Using a Manual Treadmill to Optimize Your Workout
Treadmills have been a staple to home and gym workouts for decades now, and treadmills continue to be a popular way to get, or stay, in shape no matter what the weather is like outside. Some treadmills are better than others for different types of people, and more and more people are discovering the benefits that a curved manual treadmill can provide. When comparing the two – manual treadmill vs electric treadmill – they each have many benefits. However, one of the most significant reasons why the curved manual treadmill has now exploded in popularity recently is because it can help you burn more calories in the same amount of time as an electric treadmill or automatic treadmill. Burn extra calories as your muscles propel the belt instead of a motor.
Manual treadmill workouts feel like harder work too, which means that you can get the same physical benefits in less time. Learn more about how to use a manual treadmill properly to optimize your workout below!
How do you use a manual treadmill?
Manual treadmills also referred to as a non-motorized treadmill, are fairly easy to use, as they don't possess the same number of settings and adjustments as many electric treadmills do. This means you don't have to mess with inclines, speeds, and other controls that can get in the way of your workout. A manual or non-motorized treadmill typically only has a belt for you to run or walk on and rails on the sides to keep yourself steady if you trip, though some also have a minimalist display screen. To get started with using a motorless treadmill, all you have to do is step on the treadmill belt and begin moving.
On a curved motorless treadmill, the further up you place your foot when you step forward, the faster the belt will move. It can take a few minutes to get used to the feel of a manual treadmill, but it's much like riding a bike in that your muscles will become accustomed, and it will feel familiar every time thereafter.
How do you walk on a manual treadmill?
Walking on a manual treadmill is relatively simple. All you have to do is step on the belt of the treadmill and begin walking, ensuring to drag the belt back with each step. It will probably feel strange at first, but it won't take more than a few minutes to get the hang of it. Curved manual treadmills are designed to mimic a person's natural stride, which places less pressure on your joints than flat-belt treadmills.
You can start by walking for short durations, later working your way up to longer workouts to build endurance and reach your fitness goals.
Can you run on a manual treadmill?
Yes, but only on those specifically made to tolerate running.
Running on a manual treadmill, especially a curved one, often feels more natural than on electric treadmills, as you can adjust your speed immediately. This makes interval training on a treadmill that much more natural. With electric treadmills, you have to wait for the belt to speed up or slow down to get to the pace you have selected, which makes running feel more artificial and less enjoyable.
Running on flat-belt manual treadmills, especially cheaply made ones, isn't often recommended. This is because flat-belt manual treadmills are often constructed to only accommodate walking. They don't possess the same shock measures that higher quality and curved-belt manual treadmills have, so the strain that running can put on them can prove to be too much after a short amount of time.
If you decide to run on a well-constructed curved manual treadmill, you should start with a walk to warm up and get accustomed to the feel of it. From there, you can begin to jog, taking special care to keep your feet on the belt to avoid slips and falls. You can then build to a faster run once you feel up to it, and you'll likely find it feels more like running on a path than on an electric treadmill.
How can you prevent injury when using a manual treadmill?
Injuries can happen no matter which kind of treadmill you use. Electric treadmills often come with a magnetic clip to attach to your body when you walk or run, which disables the belt when removed if you fall. It's especially dangerous to fall on electric treadmills without using this clip, as the moving belt can cause even more injuries than a simple fall.
Falling on a manual treadmill is also dangerous, but you at least don't have to worry about the belt burning your skin or slinging you backward if you do take a tumble. No matter which type of treadmill you use, there are a few key ways you can prevent injuries, including:
Warming up and cooling down
Some injuries, especially sore muscles or irritated tendons, can arise because a person using a manual treadmill didn't bother to warm up before getting to the intense parts of the workout or cooling down afterward. Warm-ups can consist of light walking on the treadmill for a few minutes, or you can do some simple warm-up exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and twists to get the blood flowing and the heart rate up.
Cooldowns can also come in the form of brisk walking, or you can opt for other light activities to gradually bring the heart rate back down. Once you complete your cooldown, many experts recommend completing a thorough stretching routine to further prevent soreness and promote flexibility.
Incorporating rest days and cross training
One of the most common ways people get injuries on treadmills is simply from overuse. Overuse injuries come about when people perform the same types of exercises for too long, or too many days in a row, and they can come in the form of pulled muscles, tendonitis, and more. To avoid overuse injuries on the treadmill, avoid doing the same types of workouts every day.
You should incorporate a couple of rest days per week to give your muscles, tendons, and joints a chance to recover and repair themselves. You can also incorporate cross training days, which might include yoga, swimming, lifting weights, or other activities that use different muscle groups. Cross training is an important part of preventing injuries, but it can also prevent you from feeling bored in your workouts, and it can enhance your overall athletic performance and fitness.
Wearing the correct shoes and clothing
Another way to get injured on a manual treadmill is to wear the wrong shoes and clothing. You should purchase athletic shoes made specifically for walking or running, and you should get new ones once they begin to wear down. These types of shoes provide you with the proper support, and they can also help prevent overuse injuries.
On that same note, avoid wearing loose pants or flowing long sleeves that can catch on the running belt, sides, or handles of the treadmill, leading to a nasty spill. You don't have to wear skin-tight clothes but opt for those that don't have lots of excess material to trip on.
There is almost nothing better than firing up a riveting podcast or inspiring playlist for a treadmill workout, but do your best to set it and forget it. Many treadmill injuries come about from people trying to pick a song or using another app while they run or walk, which can cause them to trip and fall, leading to injury.
Should beginners use a manual treadmill?
Manual treadmills are just fine for beginners, and it might actually be easier for people completely new to treadmills to start with a manual one. Once you get used to the treadmill belt moving for you on an electric treadmill, it can be harder to get accustomed to a manual treadmill. Either way, manual treadmills are great for beginners.
Many gyms have invested in manual curved treadmills, allowing you to give them a try before you buy.
How can manual treadmills be used to meet your fitness goals?
Manual treadmills require the user to use more effort per step, as the runner or walker is the one moving the belt, not a motor. Manual treadmills, especially the curved variety, also work out more muscles at once. As a result, manual treadmills can help you burn more calories, increase your endurance, and give more muscles a workout compared to using an electric treadmill for the same duration.
No matter what your fitness goals are, whether it's to increase endurance, lose weight, or simply get started with a consistent workout routine, a manual treadmill can help you get there in a shorter amount of time.
Get a quality curved manual treadmill from Tru Grit fitness
Treadmills can be a sizable investment, especially when it comes to quality manual treadmills. For this reason, it's important to ensure that you're getting your money's worth when investing in any type of gym equipment, but especially for treadmills. Tru Grit fitness offers the Grit Runner Curved Manual Treadmill, which offers six levels of resistance, an advanced LCD display, and a rugged build to handle your toughest workouts week after week.
If you'd like to learn more about our curved treadmill, or our other exercise equipment offerings, please visit our website or contact us today!