Curved treadmills have garnered a lot of attention in the fitness industry lately, at both health clubs and CrossFit gyms.
Perhaps you’re interested in buying one or just learning more about the difference between a curved treadmill and a regular motorized treadmill. Whatever your goal, you’re in the right place, in this review guide we compare and contrast the best curved treadmills available and why we believe they can enhance your fitness in ways a traditional treadmill can’t.
Here are our top picks to get straight to it:
Rogue TrueForm Runner
|View on Rogue Fitness|
Xebex Runner Smart Connect
|View on Get Rx’D|
Assault Fitness AirRunner
|View on Amazon|
Top 3 Best Curved Treadmills In 2020
While curved treadmills are an investment, they offer a lot of options that traditional treadmills do not. If you’re ready to change up your traditional running or rowing cardio workouts, keep reading.
In the sections to follow, we’ll break down what a curved treadmill is, why you might want one, the differences between curved and traditional, and things to consider before buying.
Of course, we will also be reviewing some of the top curved treadmills available in 2020 and the brands to look out for.
Best Curved Treadmill Reviews
Overall #1 Pick
If you’ve seen a curved treadmill on TV at the CrossFit games, it was the TrueForm. It comes in 3 styles: Low Rider, Enduro, and Performance.
Funny enough, the biggest complaint and boast reviewers of the TrueForm offer is that it feels more difficult than other curved treadmills.
Rogue confirms, unapologetically, that this was their intent all along. It’s something to consider as you shop for yours.
- Height: 57″ (Enduro)
- Width: 36″
- Running Surface: 17″ W x 54″ L
- Product Weight: 325 LB
- Max User Weight: 700 LB
- Frame 10 years
- Tread Components 5 years
- Digital Display 2 years
- Labor 1 year
Other than costing almost $2,000 less than the TrueForm, the Xebex Runner also boasts a feature anyone that’s ever set up fitness equipment will appreciate- easy setup and maintenance.
You can change out the block bearings in under 5 minutes without taking the frame apart, which isn’t the case for most curved treadmills.
Xebex also has special pricing for Military/Fire/Police, as well as for gyms and trainers. It is likely around 10% discount which is still big bucks.
A key benefit of the Xebex bike is its smart connect ecosystem. This is where the smart connect ready console allows you to connect to third party apps. Popular apps like Kinomap and Zwift are part of the ecosystem to push your run data and store it to track your improvement over time.
Xebex Runner Specs
- Height: 69.9″
- Width: 32.8″
- Running Surface: 17″ W x 67″ L
- Product Weight: 315 LB
- Max User Weight: 350 LB (run)/ 700 LB (walk)
- 10 Year Frame
- 5 Year Parts
- 2 Year Console
From the same company that created the Assault AirBike, comes this curved treadmill with most of the same benefits that the TrueForm does, at a slightly cheaper cost. There is no deck under the slats, but can easily handle heavier weights. The running surface is longer than the TrueForm in case you are unsure of it due to your height and stride length.
One common negative review, however, is that the screen stopped working after a few sessions.
Customers say it was handled, but for its price, there shouldn’t be problems!
Assault Air Runner Specs
- Height: 69.9″
- Width: 32.8″
- Running Surface: 17.1″ W x 62.2″ L
- Product Weight: 280 LB
- Max User Weight: 700 LB
- 5 Years – Frame
- 3 Years – Non-Wear Parts
- 1 Year – Labor
What Is A Curved Treadmill?
A curved treadmill is a self-powered piece of exercise equipment that allows a runner to adopt a more natural form compared to a traditional treadmill.
In the video, you will notice that his feet initiate the movement of the treadmill. Instead of “chasing” an electronic belt like with a normal treadmill, the athlete’s feet driving into the belt keep it moving. This is a simple distinction that drives the design of the treadmill, and the form that one has to use to run on it.
Lets understand why this design and the appropriate running form are important for you.
Benefits Of Owning a Curved Treadmill
There are several major benefits of the curved treadmill:
- There is no motor – With traditional treadmills, you will likely pay upkeep fees for maintaining the motor, which in most models, is prone to burning out or needing repairs. Being a non-motorized treadmill lowers the risk of the equipment breaking as well as increasing the overall durability of the treadmill.
- It burns more calories – Research shows that a curved treadmill actually burns more calories than a traditional treadmill, up to 30%. Because you’re self-regulating your running workouts, it requires a greater level of concentration and mental toughness to continue at a high pace. It’s designed to reward quick, efficient runners, making them great for weight loss.
