Treadmill Strength. Answer for all the Heathers out there.

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Hello, we’ve got an excellent question from a college student named Heather that I thought I would like to address.

Hi! Your website has been very informative and helpful! I’ve read every review on treadmills in and out of my price range.
I’ve a quick question. If a treadmill is rated at 2.25 or 2.5 chp for 300 lbs, and supports a 10 mph speed limit, why are they not good for running or jogging? My typical workout at the gym is to run 2-3 miles set between, 5.3, 5.6 and 6 mph, with a final burst of 7 sometimes near the end, 4-5x a week. (I’m 5’1/ 102 lbs which is why 5.3 feels like a good pace:) ).
My problem is, I’m a college student, paying full tuition and books without student loans, and paying for a wedding in April, 2012. I’ve no credit cards and can only afford a treadmill around $600-$750.
Can a 2.25 chp support my weight to desired speed ratio for 5x a week, for at least 3 years without the treadmill motor spitting fire and the deck crumbling?
Thanks so much for any advice or a quick/ yes or no!
Heather, TX.

Thank you Heather, and might I say, I’m quite impressed if you’ve read every treadmill review in and out of your price range. Heck, on my site alone I’ve got over 500 reviews, you must be reading a lot! I think I understand your question. In a lot of reviews we will say that a treadmill has a weight capacity of say 300 lbs with a 2.5 CHP motor, yet we still say it’s not meant for running. How does that make sense you ask?

It entirely depends on the model and brand of the treadmill. Some treadmills really can hold someone running full speed at their weight capacity, and some cannot. I think some decide their weight capacity by setting weight on it carefully for 5 seconds to see if it doesn’t break (not really but that’s what it seems like). For heavier runners, weight capacity and motor size are important factors because we can break treadmills if we’re not careful.

In your case, I don’t know too many treadmill model that would strain under your 102 lbs going 7MPH. Perhaps some of the crumbly Weslo models, but at $600-$750 you can find a good selection of treadmills that would have no problem holding you, even running at your consistency and intensity.

As far as the motor goes, you at your weight wouldn’t cause the motor much strain either. Still, I wouldn’t risk going under 2.5 CHP. When they get smaller than that, it usually means they’re also not very good quality, which means they operate at high heat and high RPMs, and can tend to just burn themselves out. Although you’re light, I would still recommend getting the strongest and most powerful you can find, because those tend to be the most durable and solid. May I recommend a few?

At $599, the Proform Performance 400 (although it’s 2.25 CHP, the motor is well built)
At $699, the Nordictrack A2550 Pro. 2.5CHP, Very impressive motor and overall durability at such a low cost.
At $799, The Nordictrack A2750 Pro. 2.75CHP Motor, and 350 lb weight limit. Awesome Warranty, and unbeatable specifications in its price class, as well as lots of features you would probably like.

(These links are coupon links, so if you decide to buy any of those, you’ll see a little treat in your shopping cart when you click ‘add to cart’:)

I think if you use any of these the way you described, they would hold up just fine for 3 years and probably more. I hope this helps you out. Good luck on your wedding and schooling! And thanks for the great question.

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About Treadmill Sensei

Treadmill SenseiThe Treadmill Sensei has been in the fitness industry for several years. He is familiar with several brands of fitness equipment and has written several reviews of many different treadmills and elliptical machines. You can see what he thinks are the best treadmills or you can get help choosing a treadmill.

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About My Treadmill Reviews

TreadmillMy treadmill reviews are both subjective and objective. They are objective in the sense that I will provide you with information about each machine, such as motor, weight capacity and other features. But they are subjective in the sense that I am really giving my opinion of each treadmill. You may agree or disagree with my opinion, but my hope is that my elliptical and treadmill reviews can be helpful to you in making a decision on what to buy. Remember that each review is just what I think. You can always check out Treadmill Doctor, Treadmill Review Guru or these other treadmill reviews if you want another opinion.