The Best Treadmill for Sprinters

The Best Treadmill for Sprinters

Treadmill running has become increasingly popular, even among experienced runners. They allow you to run uninterrupted, regardless of the weather conditions or the time of day. The built-in technology can also make your training more interesting. If you are a sprinter, however,  most of the general use treadmills on the market are not going to cut it for you.

You need a machine that is going to allow you to get the same amount of speed that you can on the running field and that is going to as closely as possible simulate your natural running action.

In this article, I identify the 10 best treadmills for sprinters that will give sprinters the in-home training that they need to be to their best.

A Quick Overview of the Top 3

The best treadmill for sprinters on today’s market is the Assault Fitness Runner. This is a manual curved treadmill that is powered by your own running efforts that mimic the natural running action.

Our second favorite treadmill is the Nautilus T-618, with a 3.5 hp motor, 26 workout programs, and a 12.5 miles maximum running speed. 

Rounding out our top 3 treadmills for sprinters is the Nordictrack Commercial 1750, with a max speed of 12 miles per hour, Reflex cushioning technology, and decline as well as incline capability. 

The 10 Best Treadmills for Sprinters:

Pros:

  • No upper speed limit
  • Mimics natural running motion
  • Ideal for serious athletes
  • Very sturdy
  • 350 lb max user weight

Cons:

  • No motorized treadmill extras such as a fan or tablet holder

The Assault Fitness Air Runner is a curved treadmill that features a concave running bed design. There is no motor on this machine, requiring you to power it completely manually. When you push down and back with each foot strike the belt produces motion. This makes it harder to get started but, when you do, the running experience is more fluid and natural. There is also no speed limit on this machine. The more effort you exert, the faster you will sprint. That makes this the ideal sprinting treadmill for serious athletes. 

The Assault Fitness Air Runner features a very sturdy frame, as evidenced by the 350-pound max user weight. The running belt is made of a very durable, non-slip rubber material, which the manufacturer claims will last for 150,000 miles without any need for tension adjustment. 

The console on the Air Runner is pretty basic, as is the case with most curved treadmills. It will allow you to keep tabs on your time, distance, speed, and calories burned.

Pros:

  • Low sti3.5 hp motor
  • 26 workout programs
  • 12.5 mph max speed
  • 15-degree incline

Cons:

  • Unimpressive warranty

The Nautilus T-618 comes with a very powerful 3.5 hp motor to allow you to sprint at full capacity. It comes with a massive 26 built-in workout programs, including a number of sprint-based and high-intensity programs. The running bed is 20 inches wide and 60 inches in length, providing plenty of room to run naturally. 

The Nautilus T-618 provides a maximum 15-degree incline to allow you to perform hill sprints. In addition to the built-in heart rate monitor, you also get a heart strap monitor to more accurately check your pulse. It features Bluetooth connectivity to open up your training experience to a whole new world of running excitement. The console syncs with the Run Social App which allows you to run at 19 locations and 27 routes around the world. 

Pros:

  • 22 inch wide running belt
  • Max speed 12 mph
  • -3 – +15 incline
  • Reflex cushioning technology
  • Whisper Quiet
  • Lifetime frame warranty

Cons:

  • Difficult to assemble

The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 has a very wide running belt at 22 inches, to accommodate even the largest of sprinters. Combine that with the 12 mph maximum speed, an incline/decline range of between negative 3 and positive 15 degrees, and patented Reflex cushioning technology and you have got a very good sprinting treadmill.

The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 features WhisperQuiet technology to produce a very quiet running experience. You get a handlebar heart rate monitor but there is no telemetry strap to give you a really accurate pulse rate indication. This treadmill is Bluetooth capable along with 3 cooling fans.

The warranty on this treadmill is impressive, with a lifetime cover on the frame and 5 years on parts. 

Pros:

  • 400 lb max user weight
  • Max speed 12 mph
  • 0-15 degrees incline
  • 11 built-in workout programs

Cons:

  • Does not have a decline function

Bowflex is most well known for their unique range of resistance training machines featuring power rod technology. However, they also produce a range of treadmills. The Bowflex TXT 216 has a very solid 340-pound frame that can handle a max user weight of 400 pounds. That makes this a great option for overweight people. 

The Bowflex TXT 216 is powered by a 4 CHP motor, giving a top speed of 12 miles per hour. The running bed features patented cushioning technology to reduce foot impact on your joints. You also get 0-15 degrees incline to ramp up your training intensity. Eleven workouts have been built into this treadmill to provide you with a range of workout options designed by leading fitness professionals. 

The TXT 216 comes with a wireless heart rate chest strap monitor.

This is a foldable treadmill. It also has rollers. That means that you can simply fold it and roll it away after your workout. 

