Then there’s the curved treadmill.
What makes the curved treadmill stand out is that it not only looks different, but it also feels different once you hop on it and get it going.
But the hot topic around this treadmill has been, what makes the curved treadmill better than the other models, is it worth the money? And if so, what curved treadmill benefits can you look forward to when getting this machine?
If you’re looking for answers to these questions, you have come to the right place.
I will be taking you through everything you need to know about what makes the curved treadmill worth the money and what is in it for you.
A curved treadmill; what is it and how is it different?
The name says it all, unlike most other treadmill designs, the deck on this one features a curve with a slated running surface. Hence, the curved treadmill is built to simulate the user’s natural movement as much as possible.
This allows the user to move the treadmill belt using the balls of the feet to move the belt and as a result, move their body forward.
Flat Vs curved treadmill; what’s the difference
A flat treadmill is more like taking a stroll on a flat floor surface, with no up or down movement involved. This makes it easy to maintain a fixed pace or speed.
This makes flat treadmills the perfect choice for seniors with joint or muscle issues or those who want to exercise under a desk.
The curved treadmill features a particular indentation or angle on the deck; this makes users engage their muscles more actively.
Curved treadmills and flat ones also differ in that with the former, you use your leg movement to move the track, while with the flat treadmill you can use a battery or electrically powered one.
Thus, the curved treadmill is hands down a great option if you are hell-bent on getting a more intense workout.
Why are Curved Treadmills More Difficult?
I already gave a hint on this above. It’s the manual operation of these machines that make working out on them a little harder. Unlike flat treadmills, it takes your body weight and the friction from your feet to move the belt on a curved treadmill.
Once you hop onto a curved treadmill, it might feel a bit awkward at first, more so if you are used to flat treadmills. But don’t let that get to you, all you need is a bit of practice and it will feel natural in no time.
One thing I noticed within the first few days of using a curved treadmill is that my speed depended significantly on how far up the treadmill’s curve I stepped and my overall cadence.
But the cool thing that makes this treadmill fun to use is a resistance knob that allows you to adjust the resistance as desired when using it.
However, the bottom line is that this machine will make you break a sweat, the manual design makes it tougher, and better if you want to hit hard and heavy. Combined with rowing and cycling makes your lower body workout more intense.
Why is a curved treadmill better? - Are curved treadmills worth it?
The question of whether curved treadmills are better is down to one’s preference. Sure, as we have discussed above, one of these units is sure to put your muscles through their phases.
But hey, I will leave that to you, depending on how long you want to run on the treadmill. Give a flat treadmill a try, then try the curved one, and figure out which is better for you.
Now, is a curved treadmill worth it? Research has proved this type of treadmill to be worth its salt, thanks to a study by the University of Essex School of Sport, Rehabilitation, and Exercise Science on implications for running on a curved treadmill.
Science and studies aside, a curved treadmill has proven to offer several benefits to users. Here are some of the cool ones that make this machine worth the time, money, and effort;
Users burn calories faster
The curved treadmill is touted to be more efficient at burning calories than the flat one. Well, considering you get a higher-intensity workout with this treadmill, it makes sense that you can get to burn calories faster.
And as it turns out, curved treadmills are indeed a great option if you want to go hard with calorie burning. Unlike a treadmill that gives you a head start, a curved treadmill takes more effort to get it going, and even in motion, you need to keep pushing it with your feet to keep it in the move.
If you are shooting to run after leg day and burn more calories, then the curved treadmill is your go-to machine.
It’s easier on the joints
We’re looking at more of an even-steven here, but we are looking at why a curved treadmill is worth the money so…
Yes, some professional treadmills do come with some of the most comfortable decks I’ve ever seen. But the rubber surface on a curved treadmill is hands down something else.
This design makes the treadmill great at absorbing the shock from each step, which is great for beginners, those recovering from injury, or those who just want a machine that is easier on their joints. So, the debate of treadmills are bad for your knees ends here.
Hits more muscles
If you are shooting to work more muscles, then a curved treadmill is the one you should have your eyes on. Unlike powered treadmills that don’t require you to exert force to move the belt, with a curved treadmill you have to power the track with your energy from the get-go.
A great boost in stamina and endurance
Remember, with a curved treadmill, you’ve got to keep moving to keep the belt rolling. And remember, each step requires effort and stamina, so you can bet your heart will have to work extra hard to stay in tempo with your muscle’s oxygen demand.
You will be able to give your VO2 max a significant boost and build overall stamina and endurance over time.
What muscles does a curved treadmill work?
I have already hinted at this above. Just like your average flat treadmill, the curved one works mostly on the leg and lower body muscles. More specifically, you can hit these muscles among others;
- And hamstrings
Which type of treadmill is best?
There’s no good or bad treadmill. Provided it is up to snuff in terms of construction and performance, it's good. After all, we all have varying preferences. Some people love flat treadmills more; others feel better off with curved ones.
The choice is down to your exercise goals, your experience with any of the treadmills out there, available space and pretty much what works best for you.
Is it better to go faster or longer on a treadmill?
Now that you have decided on the ideal treadmill for you, let’s look into how you can make the most out of your workout.
There are different ways to go about this, two of the major ones being either running faster or running for longer – be it on a flat or curved treadmill.
Again, there’s no set-on-stone rule on how to train on your treadmill, so I will go ahead and share the perks you can get with each. From there, I will leave the decision to you.
Why are Curved Treadmills so Expensive?
With all the hype and everything, some may feel that curved treadmills come at a high price point. But it’s not just about the hype, here are some reasons why you might see a high price tag on these machines.
