Curved treadmills are quickly becoming the go-to machines for many people around the world who enjoy running as a cardio workout, but don’t want to risk injuring their joints over time by running on a standard treadmill or on the sidewalk. Running on a curved treadmill is now a popular option for athletes who wish to complement their cardio training with something that is a little different to the usual pieces of equipment that you would find in a gym.
What Is a Curved Treadmill?
A curved treadmill is essentially the same as a normal treadmill, but it is not motorized and runs solely on the energy the user created. The concavely curved design means that you can walk or run on it and the belt is propelled each time your foot strikes down on the machine. This not only makes it more environmentally friendly than a standard treadmill, but it also allows you to move at your own pace and creates more resistance for muscle definition. A curved treadmill will offer you a comfortable running experience focusing on curvilinear leg strokes in order to improve the efficacy of the workouts. The curved design has been specifically implemented in order to mimic your natural running or walking pattern, so there is no excess pressure on your knees, which is one of the reasons that curved treadmills are becoming a stable piece of equipment in many rehabilitation clinics across the world.
How Does a Curved Treadmill Work?
Mechanically speaking, curved treadmills rely on a combination of friction, gravity, and forces during the running movement. When your foot strikes the belt on a backward downstroke, the weight of your body and the grip of your foot literally pulls the belt downward and backward and this is made possible by the curved shape feature. Professional athletes are now jumping on the curved treadmill bandwagon as they provide more benefit and a low-impact training option that is still effective at burning fat and improving your cardiovascular health while preserving your muscles and joints.
Why Use a Curved Treadmill Instead of a Normal One?
Curved treadmills have their benefits and drawbacks and as usual, it all boils down to the type of running you prefer doing. For example, if you are a long distance runner who enjoys running at a constant speed, then a curved treadmill can be the solution to preventing injury and increasing endurance. If you use a treadmill for fitness via interval sprints in a bid to get your cardio exercise over with as quickly as possible, then you should be aware that curved treadmills are not great for sudden acceleration.
If you are concerned about your carbon footprint, or you don’t want to pay higher electricity rates to have a standard treadmill plugged in at home, then it’s worth considering that a curved treadmill requires no power source whatsoever. In turn, this means less maintenance, less chance of things breaking, and it offers users an entirely natural running experience.
Here are the key benefits of using a curved treadmill for your workouts:
- You regulate your own velocity resulting in a more intense workout
- Interval sprints are safer and less strenuous
- A curved treadmill helps to preserve your muscles and joints
- Your muscles are required to work harder, thus you will tone up faster
- You will build up stamina and increase endurance
The Best Curved Treadmills of 2019
If you are considering investing in a curved treadmill, here is our pick of the best models available in 2019.
This motor-less curved treadmill from Crossfit giants Assault Fitness will push you to burn more calories and promotes a proper and efficient running form. The company which manufactures the Air Runner also created the ever-popular AirBike, which is commonly used in Crossfit and Tabata workouts. The company claims that the AirRunner is the only bio-mechanically correct product on the market and your overall running experience will be hugely enhanced via using this product. Regardless of whether you choose to walk or run on this fancy piece of equipment, you will get a powerful and efficient workout either way.
How to Make the Most Out of Your AirRunner
The curved running surface is the most important feature of this product and this is the secret behind letting the user be in complete control of their own pace and speed, making it an awesome tool for interval sprints. As there is no motor powering the device, your own stride and energy are responsible for propelling you forward. This forces you to burn more calories than you would on a standard motorized treadmill. It couldn’t be easier to use. If you want to speed up, simply start running to propel the belt. And if you want to slow down or stop, just let your body slowly drift with the curve. The position of your body and gravity are responsible for bringing you to a safe stop. One of the primary reasons that people favor curved treadmills is because they reduce the impact forces on your joints, thus promoting the proper running form. The low friction belt featured on the machine is designed to withstand up to 150,000 miles of use, meaning that you won’t have to replace it anytime soon.
Key Features of the Air Runner
- An LCD display with metrics in real time
- Easy user interface
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Gentler workout
- Promotes correct posture
- Enhances endurance
- Programmable workout option
- Energy saving
AirRunner Program Modes
The AirRunner program modes are one of the key selling points of this particular product, so let’s take a moment to explore them.
Quick Start Option
This option basically lets you skip all of the set-up and allows to get started right away. This is a great option for warm-ups and you just step onto the treadmill, hit start and begin running or walking.
