Treadmill Lingo and Features


No matter what brand or what quality of treadmill you’re shopping for, you’ll bump into some common terms. Read all about ‘em, so you sound like you know what you’re talking about to the salespeople! Heck, and you’ll understand the literature better.


  1. Deck - The part of a treadmill that creates a stable base upon which users walk or run. Depending on the design, a deck can reduce the impact of walking or running from that outdoors.
  2. Belt - The moving rubber loop that circles the deck upon which users walk or run.
  3. Side runners - Non-moving edges along the right and left sides next to the treadmill's belt for safe footing.
  4. Motor - The power for the belt movement, which usually ranges from 1.5-2.5 in quality home treadmills. Can be both AC and DC. Best if DC because it uses less energy.
  5. Motor Shroud - The covering at the front of the treadmill that covers and protects the motor and ensures your safety. No gnawed on toes!
  6. Emergency Stop - A button or magnet that users can push or pull with one quick motion to stop the treadmill immediately in case, for example, the speed is accidentally punched too high.
  7. Hand Rails - Bars along each side and/or front of a treadmill that are preferred on quality equipment so users feel safe and can check their balance.
  8. Display Console - The display board at the front of the treadmill, which houses the controlling electronics, from which users control their workouts, most commonly including speed (miles per hour) and incline. Displays may also include special programs, mileage covered, workout duration, calories used, speed in minutes per mile, graphics of a workout profile, or various other features, such as heart rate.
    a. incline or grade - the percent of steepness the treadmill will go up to simulate a hill. Usually from 0-15 percent.
    b. speed - how fast a treadmill will allow a user to move, using revolutions per minute of the belt. Usually from 0-10 mph in home models.
    c. calories - usually based on a 150- to 155-pound person and therefore often not accurate for everybody. For accuracy, you need to be able to over-ride the information and input your own weight.
  9. Heart Rate Monitoring - Some treadmills are compatible with Polar wireless heart rate monitors so users may wear a chest strap to pick up electric signals from the heart and see their heart rate displayed on the console, allowing for safer and more effective workouts.
  10. Start - Either a one-button or several button procedure. Some require a user to hold down a button. Some treadmills require users straddle the belt by standing on the side-runners since the belt starts moving immediately. Consider a quick-start feature so you can just go, rather than be forced to input a bunch of info.
  11. Pause - Allows the user to take a quick break to get a drink of water, towel off, or pickup something on the ground.
  12. Stop – The button that slows the belt to a stop.


Treadmill Workouts: A quick guide to technique and fun


On cold, wet or humid days, retreating indoors for a walk can sound pretty appealing.
After experiencing workouts both indoors and out early in my walking career, I began to wonder about the differences in muscular and cardiovascular use between linear movement over land and stationery walks on a treadmill. I already knew the indoor ones were more monotonous and left me feeling like a rat in a cage. But when the weather says "walk indoors or don't walk," you want to know if the indoor workout does the same for your health. Long story, short: Yes. Whether inside or out, walking for X amount of time, at X intensity, using identical technique, will use the same calories and give you an equivalent aerobic workout. If you dont feel like going to a gym, why not workout at home? Here's a link review for a 21 day fix reviews that you can do at your own home.

You do move slightly differently, though:
 The belt rotating underneath your feet means you're doing tiny little jumps up and down as you walk instead of just pushing off from behind.
 The belt will also force your forefoot to slap down quicker and perhaps harder than usual, which could cause additional shin aches.
You might also discover other tiny aches in muscles that take you by surprise because of a slightly different manner of moving. Still, better to do something, than nothing.

Now come the caveats and tips:

• Walking at X intensity" 
Notice (above) I didn't say "speed." When you're indoors on a treadmill, you don't have to overcome wind and air resistance to move your body forward. So you'll have to either choose a slightly faster speed indoors (about .1-.2 mph more; choose less the slower you're going) to reach the same outdoor intensity, or you'll have to walk the same speed but select a 1-percent grade. Both methods will allow you to match intensities. This general guideline applies to those moving at a brisk walk (less than 12-minute miles). The faster you go, the more you'd have to increase the speed (up to .3 more) for an equivalent pace, but the 1-percent rule holds true.

Check your heart rate for the best match in intensity. Wireless heart rate monitors give the most accurate continuous reading for you to check during your workout.

 Using identical technique
Too often, treadmills seduce walkers into cranking up the speed or incline beyond what they can comfortably manage. So they hang from the front bar or side handles to be able to keep up with the rotating belt.


Remember, you don't have anything to hang onto outside. If you're supporting your body weight by an object, you're using less personal energy to ambulate forward, therefore using less muscle (other than in those gripping hands) and fewer calories.
Keep speed and incline under control. Stand tall and swing your arms just as you do outside. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your eyes cast outward, not down at the controls. Using mirrors in front or beside you can help you occasionally check your technique (that's an advantage over the great outdoors).

Don't neglect making use of the exact control over speed and incline. Throw in occasional jaunts of hills or bursts of speed to break up the monotony of staring at a blank wall.