Pros:

  • Max user weight 400 lbs
  • Very sturdy
  • Patented roller deck running bed
  • Precision bearings

Cons:

  • Heavy

The SpeedFit Sprint Treadmill is a curved manual treadmill that requires you to work harder than when running on a motorized treadmill. This allows you to burn up to 30 percent more calories. The frame on this machine is pretty heavy, weighing in at 308 pounds. But it is also very solid, allowing for a max user weight of 400 pounds. That is good news for sprinters, as it means that you will remain stable even when running at full speed.

The SpeedFit Sprint running deck is unique, even when compared to other curved treadmills. That’s because it features a patented roller deck designed known as SpeedBoard Pro XL. Precision bearing and very strong rubber make the running bed even more impressive.

Pros:

  • Max Speed 12 mph
  • 22 x 62-inch running belt
  • Enhanced shock absorbency
  • 8 workout programs

Cons:

  • Larger than normal footprint

The 3G Cardio Elite Runner is a serious treadmill that is designed for serious runners. The running bed on this machine is the largest on the list, at 22 inches by 62 inches. It is very well built, with a strong frame that handles a max user weight of 400 pounds. The running belt features 3G’s Otho Flex Shock Absorbency system to minimize the impact on your joints.

The 3G Cardio Elite Runner features wider than normal side platforms, making it easier to get in and off the running bed. The wide platforms are also great if you are doing HIIT training and have to jump your feet to the sides of the running belt during the workout. 

There are 8 workout programs built into this treadmill’s console. It has a maximum speed of 8 miles per hour and includes an incline function for hill sprints. 

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Max speed 12 miles per hour
  • Folding
  • Incline function

Cons:

  • Running bed limited to 55 inches in length

The Schwinn 830 treadmill is a budget model treadmill that is suitable for sprinting. It features a 2.75 CHP motor that delivers a maximum speed of 12 miles per hour. The running belt is impressively wide for the price of this unit at 20 inches. However, the 55-inch bed length may not be able to comfortably accommodate larger runners.

The Schwinn 830 is a folding treadmill that features the Drop Soft folding mechanism. This allows you to fold and unfold the treadmill with just the touch of a button. The incline goes up to 12 degrees, which is a little less than most other treadmills on this list, but still good for the price. SoftTrack cushioning reduces the impact on your joints. 

There are an impressive 22 workout programs with this treadmill and it has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds.

Pros:

  • Max user weight of 324 lbs
  • ProShox cushioning
  • Max speed 10 mph

Cons:

  • Quite noisy

The ProForm 505 CST treadmill is a popular, affordable offering from ProForm. It offers a maximum user weight of 325 pounds and has a running belt that measures 20 x 55 inches. ProShox cushioning provides extra joint protection for your ankles and knees. There are 18 preset workout programs built into this machine and is iFit enabled. 

The maximum speed of the ProForm 505 CST is 10 miles per hour. The incline on this machine goes up to 10 percent. You also get a tablet holder and a 5-inch backlit display on the LCD monitor.

Pros:

  • Max speed 12 miles per hour
  • 22 inch wide running belt
  • Bluetooth
  • 10 workout programs

Cons:

  • Handrails do not extend

The Sole F80 treadmill is fitted with a 3.5 hp motor and a max speed of 12 miles per hour. It also has a 15 percent max incline. The running belt is 22 inches wide but just 55 inches wide and the max user weight is 375 pounds. 

There are 10 built-in workout programs with the Sole F80 treadmill, including a sprint workout. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to connect to the Sole app to record your workout details and analyze your training diagnostics. There is also a tablet holder and a backlit display on the display screen.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Supportive cushioning

Cons:

  • Running belt only 17” x 47”

The Ancheer Folding Treadmill is a budget alternative for those looking to get in a good sprint workout in the comfort of their own home. Though lightweight and foldable, this treadmill is pretty stable, so that it will not move around when you are running at full speed. 

The running belt of the Ancheer folding treadmill is several layers thick to provide a high degree of cushioning. However, the running deck of this unit is just 17 x 47 inches. That makes it too small for larger people However if you are under 5’ 10′ ‘ this will be an affordable, efficient machine for you to sprint on. 

Buyer’s Guide

With such a huge range of treadmills available for sale, it makes it difficult to choose the right one for your needs. To help break it down, let’s take a look at the options available on the market.

Standard Motorized Treadmill

With motorized treadmills, the motor drives the movement of the running belt. As the runner, you have to march your running speed to the movement of the running belt. You are able to quickly control the speed of the belt with the console controls. Low-priced motorized treadmills will lack motor power so that you have a limited maximum speed. If you are paying less than a thousand dollars, you will be unlikely to get a motorized treadmill with a max speed of more than 9 miles (15 km) per hour.