HIIT Interval Training Option
Interval training is made easier on the AirRunner as there are two separate programs offering users eight different high-intensity interval training, with preset timers in place. The onboard computer will prompt you at the beginning and end of each interval and you can choose how much rest time you want. If the pre-programmed options don’t suit you, then you can easily program custom intervals that you come up with on your own. Performing Tabata style intervals on a traditional treadmill is made harder by having to fiddle about with the controls to speed up and slow down, which is why we love this non-motorized curved treadmill.
AirRunner Physical Specs
This piece of kit is heavy duty and built to last using powder coated steel. It surprisingly isn’t that heavy for a treadmill, weighing in at just under 280 lbs. It comes with a built-in handle and transport wheels allowing you to easily reposition it whenever and wherever you like.
Hands down, this is one of the best curved treadmills that we have seen on the market (in the same price bracket). While it certainly isn’t cheap, it isn’t expensive if you consider the longevity and the fact it consumes zero energy apart from whatever your body produces. You will need batteries to power the LCD console, but apart from that, it will not require any additional investment. The design of the treadmill has obviously been carefully thought out and it not only helps you to get fit and lose weight in less time than a motorized treadmill, but it will also promote you running in the correct posture. Reduced impact on your knees is also a major selling point, as sports injuries can be a huge setback on your training. It is a shame that it offers so many additional features, yet hasn’t included a chest strap heart-rate monitor. It’s slightly disappointing, but not a deal breaker as you can easily pick one up for a good price online. Free shipping from Amazon also helps you to keep costs down as not only will you be protected by Amazon’s buyer protection policy, but when you consider the weight of the package—you will be saving yourself quite a bit on shipping costs.
This revolutionary machine helps athletes train harder, faster, and more effectively than they would by using other machines. This product in particular features the largest belt on the market with regards to curved treadmills.
- Durable steel frame
- Can support up to 330 lbs.
- Resistance lever for 4 different workout difficult levels
- Ergonomic handlebars for lateral and sled workouts
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Tablet holder for entertainment
While this model is by no means as fancy with regards to features as the AirRunner, it is great for those who don’t need to rely on pre-programmed workouts to complete their exercise routines. It is a durable machine, which is suited to lost distance running as well as interval training and it offers athletes a fuss-free solution to an intense cardio workout.
The TrueForm runner is the perfect tool to help you develop a proper running technique. It is a robust non-motorized curved treadmill that can withstand even the most rigorous of workouts. The machine itself is incredibly well designed and relies on unique technology to set it a step ahead of many other curved treadmills of its caliber. It is a more advanced treadmill that forces you to correct your position, otherwise, it becomes difficult to use for more than a couple of minutes, which will result in you naturally adopting a better posture when you work out.
Here are just a few of the reasons you should consider investing in a TrueForm Runner:
- Control the pace and run at your own speed, without feeling like you are being pushed along by a motorized belt
- It stops you from over striding and injuring yourself
- Your glutes will benefit from an intense workout
- Environmentally friendly as it doesn’t run on electricity
- Steel platform and tough rubber coating for maximum durability and longevity
- Smaller and more compact than other models
- Made in the USA
- LED Display
The TrueForm Runner could be an excellent choice for runners who aren’t afraid of mastering a tough all over workout. It probably isn’t so well suited to complete beginners, as there have been several reports of people getting worn out super quickly if they don’t know how to hold their posture correctly.
The IN10CT Health Runner is a great addition to any gym environment, be it in a home or commercial setting. Like many other treadmills of this kind, it is powered from the energy you create during the stride motion and its compact design will allow you to place it wherever is most convenient in your home. Users can run at a pace of their choice and a more intense workout will be on the cards, thanks to the fact that this machine is non-motorized.
- Muscle Powered: Due to the fact that your own muscles and stamina power the belt, you can expect to burn a load more calories per mile than you would on a standard motorized treadmill. If you want to speed up, you simply put in more effort by taking longer strides and to slow down all you do is step closer to the center of the belt to stop the momentum gradually.
- No Electricity Required: Motorized machines are more restricting as you are confined to using them where there is a power outlet nearby. Not only is this type of treadmill better for the environment, thanks to its portability you can even put it in your garden or terrace for refreshing workouts when the weather is good! You don’t have to worry about receiving costly electricity bills either, which is always a bonus when the end of the month is nigh.
