Should You Use a Curved Self Propelled Treadmill?

Erin Running on Curve-min self propelled treadmill

Curved self propelled treadmills are growing in popularity across the country. So what’s the buzz about, and is it right for you?

A curved self propelled treadmill, often just called a curved treadmill, is a non-motorized treadmill that allows you to walk or run with a natural stride, powering the belt as you go. It has several different benefits from a traditional treadmill. The most obvious advantage is that it requires more effort than a powered treadmill, giving you a more strenuous workout.

Benefits of a Curved Treadmill

Since the curved treadmill requires you to power the belt, you’re expending more energy than you would on a regular treadmill. You can get a harder workout and burn more calories in a shorter session.

The curvilinear leg stroke encourages a more natural running style on the balls of your feet. Compared to using a traditional treadmill that pulls your leg back for you, propelling the treadmill with your own energy on the curve is a great workout on your posterior chain. This muscle development in your glutes and hamstrings makes the curved treadmill more similar to ground running than a tradition treadmill.

Curved treadmills are well-suited for endurance training and conditioning workouts because the cardiometabolic demands are higher than a motorized treadmill. They can also be used for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or long distance sprint training because they allow for natural self-pacing.

While it can’t replace ground running, supplementing with curved treadmill workouts can allow athletes to work on neuromuscular training and may reduce impact on joints as well.

Who Should Use a Curved Treadmill

Utilizing the curved treadmill is a fun, fast way for anyone to challenge themselves and add variety to a fitness routine. Runners who need a reprieve from the weather outside have an indoor option that lets them run more naturally and get a better workout faster than a traditional machine.

Unlike a traditional treadmill with predetermined speed limits, a self-powered machine allows elite athletes to give their personal max exertion. However, the curved nature of the machine and the resistance from the belt mean these treadmills are not ideal for acceleration exercises or short-distance sprints. Since acceleration is a key mechanic of sports performance, athletes should look to the curved treadmill mostly for supplemental conditioning, and not for top speed development or running mechanics. If you still have questions if this is the right exercise for you, a personal trainer at Chadwick’s Gym can help you decide.

Bottom line

The best overall results come from a well-rounded training program with a personal trainer. While the curved treadmill cannot replace ground running, it does add physiological demand to indoor running, and we are excited to introduce this new addition to our clients’ training and conditioning at our gyms in Franklin TN.

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