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Cardiovascular Training Equipment - Treadmills - How to use a treadmill, how to buy a treadmill



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Cardiovascular Training Equipment

Home -> The Library -> Cardio Equipment 1

There are many machines specifically designed for cardiovascular work. These machines usually mimic a non-machine activity such as running (the treadmill) or skiing (the Nordic Trak ski machine).

Each works the body differently and has its pros and cons with regards to size, price, workout efficiency and skill required. Find out which one is right for you!

Stair Machines
Stationary Bikes
Miscellaneous Equipment and Notes


Treadmills are used for stationary walking or running and come in either motorized of self-powered models.

  • Treadmills have been shown to burn the most calories when compared to other machines at similar intensities.

  • They are very versatile. You can go fast or slow, flat or incline and sometimes decline.

  • Treadmills also keep you at the same pace. This is useful for trainers who have a tendency to slow down as they tire. A motorized treadmill will keep you honest!

  • Most have some sort of electronic monitoring readout on the front as well as preprogrammed routines (e.g. interval training, hills, fat loss, etc.). These are useful for watching time and intensity as well as for varying your workouts.

  • All in all, the treadmill is an excellent machine to do cardio work on.
Treadmills are good for all trainers.

The Problem With the Treadmill

The motorized treadmill does have a biomechanical problem to it, though, that is not immediately obvious.

The Problem With The Treadmill
  • Since the tread goes backwards by itself, there is no forward-pushing force needed from the muscles, unlike ground walking where if you don't push forward, you don't go anywhere.

  • Much of the work done on a treadmill is done when you bring your leg forward. This can overwork your hip flexors and underwork your glutes.

  • Many runners find that if they train too much on a treadmill, their hip flexors become very tight and can cramp up on long runs on regular ground. Their hip flexors may also become very strong and well developed at the expense of their quads of glutes.

The Solution

There are several ways you can remedy this problem.

  • Consciously push back against the track as you walk or run, as though constantly trying to accelerate. Do not just passively allow the track to bring your leg backwards - push yourself forward. This alleviates the problem and has the added bonus of burning more calories by using more muscle mass.

  • Avoid exercises that overstress the hip flexors. As well, sitting all day can aggravate tight hip flexors by putting them in a shortened position all day.

  • Be sure to stretch your hip flexors after every treadmill session.

Buying A Treadmill

There are a number of things you should look for when you are buying a treadmill.

  • Look for high continuous horsepower not peak horsepower. This will maximize long-term use.

  • You should look for a treadmill with some give in the deck to cushion your body when you run. This will reduce the impact on your body.

  • Another good feature to have is a reversible deck (the actual tread of the treadmill where you walk or run on). This will save money as once one side wears out, you can just change the side.

  • An emergency stop button is also a very good feature. Some treadmills have clips that you attach to yourself that trigger an emergency stop if they get tugged too far (e.g. when you are slipping off the back or if you fall).

  • If you wish to buy a foldable unit, be aware that they sacrifice stability for this feature.

Treadmill Safety Guidelines

  • Stand on the sides, not the belt when you start the machine.
  • Gauge the speed before stepping on.
  • Hold the handrails when you first get on.
  • Take a few moments to get used to the treadmill feel.
  • Always look forward, never behind or to the sides. This throws your balance off. Hold the rail if you must talk.
  • If you lose your balance, grab the rails and step off to the side.
  • Change your speed gradually.
  • When you hit the “Stop” button, keep walking until it actually stops. There is a few seconds lag time.
  • Try to stay in the center of the belt.
  • Make sure your shoelaces are tied.
  • Don’t lean on the rails. Use them for balance only.
Treadmill Safety Guidelines

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