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Bowflex TreadClimber vs. Treadmill

author image Lisa M. Wolfe
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.
Bowflex TreadClimber vs. Treadmill
Reap cardio benefits on a treadmill or TreadClimber. Photo Credit: Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

TreadClimbers and a treadmills are cardiovascular exercise machines that burn calories, improve your heart health and strengthen your endurance. Both exercises are leg-focused as you use your legs to perform the movement. These similarities exist, but the differences between the two workouts are not subtle. You'll find different belt operations, speeds, inclines and workout intensities when you choose one over the other.

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Step by Step

A treadmill has a platform upon which a belt slides backward. The width of the belts vary by the manufacturer, but a typical belt is approximately 2 feet wide. You walk forward as the belt moves backward. A Bowflex TreadClimber has two platforms and two belts and resembles a treadmill that is split in half. The belts are approximately 10 inches in width, with enough room for one of your feet. The platforms raise up as your foot slides to the end of the belt. You push down on the platform to resemble a stair-climbing motion as you bring your foot forward. Some TreadClimbers have the option of locking the two platforms together to resemble a treadmill workout.

Resistance Type

The belt moves across the treadmill platform at a continuous resistance that is powered by a motor. If the treadmill is not motor-powered, you push the belt backward with each step you take. You can alter the resistance on the TreadClimber so more effort is required to push down the platform as you step. The resistance is controlled by two hydraulic tubes connected to each platform. The levels of resistance increase as the number increases. One is the lightest resistance and 12 is the heaviest.

Run or Walk

The Bowflex TreadClimbers are used as a walking exercise. The speed does not exceed 4.5 miles per hour. In contrast, a treadmill provides a walking, jogging or running workout. Most treadmills operate at speeds of at least 10 mph. Others go slightly higher to 12 mph. Both the TreadClimber and treadmills begin at a slow speed of 0.5 to 1.0 mph for safe usage.

Take It Up

Another variation offered by the treadmill is an incline adjustment. Instead of walking on a flat surface, you can raise the front of the platform to simulate uphill walking or running. Many treadmills offer an incline adjustment of zero to 10 percent, while others are up to 15 percent. It is a rare find, but some treadmills reach a maximum of a 40-percent incline. The TreadClimber's incline is not adjustable. The height of the platforms corresponds to how fast you are walking and the amount of resistance you select.

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