- Safety: Curved treadmills are much safer than motorized belts because the belt will only come to a halt when you do. This means that if you accidentally trip or fall over, you don’t need to worry about being forcefully being thrown off the machine by an electric belt that is running at high speed.
The well-designed performance monitoring console will allow you to track your workout statistics on a stylish LCD display
While this brand isn’t as well known as the AirRunner, it is a great option for personal use. Using this machine could allow you to burn up to 30% more calories than you would when using a motorized flat treadmill. It also looks good—not too clunky, but visibly robust.
The Speedboard Pro XL uses patented technology and it is the first curved treadmill to facilitate better performance during your workouts. It features a soft, curved belt that will perfectly match your stride while simultaneously reducing joint stress. This low impact machine promotes the user working at their own pace, whether that be a slow walk or a flat-out sprint—everything is made possible simply by changing your position on the machine. This product has been designed to the highest standards and it boasts elite performance and excellent quality.
- Unparalleled fitness experience
- Maintenance free
- Shock absorbing tread belt technology
- Smooth and silent
- Minimal friction and wear
- Handrails for sledge workouts and stability
- An LCD display with real-time workout stats
This is one of the most effectively designed and comfortable curved treadmills we have seen this year and it is worth every cent. The shock absorbing belt is going to further add to the low impact workouts provided by curved treadmills and you can look forward to a pain-free, intense workout on this machine.
The Pros and Cons of Curved Treadmill Running
A curved treadmill is going to be an invaluable tool if you take fitness seriously. They are the perfect solution for those of you who don’t want to spend a whole hour jogging on a flat belt treadmill just for the sake of burning a few calories. The majority of curved treadmills of good quality are non-motorized because they are designed to make you work harder to get results in a lesser amount of time. Safety is also key with curved treadmills, as you will never have to worry about pushing yourself too far out of your comfort zone with regards to speed, time, or resistance. Interval training is becoming increasingly popular as time passes, as it allows you to continue burning calories for as long as 24 hours after your workout. And a curved treadmill is the perfect type of cardio equipment for interval sprints as it will raise your heart rate and tone your muscles at the same time.
Curved Treadmill Running Negatives
There are some limitations on the user when it comes to running on a curved treadmill. Primarily, the fact that you need to get used to a whole new style of running, even if you are the most experienced track runner, it will feel really unnatural at first. However, once you master the correct technique, you will start to feel the burn almost right away. A motorized traditional treadmill can be incredibly dangerous for performing interval sprints as not only is there a serious amount of impact on your joints and knees if you can’t keep up with the speed of the machine, it will keep going without you! And falling off a motorized treadmill can be incredibly dangerous, not to mention painful. On the flip side, you need to be able to push yourself on a curved treadmill, as there is no inbuilt motor to motivate you to carry on at the same pace. As it is a relatively new piece of equipment, the curved treadmill can also be harder to get hold of and more expensive and not so many gyms have them installed yet. This means that, unless you live in an area that has a state-of-the-art gym, you won’t be able to try one before you buy.
A curved treadmill can be one of the most efficient and effective ways to lose fat while toning muscle, but they certainly aren’t for everyone. Many people—especially those who are just getting started with a new fitness-based lifestyle—simply don’t have the stamina or motivation to use a non-motorized treadmill. Also, as we mentioned earlier, you will need to adapt to a new way of running in order to use this type of treadmill properly. If you are the sort of gym-goer who loathes lengthy cardio sessions, then a curved treadmill definitely adds more fun into trotting along on a moving belt. Furthermore, the fact that many of them do not include handlebars means that you will also be working on your core muscles to maintain your posture and balance. Before you decide to buy a curved treadmill, it would be a great idea to try one first as most people either love them or loathe them. While reputable online portals like Amazon offer you the option to exchange items within a limited period of time, not all products are eligible for a refund if you change your mind and decide you can’t gel with a curved treadmill. It is definitely more suited to those who are serious about their fitness and weight loss goals, due to the upfront investment required.
You will have to decide if curved treadmills are a good choice for your personal situation. I am convinced that they have great value for the general fitness population, and are an interesting option for recreational runners, a creative interval option for performance running, and a possible benefit to sprinters in some circumstances. It will take a few more studies for the science to catch up to the technology, but curved treadmills are popular and are most certainly here to stay.