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The almighty treadmill. It’s often the first piece of equipment that comes to mind when building out a gym. It's the king of cardio and a necessary addition to any setup or routine for beginners and pros alike.

It’s no wonder these machines are so popular. Hopping on a treadmill is an effective way to boost endurance, improve cardiovascular health, and burn fat.

You probably have a pretty good idea of how a treadmill works, but when it's time to buy your own, it’s worth doing a little research on the different options to find the right product to suit you or your gym’s needs.  

The classic or the standard treadmill is likely the type that you are most familiar with. It’s the most common treadmill in professional gyms and (like most of its counterparts) features a motor powered belt that moves over a platform or running deck. In order to not get spit off the machine, the user has to walk or run at a speed that matches the belt’s. 

If space isn’t an issue, the standard treadmill is a fine way to go and can accommodate slow strolls all the way to full sprints.

Folding treadmills work the same way, but are a more popular and discreet choice for home gyms or any gym with limited space. The running deck on these treadmills can be folded up and locked into place which makes them more compact and allows you to keep them out of the way when not in use.

View all folding treadmills

Rehabilitation or walking treadmills have a few special features that set them apart and make them ideal for rehabilitation, physical therapy, and other commercial uses. Components like large handrails on either side and prominent “off” buttons add an extra level of safety to these machines. They also have belts that can reverse, low initial speeds, and are typically very easy to use and control. 

Lastly, in a group all their own, we have manual or self-powered, curved treadmills. These are unique because they are non-motorized. When using this type of equipment, you power the belt by the movement of your feet while walking or running. This, of course, makes the workout a bit more challenging. 

Fans of this type of machine suggest that it more closely mimics running on the ground and can be a great way to train and build muscle strength for serious runners. 

For the most part, there are some common features that the types listed above all share. Most motorized machines come with adjustable incline and buttons that allow you to set your pace. Built-in consoles display those settings as well as estimated calories burned, pace, and time. 

The treadmill is an extremely approachable piece of exercise equipment that is appropriate for use at virtually any fitness level. The adjustable settings provide variety to any routine and can help anyone reach their workout goals. 

Whether you’re wanting to walk, jog, run, or any pace in between, the treadmill will help keep you moving all year round.