Popular to contrary belief, the best treadmills you can find for your home gym are neither motorized nor very expensive.
The treadmill has evolved in recent years as fitness experts and researchers have begun to find out the negative effects motorized treadmills have on spinal health and posture. It has even been found that they can result in symptoms of chronic stress if used regularly. If you are trying to get a cardio machine that allows for the natural movement of running without the loud and forced motion of a motorized treadmill, then a manual treadmill may be a much better choice.
If you are a member of a gym, you may have seen new types of treadmills being installed that look a little different from the typical treadmill you may be used to seeing. Using a self-propelled treadmill is not only cheaper and more energy efficient, but it also gives you a harder workout that more accurately simulates how much more difficult running outside on the ground is. There is no assistance with each step either. As a result, this helps you burn more calories, get your heart rate up, and develop a more healthy running form in the process. There are a lot of different manual treadmills to choose from, and in this article, we will help you find the best one for your needs.
Why You Should Ditch the Motorized Treadmill
Motorized treadmills have been one of the training staples of every athlete for many years. While these treadmills have more fancy features and can feel satisfying to use, the assisted motion of the treadmill has actually been shown to take away from the efficiency of your run. One study even demonstrated that runners who use a non-motorized treadmill expend 30% more energy running at the same levels as a motorized treadmill. In addition, these runners on average had a 20% higher heart rate. This obviously results in more calories and fat burned in a shorter amount of time.
Some of the most convincing reasons to make this switch also include:
Manual treadmills are marginally less expensive than their motorized counterparts. The average price of a manual treadmill is around $300, compared to the powered models that can cost thousands. There are curved belt models that were initially selling for thousands, but there are now manual curved belt treadmills that are very affordable and well made.
Manual treadmills do not need any type of safety key or band that you have to wear in order to stop the machine if you trip or stumble. If you stop, the manual treadmill will stop as well. This helps make manual treadmills safer for the home environment that may have kids and pets present.
One of the reasons manual treadmills have become so popular is due to the fact that many professional sports teams use them to train in the off-season. They can provide much better strength and stamina training because of the self-propelled motion it employs. The main way professional trainers suggest to use these to burn the most fat and get in the best shape is to perform interval training, that is, alternating between high and moderate intensity speeds every few minutes. HIIT workouts are proven to burn more fat than static cardio alone. To do HIIT workouts, simply alternate between high intensity running and more moderate walking or jogging every couple minutes. For even more info on HIIT workouts, check out our full article on the topic here.
Finding the Best Manual Treadmill
There are a variety of convincing reasons why you should make the switch to a motor less treadmill. With this in mind, which model is right for you? Keep in mind factors such as price point, weight limit, portability, and size in order to keep an eye out for the treadmill that best fits your preferences.
1. Sunny Health and Fitness 7700 Manual Treadmill: The Heavy Duty Workhorse
If you are looking for a manual treadmill that helps you train with purpose, Sunny Health has the product for you. This manual treadmill helps with rehabilitation, sports specific training, and also is perfect for the general fitness enthusiast. It can help rugged athletes improve their speed and agility while also aiding the casual runner in getting a great run in from the comfort of their own home. Its special features help make it easy to set up, safe, and challenging – perfect for any home gym.
- The soft drop hydraulic mechanism enables the bottom deck of the machine to gently lower to the floor and allows for safer hands-free unfolding from storage.
- Adjustable resistance levels
- Dual flywheel construction
- Handlebars and phone holder
- 440lb weight limit
Who Makes It
Based in Los Angeles, Sunny Health and Fitness has been a leading distributor of high-quality fitness products. They pledge to work with only the highest quality manufacturers in the industry to give their customers the most cutting edge products at a more affordable price tag. They have been steadily growing since their inception and have gathered a lot of respect from their loyal customer base. According to their website, the leading priority of Sunny Health and Fitness is to provide excellent customer service and to help fitness enthusiasts across the country save money and maximize efficiency.
