    I have a third reason:
    A sidewalk won’t send you flying into the innocent exerciser behind you.

    March 23rd, 2009 at 4:40 pm
  2. Scott said:

    Very true! There is that factor. If you have not seen this happen in person it needs to go on your bucket list. Truly one of the simple pleasures in life, watching someone fall face first, then be flung backwards of the treadmill.

    March 24th, 2009 at 6:00 am
  3. Joe the Trainer said:

    But you can do this on treadmills…maybe it should be added to the positives:

    March 24th, 2009 at 10:03 am
  4. Scott said:

    True I did leave that out but is that really a positive? I do need some of those outfits for sure

    March 24th, 2009 at 4:44 pm


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