- A curved treadmill works more muscle groups – Another huge benefit of curved treadmills is that it uses more muscle groups than a traditional treadmill. In particular, your glutes and hamstrings are called up more often when running on a manual treadmill. This leads nicely into the next benefit of curved treadmills…
- Promote natural running form – An advantage of curved treadmills is that by working the muscle groups highlighted above, a curved belt manual treadmill promotes a natural running form which is a massive bonus when you transfer from the treadmill to the roads or track. This also makes curved treadmills excellent for working on your running technique, something treadmill running can have the opposite effect on.
- Run at your own pace and velocity – A huge attraction of curved treadmills over the motorized alternative is that they let you set the pace. Rather than setting the pace and running velocity and then trying your best to keep up, a curved manual treadmill is powered by the force you transfer to it. This avoids bad habits forming from trying to keep up with a running pace that is too fast and allows you to base your workouts on how you’re feeling on the day as well as your overall heart rate.
- Compact design. The best curved treadmills are also quite compact, making them easier to fit in a home gym or living room, compared to some of the bulkier models of regular treadmills.
How To Use A Curved Treadmill Properly
To use a curved treadmill properly, know that your feet are going to regulate the speed at which the belt moves.
Therefore, it’s probably always best to start off walking, especially when you aren’t comfortable with the equipment yet.
A walk can quickly progress to a jog or sprint, assuming you get the hang of it.
When you are ready for your workout to end, simply slow up your pace and the belt will slow down with you.
For safety, it’s a good idea to use the handrail for balance as the belt slows down, especially if you are out of breath.
Curved Treadmill Workouts
One huge advantage of curved treadmills is their versatility and adaptability for different workouts.
Just like the open road, a curved treadmill responds to your max speed, as a result, if you want to work harder to raise your heart rate you can do exactly that, if you need a float recovery you can shorten your stride and reduce your cadence to slow the treadmill down.
Here are some of our favorite curved treadmill workouts:
Using Curved Treadmills for Sprinting
Curved treadmills are fantastic for sprint workouts! Whether you’re trapped inside due to weather or just need to change up your routine, it’s a great way to get faster.
When sprinting on a curved treadmill, work up slowly at first. You simply get on and start from a jog. No buttons to hit.
Remember the belt will move at the speed your feet do, so practice a bit before going into a full sprint right away.
There are some examples on YouTube of athletes running ridiculously fast, including this guy who tops 23.4mph on the machine.
Tempo and Threshold Runs
Curved treadmills can also be effectively used for tempo runs or workouts where you need to adjust your pace between reps. As touched above earlier, this can easily be done by controlling your stride and jogging in the middle, rather than the front of the treadmill, no need to try to work a control panel or desperate reach for the reduce speed button with sweaty hands!
Curved treadmills are also excellent for high-intensity interval training workouts. Raising your heart rate quickly through sprints can easily be followed by periods of rest on a treadmill of this type. No need to constantly increase and decrease the treadmill pace, you control your maximum speed just like you would if you were running out on the road or at your local track.
Curved Treadmill Vs Electric Treadmill
The main difference between a curved treadmill and an electric treadmill is the lack of motor (there are also regular manual treadmills). Less electrical components generally will have less things that can go bad.
Whereas an electric treadmill dictates the pace you run at based on a prescribed speed, you set the pace on a curved treadmill.
If you like split times, being guided by the belt, or “setting it and forgetting it”, an electric treadmill might be the best fitness option for you.
Alternatively, if you don’t like thinking about pace and prefer to just go, a curved treadmill is a good choice.
There are obviously several other differences, but this is a key mindset difference between a guided electric treadmill and a manual curved treadmill – You are guided, vs guided by you.
A key difference between a regular flat indoor treadmill and a curved one is foot placement. In a regular one the foot is under your center of gravity (your hips), and the contact time with the slats is minimal. Whereas in a curved treadmill the foot placement has to be in front of you, and higher knee, in order to manually pull the tread down. This is better since it pushes more of the effort on your upper leg muscles.
This major difference is that with an electric or guided flat treadmill, you can have bad running form, whereas a curved treadmill corrects your form. It forces you to become a more consistent and efficient runner. If you lean forward or back too much the 5% curvature forces you to a better running form. This allows you to have a good form in those winter months when you have to run indoors for long periods of time.