The Bottom Line
The Sunny Fitness manual treadmill is one of the best and most challenging pieces of training equipment you will find. Customer reviews of the product rave that it is sturdy and smooth. They also state that it has the ability to be extremely challenging at its highest difficulty settings. The dual flywheel construction smoothly pushes the belt and makes running with this manual treadmill very safe and satisfying. In combination with the adjustable resistance lever, you can engage in a unique routine every time you use the treadmill and make sure you are confusing your muscles and working them more deeply than a typical treadmill is able to do.
While this is not the cheapest manual treadmill on the market, this nonelectric treadmill is built to get you in great shape and will be worth every penny.
2. Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill: Lightweight and Convenient
The team at Confidence Fitness have brought a more portable and smooth manual treadmill to the list. Their treadmill is perfect for those looking for a more lightweight and portable option. You can simply store it away or even take with you while you travel. The main unique feature of this treadmill is the magnetic resistance it uses to provide resistance when you walk or run. This type of resistance feels very smooth and is made to be easy on joints. If you are looking for an easy to use and simple manual treadmill that is also very cost effective, this is the pick for you.
- Quiet and smooth magnetic resistance
- 8 adjustable resistance levels
- 220lb weight limit
- Computer that displays speed, distance, time, and calories burned.
- Foldable for easy storage
- 12-month warranty
Who Makes It
Confidence is a distributor of innovative and convenient workout equipment. They are known for their wide range of products available that are always modern and competitive on price. They make sure to be clear on who their products are made for and to only sell equipment that will last, and nearly all of the customer reviews on their products tell this same story. Confidence fitness customers can be certain they will be satisfied with their purchase because they are always protected under a 12-month warranty.
The Bottom Line
The Confidence motorless treadmill is perfect for the casual at home gym that is looking to get rid of their clunky and unreliable motor treadmill. It is more cost effective, quiet, and easier on your joints than any other manual treadmill on the market – although it is not built for larger individuals. If you are over 220lbs, you will need to look elsewhere in the list. What this treadmill lacks in size and weight capacity it makes up for in feel, portability, and price.
3. Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill: The Cost Effective Option
Stamina InMotion’s self-propelled treadmill is similar to the Confidence treadmill. In contrast, it supports slightly more weight and comes in at a lower price. It is a simpler model than both of the previous options. This is because it only has two different incline options and a more simple flywheel construction. With this being said, the Stamina InMotion manual treadmill’s users report it to be a challenging workout tool. It is well worth the price. and it also features extremely durable steel frame construction. Easily stored, lightweight, adjustable, and powerless, this manual treadmill is easy on your wallet and makes a great addition to your home gym.
- Dual weighted and smooth flywheels
- 10 and 8-degree incline positions
- Sturdy steel frame design
- Built-in wheels for portability
- Foam padded front and side rails
- Skid-resistant rubber floor attachments
Who Makes It
Stamina has been around for more than 30 years. Above all, they are helping provide customers with creative and affordable fitness products that make perfect additions to any home gym. You can find their products being sold by distributors of all kinds. These include high profile companies such as Walmart, QVC, Amazon, and more. You may have come across Stamina at some point, especially if you have seen their famous American Gladiator Home Gym infomercials – one of the original home fitness commercials ever. Stamina fitness is a forward-thinking company that is always setting trends and providing customers with high-quality and affordable fitness products.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to self-propelled treadmills, the Stamina InMotion model is a perfect choice for those who are looking for some middle ground. While it is not the hardiest machine, it may just surprise you how difficult of a workout this compact machine can give you. It has a great tracker that helps you monitor the distance you’ve run, calories burned, and time that you have been running or walking. The user reviews are also pretty consistent across the board. They are almost always reporting a smooth yet challenging workout. If you need an easily stored and well-made manual treadmill that has a very low price tag, this is the pick for you.
Workouts You Can Do With a Manual Treadmill
Motorized treadmills are not very safe to do anything other than running. As a result, this makes manual treadmill’s ability to let you switch up your routine one of its greatest attributes. Self-propelled treadmills are much more versatile pieces of equipment and if you are willing to get creative, you will be surprised at the many different workout options you have.
