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Adaptive Motion Trainer Vs. Treadmill

author image Jolie Johnson
Based in Austin, Texas, Jolie Johnson has been in the fitness industry for over 12 years and has been writing fitness-related articles since 2008 for various websites. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy from the University of Illinois.
Adaptive Motion Trainer Vs. Treadmill
A young woman is running on a treadmill. Photo Credit: boggy22/iStock/Getty Images

The Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT) is a cardio fitness machine made by Precor. It is a combination of an elliptical machine, treadmill and a stepper. The AMT adjusts to your preferred body motion; you can change the style of your leg movement at any time during your workout. It has independent foot pedals like an elliptical machine, but you can adjust the stride and pedal height to more closely mimic walking or running.

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The Adapative Motion Trainer is similar to an elliptical machine. It has two rotating pedals and upper body swing arms, so your arms and legs move in sync to one another. It is 80 inches long, 35 inches wide, 69 inches tall and has a maximum user capacity of 350 lbs. A treadmill has a rotating belt that moves at different speeds. The dimensions of a treadmill vary among brands and models, but most are between 68 and 78 inches long and 20 to 30 inches wide. Most treadmills can handle user loads between 250 and 400 lbs.


You can adjust the stride length and step height on the AMT machine to mimic different movements. The stride length is adjustable between 0 and 36 inches and the step height adjusts from 6.8 to 10 inches. Change your leg movements any time during the workout to simulate different activities. A zero stride length with an increased step height mimics a stepping activity. A short stride length mimics walking; a mid-range stride length mimics jogging and a long stride length mimics running.

A treadmill limits you to walking, jogging or running, but you can adjust your stride length as needed.


Like most treadmills, the Adaptive Motion Trainer has a console that provides immediate feedback about your workout, including calories burned, heart rate, time and speed. The AMT also offers 20 levels of resistance, which changes the intensity of your workout. The higher the pedal resistance, the more challenging your workout will be. A treadmill does not offer resistance levels, but most models offer an incline ramp, which also changes the intensity of your workout. The higher the incline is, the more challenging your workout will be.

Low Impact

The AMT machine is more similar to an elliptical machine than it is to a treadmill. When you use an elliptical or the AMT machine, your feet never leave the pedals. This reduces the impact on your body and joints. When you run on a treadmill, the impact of your feet is about 2 1/2 times your body weight. This results in considerable stress on your joints, particularly your knees.

Choosing A Machine

The AMT machine may be best suited to those with knee problems or other medical conditions that make high-impact exercise less safe. It's also a good choice if you are easily bored by repetition, as you can switch movements instantly. The treadmill may be best if you dislike restrictive movements, or prefer a wider stride. If cost is an issue, you can save money by purchasing a treadmill over an AMT.

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