More expensive commercial treadmills will go up to 12.5 miles (20 km) per hour. This should be sufficient for most people who are wanting to sprint on their treadmill. 

Most motorized treadmills will also allow you to adjust the incline angle of the running bed. This allows them to simulate hill sprint work. The best treadmills will allow you to adjust from 0-15 percent in increments of one percent. 

Many motorized treadmills also allow you to connect to apps that massively increase your workout options. One great example of this is Zwift, which essentially has you running in a virtual world. You can run alongside anyone else who is connected to Zwift, participate in running events and chat with other people. You can even have races with other users.

The more expensive manual treadmills will have Bluetooth connectivity built into them. They offer a range of built-in training programs and apps to track your training diagnostics. 

Compact and foldable treadmills will allow you to make maximum use of your available space. Treadmills take up quite a lot of real estate, so the ability to store your machine away under a bed or in a cupboard after use is an attractive feature for many. Foldable treadmills will not be as sturdy as those that are not foldable. This may cause some instability when you are running at maximum speed. 

Non-Motorized Treadmill 

With this type of treadmill, there is no motor, so you self-propel the running bed through your own power. That means that you, rather than the motor, are in charge of how fast you run. This makes your running experience more natural as there are fluctuations in your running pace

Non-motorized treadmills have come a long way in recent years. Curved bed non-motorized treadmills have become popular in the last couple of years. These treadmills are especially good for sprint work as they don’t require that you touch any buttons to adjust the speed or pace. You are also not limited by any pre-set maximum speed on these treadmills. 

The effort required on a curved treadmill is quite a lot more than you need to exert on a motorized treadmill. Running on the treadmills also takes some getting used to. Curved treadmills will also train your body to run in a more ergonomically correct way. 

If you are a performance-oriented runner, you should make your choice between either a high-end Bluetooth motorized treadmill and a curved treadmill. 

FAQs

Will a curved treadmill make me a better runner?

Yes, curved treadmills can help you to be a better runner. In effect, it trains your body to run in a biomechanically correct manner. The treadmill is designed to activate all of the muscles of your lower body. The curved running bed transfers energy from your foot to the running bed more efficiently, more naturally, and more joint-friendly than if you were to sprint on a conventional treadmill. Your foot will also remain in contact with the running bed for longer. This provides a greater transfer of energy from your foot to the running belt. 

People who are heel strikers will find it very difficult to run on a curved treadmill. This will train them to adjust to becoming a ball of the foot striker. Essentially when you are running on a  curved treadmill, it is like you are lying on a memory foam mattress, providing you with a sensation of running on air.

Is running on a treadmill giving you the same speed as running outside?

When you run on an electronic treadmill, you will find it slightly easier than running outdoors. That is because you have the assistance of the running belt moving under your feet. When you are running on a treadmill indoors you also do not have to contend with the effects of the wind.

However, when you are running on a curved treadmill, you do not have the assistance of a moving running belt beneath you. This more closely approximates the actual outdoor running experience. Of course, when you are running on a curved treadmill, you still do not have the wind to deal with. Overall, however, a curved treadmill will most closely approximate the outdoor running experience. 

Is running on a treadmill easier than running outside?

When you run on a treadmill you have the benefit of a padded running bed. This makes it less impactful on the joints to run on a treadmill. There is, however, a downside to this. When you run on a treadmill, you are not conditioning the shock-absorbing muscles of your lower body. As a result, when you do end up running on a solid surface, you will be more likely to suffer such injuries as stress fractures. 

Should I increase my intensity by running faster with no incline or running slower with an incline?

If your goal is to develop overall fitness then you should do both. The incline work will focus on building strength and power while the flat, faster workout will concentrate on developing foot speed, endurance, and stamina. 

Can you train for a race on a  treadmill?

Yes, you can train for a race on a treadmill, but you should not do so exclusively. You should include hill runs by adding incline work on the treadmill. You should also do at least one weekly outdoor run each of the last four weeks leading up to your race. In addition, you should do strength training twice per week, performing such exercises as squats, lunges, hip extensions, push-ups, and planks. 

Conclusion

If you want to use your home treadmill for sprint training you can’t just buy any treadmill that looks good. Many models, especially those under a thousand dollars, will not provide you with a large enough motor or enough quality cushioning in the running belt to meet the needs of the serious runner. Use the guide provided in this article to help you select the best sprint treadmill to meet your training needs and your budget. 

This article was last updated on September 3, 2021 .

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By Steve Theunissen

Steve is a former gym owner, personal trainer, and 20-year veteran of the fitness writing industry. Steve has written for websites such as Hardcore Muscle, Fitness, Carblite, and Men's Health and has been a fitness expert columnist for 2 international magazines.