Some of our favorite ways to get creative with a manual treadmill include:
Max Incline Push
Before you get started with your workout, set the treadmill to a difficult incline and resistance setting and begin to take long, slow steps. This is a great way to stretch out and warm up before you begin running. It primes the glutes, hamstrings, and calves. In addition, it reduces the chance that you will strain a muscle as compared to just getting and running right off the bat.
Mountain climbers are a vigorous workout that is sure to get you to feel the burn in your entire body. This workout is best performed on models like the Sunny Health and Fitness model because of its more sturdy build quality that can handle rigorous pushes that workouts like these demand. To perform the mountain climber, put your hands over the edge of the treadmill and get into a push-up position with your legs on the treadmill track. While holding yourself up, begin running and pushing with your legs. Keep the running motion going and power through it for 30 seconds to a minute. Mountain climbers are a great addition to HIIT workouts as well.
Once you give mountain climbers a try, you will see how challenging they are. There is no doubt you will feel the burn throughout your legs as well as your shoulders, arms, and core.
Running backward is great for targeting different muscles in the legs that are not hit as deeply when running forward. As a result, the backward jog is a great way to switch up a stale routine. This allows you to hit your hamstrings, glutes, and calves harder than usual. We recommend using a lighter resistance level and focusing on getting a good flex with each step to get the most out of the backward jog. Mix in a few minutes of a backward jog in between your runs to get a more complete exercise.
While running is great for all the muscles in your leg, it is not the best for strength training. This shouldn’t stop you from getting the most out of your new manual treadmill. Performing a side squat can help you get a deep glute workout while also targeting your hip flexors. Hip flexors are key muscles that help keep you steady and also contribute to a healthy back and posture. To do the side squat, stand on the treadmill sideways with your heels perpendicular to the mat rather than straight, and simply sidestep with a deep squatting motion.
How To Find The Best Powerless Treadmill For Your Home Gym
It is easy to see the many benefits of owning a manual treadmill. They can give you a more quiet and durable piece of cardio equipment that is healthier for your joints and can also allow you to perform a variety of different workouts.
In order to help you make the best choice, we have created a checklist of the two most important things to keep in mind when looking for a new manual treadmill.
Manual treadmills are very sturdy machines and are most often very portable and convenient to fit into any home gym. This convenience factor comes with a weight limit trade-off in most cases. This makes it important to check the weight capacity of the treadmill you are looking to buy. The Sunny Fitness self-propelled treadmill is the most heavy duty machine included in our list. It is made to accommodate bigger individuals with ease while still providing a smooth yet challenging workout experience. The other two models can only handle up to about 250lbs, making them still very strong but not quite as much as the Sunny Fitness model.
One of the benefits of picking a manual treadmill from our list is the money that you will save. Most powered treadmills come in at very high price tags and are heavy, loud, and can experience performance issues much more frequently than a powerless treadmill. The majority of manual treadmills are much cheaper than their motorized counterparts, but they can still vary in price. The main factor that determines price is the size and weight capacity the treadmill can handle. The Sunny Fitness treadmill in our list is the most expensive option for this exact reason, but it still is much cheaper than any powered treadmill.
Why Invest in a Manual Treadmill?
The treadmill is a staple of any home gym and if you are looking to start building one or are in the process of doing so, you have probably been looking for a great treadmill to add. Motorized treadmills are bulky, loud, and have been proven to cause damage to joints with extended use. Not only that, but they also are very pricy and can cost you in excess of a thousand dollars in even the lower end models.
Manual treadmills have been gaining popularity for good reason. They are trusted by professional athletes and gyms across the country because they are healthier and are actually even more challenging than the assisted motion that powered treadmills use. Adding a manual treadmill to your gym in addition to leg press workouts will not take up very much space and will also not break the bank. With plenty of exercises to put a non-electric treadmill to great use, you can get in better shape than ever before by supplementing weight training with a manual treadmill.
Take it from the pros. These new versions of treadmills are far more superior and will most likely become your new favorite way to challenge yourself with a cardio workout. Keep in mind your size, available space, and the budget you have in mind when surfing through the manual treadmills we have curated.
Did you find your ideal manual treadmill? What are your favorite exercises to use with it?
Let us know in the comments below!