The shock absorption tech
I know, I have mentioned the shock absorption feature above. While most motorized treadmills feature an outstanding 8-point shock system for excellent cushioning, the curved treadmill is on a whole different level.
The curved surface on this type of treadmill takes the comfort a notch higher by reducing the pressure points and any chance of injury.
It’s all in the curvature of the track, which helps reduce the pressure that gets transferred to the treadmill with each foot strike. This in turn reduces the reactionary force that can get transferred back to your legs.
Of course, you can bet if a treadmill has more bells and whistles, you will have to cough up some more for it – this goes for pretty much most other fitness equipment anyway.
A curved treadmill with high-quality components will give you better performance, better experience, and overall durability; but this means paying more.
High-quality running belt
One of the high-quality components of a curved treadmill includes the running belt. Give both the flat and curved treadmills a dry run and you’ll feel the difference.
The high-grade rubber that these treadmills come with features balanced elastane and polythene. This rubber combo gives you a better experience when running on the belt, and gives your machine better overall longevity.
Curved treadmills – Pros and Cons
Like any other fitness equipment, the curved treadmill also has its perks and downsides. Some of these are the ones we’ve just discussed above, but, are there more?
- It is safe
- You won’t have to worry about electric costs
- Less maintenance
- It is environmentally friendly
- It is easy and simple to use
- You will need to fork out quite a large amount of money
- It is big and thus not space-efficient
- It does not fold like most flat treadmill models
- It can feel more barebones compared to treadmills with fancy features
- It is a bit tough even for a simple walk or jog
Dos and Don’ts when Using a Treadmill
Once you have your mind made up and gotten your treadmill, here are several dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you get down to working on your machine.
Before you even think of jumping on your treadmill, you need to keep some of these tips in mind to ensure you're getting the best, safest treadmill workout possible.
Mix things up
Most treadmills come with a range of programs you can choose from, i.e., zwift compatible treadmills. You can spice your workout by mixing things up on the different workout programs available. It will make your six days a week workout journey effortless.
This will not only boost your cardio fitness, but it also helps avoid boredom and thus keep you working out for longer. You could also use it along with your other circuit training workouts.
Start easy and ante up the tempo
Another important thing to do on your treadmill is to make sure you don’t jump on the machine and crank it up to insane speeds.
A good warm-up will help get your muscles fired up and ready for a great deal of action if your plan is to run for long hours. Using theragun after a workout will give you a speedy recovery.
Try virtual classes
Virtual classes make for a great way to spice up your treadmill training sessions. These also work great for less experienced beginners.
These are also easy to find, some come with the treadmill, and others are easily available. You can download running apps such as Aaptiv or Peloton that best match your fitness needs and save them on your device for easy access.
Some of the most useful ones include TreadMill Workouts – HIIT Running Routines (for weight loss), and the RunBetter App (for marathon training).
Pick the right pair of shoes
Thankfully, you don’t have to go the extra mile to get any treadmill-specific shoes for women and men. Even the ones you use for your outdoor (on roads and paths) running sessions will work just as fine.
However, you still have to make sure the shoe fits snugly while still being sufficiently comfortable.
Pay attention to your stride
Hitting the stride right will take a bit of getting used to for anyone new to training on a treadmill. But it doesn’t have to be harder than it needs to be. Just make sure you run naturally, as you would run on the track or path.
Most beginners make the mistake of taking large strides or landing with the heel while setting their foot way ahead of the body’s center of gravity. This can cause a braking force on the belt.
A quick fix here is to ensure that your feet land under the body rather than ahead or behind you.
Now that you know some of the things you should focus on when using your treadmill, here are some that you need to watch out for.
Do not jump on/off a running treadmill
This one is pretty obvious but quite easy to overlook. It is also one of the risky moves you can pull off on a treadmill. It might not seem substantial, but a single mistake here could cause a fall and potentially an injury.
Do not look down
One mistake you can make is looking at the belt when running. This can easily make you dizzy. Instead, hold your head high and look ahead just as you would when running outdoors. Also, do not slap the feet on your treadmill’s belt.
Do not lean forward
If you lean forward, the treadmill belt is likely to pull your feet backward. This is likely to compromise your gait or posture, or worse, possibly throw you off balance altogether and send you plunging to the track.
Worse yet, if you lean too far ahead, you risk causing back or neck pain. Maintain a straight stature with the shoulders above your hips with the abs engaged.
Do not hold onto the rails
If you are feeling the need to hold onto the treadmill, it could be a sign that you’re becoming gassed out. Instead of holding onto the rails, consider reducing the speed and lowering the incline. Keep easing off for several minutes and bring your session to a close.
Don’t forget water and air
Hydration is as crucial as everything else during your treadmill workout, and so is a breeze of fresh air. Some treadmills come with a fan for cooling you down. However, keeping the machine in an area with sufficient airflow helps, too.
Another consideration that could change your runs in a big way is having a bottle of water with you. Staying hydrated does help both in terms of performance and keeping you going for longer.
Do not forget to cool down
Tired and upbeat, you could easily be in haste to bring your workout session to a close. Whatever you do, however, do not forget to cool down. I have already hinted that you can ease on the gas before stepping off the machine, which helps.
However, after you are off the machine, you should also consider doing a few light stretches to relax your muscles and bring them back down to standby mode.
To Sum It Up…
That’s it peeps. If you're stuck trying to figure out whether a curved treadmill would be a good investment for you, I’m positive this post has answered your burning questions.
Not to say that flat treadmills aren’t good or worth a try, and if you have one of these, you don’t necessarily have to trade it off for a curved one. Flat treadmills are awesome in their own right, but the curved treadmill has its perks too – give it a go and experience the difference for yourself.
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
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