There’s a new breed of fitness machine on the market – the incline trainer. These machines are a cross between a regular treadmill and a stair climber.
You can usually walk on a flat plane as you would a treadmill, but you can also choose to walk at very high inclines – up to 40% in some cases. The benefit is that you burn calories and get results very fast.
For example, you can burn 3X more calories walking on a 25% incline that you would on a flat incline. And you can burn 5X the calories walking on a 40% incline as compared to flat plain treadmill walking.
There are several different types of incline trainers on the market. The most popular are the Bowflex Treadclimbers and the NordicTrack Incline X3 Trainer.
Each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. This article will outline the general strengths and weaknesses of incline home trainers as a whole so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.
1) Burn Up To 5X the Calories in a Single Workout
The main benefit to incline walking is that you can burn up to 5X more calories vs walking on a flat surface. Incline walking forces the larger muscles in your legs through a greater range of motion.
Because of this, you also tone and tighten up faster than you would on a regular treadmill. This also makes the incline treadmill ideal for those who don’t have a lot of time to workout. You can still get your exercise in, but don’t have to log hours in the gym.
2) Get the Benefits of Running Without the Stress On Your Body
With an incline workout, you can burn just as much, if not more calories than you do running. You also get similar lower body toning effects. All this without the strain and toll that running takes on your body.
3) More Compact Than A Treadmill
On the whole, these machines are more compact than treadmills and take up less space. One reason is that the belts tend to be smaller (because they aren’t built to be used for running). This is handy if you’re short on space or need a compact machine for your home gym.
4) Lower Impact Workouts
These machines are also lower impact than traditional treadmills. Because you don’t have the pounding impact from running, they can be easier on the knees and less stressful on the joints as a whole.
5) Advanced Workout Technology
Incline trainers offer some new console technology you won’t find on standard treadmills – and they’re getting better every year. For example you can get 3D console graphics and even stereo systems built into some incline units.
While it is possible to run on some models for the most part, it’s not recommended. You really can’t run at all on a Treadclimber (they have short belts and only up to 4.5 MPH speed limits). And the NordicTrack Incline trainer has a shorter belt size (51″) that might be ok for shorter runners but not for anyone over 5’8″.
If you’re a runner, you should probably consider a mid-priced to high end treadmill with excellent cushioning and a strong deck, instead of an incline home trainer.
Also, for the new exerciser, this kind of machine might be a bit much to start out with. Walking on a 25% incline burns a lot of calories – but if you don’t have much workout experience you’ll definitely be feeling it the next day.
Incline trainers offer some great benefits like fast calorie burning and quick toning – which can get you to your weight loss goals faster. You also get the benefits of running, without the toll it takes on your joints. They’re also more compact than treadmills and can give you lower impact workouts.
Keep in mind however that these machines are probably not the best choice for runners and may be a bit too much for the exercise newbie. Overall though, if you’re looking for something beyond the traditional treadmill workout that gives you fast results in less time, an incline trainer may be perfect for you.