The Benefits of Curved Treadmills
The unique design of curved treadmills has opened up an entirely new horizon for freedom of motion to improve your indoor running sessions.
While treadmills have distinct advantages and disadvantages, they’ve found their place as a staple in many athletes’ training programs. Whether you’re battling the frigid cold or working in some high-intensity training, self-powered curved treadmills create a new dynamic and possibilities in improving your running performance that traditional flat treadmills can’t always provide.
Hopping on the treadmill for your training session can produce a wide range of emotions. Some athletes love them while others hate them, but most find themselves somewhere in between in the complicated love-hate relationship of incorporating treadmill work into their training.
This post goes over the benefits of curved treadmills and how you can use them to help maximize your indoor running efforts. And if you’ve been looking to add a treadmill to your home gym, you can learn about the distinct benefits to determine if a curved or motorized treadmill is best for the goals you’re trying to achieve.
Quick Medical Disclaimer: You should always start by talking with your doctor or preferred healthcare professional before starting any new health or fitness protocol, especially if you suspect an injury. This post is for informational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice.
Benefits of Curved Treadmills
- Promotes Better Running Form
- Engages More Muscle Groups
- Easy to Use for V02 Max and HIIT Training
- Simplifies Pace Control for Endurance Training
- Burns More Calories
- Excellent for Joints and Reduced Impact
- No Electricity Required
1.) Promotes Better Running Form
If you ask any athlete where their favorite place to run is, you’re likely not going to find ‘the treadmill’ anywhere near the top of that list. And for runners focused on improving their form, trying to maintain natural running biomechanics with a motorized sidewalk whirling underneath your feet only adds to the challenge.
Because of its curved design and how the power of your legs alone keeps the belt moving, your body will naturally shift to use the forefoot and midfoot to propel the treadmill’s belt. It also instinctively creates a more upright posture that promotes proper running mechanics.
2.) Engages More Muscle Groups
Your running speed and endurance rely on strong sets of hamstrings, quads, glutes, hips, and calves. Curved treadmills require more energy expenditure and help recruit more muscle groups when you run due to their self-powered design.
Since the curve in the treadmill creates a more ergonomically correct running angle, you also engage more of your core muscles that stabilize your torso during proper running form.
Used as a supplementation to your current running and training, incorporating work on a curved treadmill can help you strengthen the muscles that benefit you the most in improving your running performance.
3.) Easy to Use for VO2 Max and HIIT Training
When you’re training to improve your VO2 max or getting in a HIIT session, you’re likely to find yourself transitioning from low speeds to high speeds quickly and repeatedly. On a traditional treadmill, that usually means either struggling to press a bunch of buttons or trying to hold down “increase speed,” attempting to run with one arm while the belt spools back up to a sprint.
Curved treadmills automatically adjust to your constant pace changes without pressing a single button. That means all you have to focus on is maximizing your intensity in each working set, not changing speed settings. It also means if you push an effort a little too hard, the belt slows down, not launch you off the back of the treadmill.
4.) Simplifies Pace Control for Endurance Training
When you run outside, your body naturally adjusts your pace to match the effort you’re trying to sustain. If you took a look at your last long run on your favorite tracking app, and you averaged a 7min mile pace, that doesn’t mean that you ran exactly 8.5mph throughout your entire run.
Your pace varies during a run for many reasons, and one of the most challenging aspects runners dislike about their endurance training on a treadmill is locking into a static pace. A self-propelled curved treadmill adapts to the natural ebbs and flows of your running speed, giving you the same dynamic pace changes you’re used to while running outside.
5.) Burns More Calories
Since running on a curved treadmill has more physiological demands, it also means that you’re going to burn more calories on average than your standard motorized treadmill.
Not for the faint of heart, it also means that you will perceive those increased physiological demands during your training sessions. But just like any form of exercise that feels hard, it gives you a new frame of reference that makes your traditional running feel that much easier.
6.) Excellent for Joints and Reduced Impact
When you’re running on a curved treadmill, your foot makes contact with the curve of the treadmill during the course of its natural path, which helps minimize the impact force with every stride.
Also, the thick slat design that most of them use absorbs energy at the point of contact. Less impact shock helps reduce the damage to joints and ligaments that’s common when you run.
7.) No Electricity Required
Curved treadmills are simple by design. Simple to set up, simple to use, and simple to power. Because your legs and not a motor power them, they don’t require electricity to work.
You don’t realize how convenient a cordless system can be until you find that perfect place in your home to place your new treadmill, but that perfect place has no outlet to be found.
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Final Thoughts on Curved Treadmills
Finding the best tools to use in your training or investments to make in your home gym can be a big decision. The choice to invest in a curved treadmill or a traditional motorized treadmill (which range massively in quality and functionality) is driven mainly by personal preference.
The best way to find out which works best for your needs is to give it a try for yourself and see if the advantages match exactly what you’re looking for. If your goal is to become a faster runner, check out our top 10 speed training tools to make you faster and more agile.
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