This article claims a reduction of up to 80% of impact on joints using a curved treadmill over an electric treadmill.
Curved Treadmill Disadvantages
Depending on how you like to train, a curved treadmill may not have the electronic features you are looking for. If you want a machine that can dictate your speed, get a regular one.
Curved treadmills are also quite expensive, as some of the XL models can cost up to $10,000. The 3 treadmills we’ve reviewed at the bottom of this article all cost under $6,000, but that’s not chump change, either.
Keep in mind that the equipment, while expensive, won’t add a penny towards your monthly electric bill. Over time, especially in a commercial gym, this will save you a lot of money.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Curved Treadmill
Here are a few things to consider before investing in a curved treadmill:
Depending on the model you get, the weight ratings are 350-700 lbs for the user capacity.
Size matters for your home gym or facility. Curved treadmills range in size from around 5-6 ft in length and about 3 ft in width. Measure where you plan to put it first so you know which options will fit given the space available.
If you plan to assemble the equipment yourself, take a look at some customer reviews before purchasing. You could use how difficult assembly is as a “tiebreaker” between 2 similarly priced treadmills.
This won’t be the cheapest addition to your CrossFit box or home gym. The 3 best curved treadmills reviewed in this article range between $3,749 and $5,695. You could do worse, however. Some of them cost up to $10,000!
Your treadmill should come with a very comprehensive warranty. For example, the Xebex runner (reviewed below) is covered for 10 years.
Your choice of brand can make a huge difference in the quality of the curved treadmill you buy. As you will see in the reviews to follow, leading brands such as TrueForm continue to lead the way in terms of innovation as well as overall product quality.
Products such as the Woodway Curve have seen the gap decrease between the leading products and a direct comparison between TrueForm and Woodway is made below. The biggest current challenge with the Woodway Curved Treadmill is how to order. They do not allow for online orders. You have to contact a local sales rep. In this post covid world, this is an antiquated way of doing commerce, and we think that this kind of barrier will keep many from ordering.
We can’t finish this review guide before first answering some frequently asked questions we receive on the topic of curved treadmills:
Why Are Curved Treadmills so Expensive?
The topic we get asked most frequently about in relation to curved treadmills is their price. This is understandable, curved treadmills aren’t cheap and we did try to consider that when reviewing the products included within this review guide. The most simple answer as to why curved treadmills are so expensive is because the technology used to develop them is still reasonably young.
In comparison to traditional treadmills, curved treadmills are still growing in popularity. As a result, the demand hasn’t reached the levels of motorized treadmills. This means the technology and components used to build curved treadmills are still expensive to source and manufacture, with this being passed on to the consumer in the final price tag.
It will not be surprising to see the majority of treadmills becoming curved treadmills given their benefits. However, that might take another decade given that we are only in the first 2nd or 3rd decade of the curved treadmill. So until then, expect these equipment to remain expensive.
TrueForm vs Woodway
This is a question we intend to devote a whole new section to in the coming months when we finally review the Woodway curve. Until then all we will say is that the two are both leading manufacturers of curved treadmills and together are enhancing the popularity of rival traditional treadmills.
Are They Hard to Run On?
For beginners, curved treadmills may be hard to run on at first. Because the runner is setting their own pace it can sometimes be easy for them to get carried away and increase their heart rate too quickly. This is in comparison to motorized treadmills where you can set the pace and slowly increase it as you build up your endurance.
Having said that, once you find your feet and begin to run at an even pace curved treadmills should be no harder than a traditional treadmill or a workout out on the roads. Just note that it does take a little time to get accustomed until your muscle memory is created.
Can You Walk on a Curved Treadmill?
You can walk on a curved treadmill, this will likely mean walking in the middle of the treadmill belt so it doesn’t gain any more pace than walking speed. Although curved treadmills weren’t necessarily designed for walkers they can still be used to walk on during warm-ups or cooldowns as well as recovery between HIIT reps.
Curved Treadmills- Wrap-Up
The curved treadmill is an investment, sure.
But it’s also an awesome piece of equipment that saves electricity, burns extra calories, and fits into compact spaces.
Unless you enjoy setting the pace on a traditional treadmill, you will benefit from a new, more challenging style of training.
As you search for yours, consider price, size, assembly, and warranty.
Know that you can probably get a cheaper flat treadmill option, but it won’t be self-regulating. Read the reviews above to guide your decisions!