Treadmills are indoor machines to be able to walk or run, without moving from the site, it serves for physical training where the lower body works and at the same time activates and improves the cardiovascular system. Treadmills are, together with exercise bikes, two of the most popular sports equipment, you can read about the benefits of exercise bikes in this article we have written.
- They are ideal for training at home, on a bench or in the gym. On any day or at any time, on cold or rainy days or in periods when I have to be at home for any reason.
- The main benefit of a treadmill for athletes is the improvement of running technique.
- The difference between running outdoors and running on the treadmill is that the athlete develops the momentum and on the treadmill it is the athlete that moves towards us.
- Treadmills are suitable for everyone, regardless of age or physical condition, as they can be used for walking, jogging at a slow pace or at high intensity. They are always adapted to the physical condition of the person using them.
- Treadmills are also called treadmills or ergometer treadmills.
How do they work?
The treadmills have a belt at the bottom that moves at a specific speed and forces you to move your legs so that you can stand upright. The athlete is the one who regulates the speed of the treadmill, either with the movements or with the programme that is configured.
Self-propelled treadmills: You stand on the treadmill and select the speed on the screen, at which point the motor is activated and the rollers start to rotate at the proposed speed, and then you start walking or running.
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Manual treadmills: the runner stands on the treadmill and starts to walk or run and drags the treadmill with the movement and makes the treadmill move, depending on your greater or lesser movement makes the treadmill pick up greater or lesser speed.
What muscles do you work on a treadmill?
With a treadmill you can train different parts of the body such as the cardiovascular system, the muscles of the lower body (quadriceps, biceps femoris, hamstrings, gluteus, hip extensors, knee flexors, calves, tibialis, soleus, psoas iliacus, etc.), middle or core and upper body (lower and upper abdominals, dorsals, obliques, dorsals, deltoids, biceps, triceps, etc.). It is a comprehensive exercise, working many muscle groups, but especially the legs.
- Strengthens the heart, reduces and improves blood pressure. After several workouts you will be able to endure more effort, improving the cardiovascular system and increasing respiratory capacity.
- Tones muscles, oxygenates the whole body better (tissues, muscles, skin, etc.). It has little impact on the joints, so there is a low probability of injury.
- You burn calories, exercise helps you burn fat and lose weight.
- It helps to combat anxiety, stress, feel good about yourself, improves concentration, increases your self-esteem and through the release of endorphins, helps you feel happier.
- Adapting the exercise to your time, your fitness level, at any time of the year. The great thing about indoor treadmills is that you exercise when it suits you best.
- One negative point to bear in mind when using this machine is that it can shorten your stride width, mainly due to the fear of hitting the front of the treadmill. Be careful and don’t be afraid, body posture is also important when using this machine.
- Sometimes it can be a bit boring to run in the same place, it’s not the same as running outdoors and on different routes. To combat this, put on a good music session and go for a run!
Components of a treadmill
- Treadmill: is the mat where the athlete runs or walks.
- Drive rollers: there are usually two, one at the front and one at the back. Keeps the belt taut and makes it move.
- Inner motor: has a power of 1 hp up to 12 hp, depending on the model, to turn the rollers which in turn make the belt move. In manual belts you make the belt move.
- Decking: these are strong side bases that support the treadmill.
- Elevation system, a pisto that raises the platform to simulate training on slopes.
- Monitor, LCD screen, console: all these electronic elements are used to control the mechanical operation of the treadmill, speed, intensity, training programme, heart rate (usually on the armrests), steps taken, km travelled, calories burned, heart rate, music, audio-visual tracks, etc.).
Types of tapes
- Foldable tapes: they can be folded on themselves when not in use, as they have a hinged structure. These are used when you don’t have much space at home.
- Fixed treadmills: those used in sports centres and gyms. They are larger and heavier. They are usually better treadmills and have a wider variety of programmes.
- Manually propelled treadmills: the belt moves when the athlete propels it with his or her legs during the running or walking motion. It requires a lot of effort from the runner.
- Mechanically propelled or self-propelled treadmills: they have an electric motor that turns the belt through rollers, the athlete selects the speed he/she wants. They usually have training programmes.
- You should use a lubricant to maintain the belt regularly. The type of lubricant is specified by the manufacturer (usually liquid silicone). After each use, it is also a good idea to wipe off the sweat you leave behind.
How to choose a treadmill?
- Frequency of use. First of all, you have to think about how you are going to use it, whether you are going to run or just walk, how many hours or minutes you are going to use it a day and how many days a week. This information is important in order to determine the maximum speed that the treadmill can reach.
- Weight of the athlete. Another of the characteristics that must be taken into account is the weight of the people who are going to use it, as there are machines on the market that can withstand more than 120 kg and others that weigh less than 80 to 100 kg. If you choose one that does not support the weight of the athlete, the machine will quickly break down.
- Cushioning. At this point it is advisable to choose the highest cushioning which can vary between four and six. This is important to avoid impact injuries, especially in the ankles, knees and hips.
- Size. The size of the treadmill and the size of the running surface is important and should be at least 60 centimetres wide and 1 metre long. It is also important to know the stride length of the person who is going to use it.
- Incline of the treadmill. The incline is recommended to be at least 10 to 12%, in order to be able to train simulating slopes.
- Speed. It is recommended that the treadmill can reach 16 to 22 km per hour. With this type of treadmill you can train endurance, power and sprints.
- LCD screens, where you can work with different training programmes and measure parameters such as speed, heart rate, distance travelled, km/h, calories burned, etc. There are more sophisticated ones that can have television, internet connection, music, videos, Netflix, etc.
- Price. The simplest treadmills range from 250 € to 400 € to 700 € to 800 € and the professional or gym treadmills are over 1,500 €. All this according to brands and models.