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The simple answer to how much weight can a treadmill hold is ‘it depends’. The standard weight capacity for a treadmill is between 200lbs and 250lbs. But truth be told, there’s far more to these numbers than meets the eyes.
There’s a huge difference between how much a treadmill can hold and how much of an intense workout it can manage. Sure a 400 pound person could safely stand on a 250 pound capacity treadmill and be completely fine.
Chances are you could even do a work out without breaking the treadmill. However after prolonged use, the immense amount of weight bearing pressure may take its toll on the treadmills motor.
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How Strict Are Treadmill Weight Limits
If you’re considered obese like myself, chances are you are afraid of not only injuring yourself, but also breaking the treadmill due to excess weight. So how strict are treadmill weight limits anyways?.
To be on the safe side, you should always buy a treadmill designed for heavier people. But my recommendation is to always punch above your weight. So if you weight 250 pounds, I would certainly be looking at treadmills in the 300lbs+ range.
But this is not always possible when morbidly obese. Treadmills weight capacities can only go so high. There’s cases where the user will have no choice but to be higher than the treadmills weight capacity.
The Truth Is….
While a treadmills weight rating does serve a purpose, you can kind of take it with a grain of salt. This is because there is no legislation or one body that enforces a treadmill to have the capacity tested.
So why do treadmills have weight capacities at all?. Because these numbers aren’t governed, you have to be careful you’re not just falling into some marketing trap.
You may have noticed not all treadmills even state a weight limit. It’s up to the manufacturer whether to include this information. Plus its the manufacturer that has ‘tested’ these weight ratings.
How they tested them is for them to know, and us to probably never find out. They may have gotten a 400 pound person use the treadmill for a 30 minute session and labelled it as 400 pound approved. This is not to say that after several months of heavy duty use the motor starts to give way. Which is why warranty is especially important on exercise equipment for big people.
Don’t Void The Treadmills Warranty
I’m no lawyer, but to me there’s an opportunity for manufacturers to void the treadmills warranty if you are over the recommended weight capacity. I wouldn’t take the risk of using a treadmill that is under my weight, unless as mentioned above you have no choice.
Because of the extra weight we put on the treadmill, its also advisable to buy the extended warranty if possible. While you may be under the weight capacity, the motor does have to work harder for say a 400 pound person compared to a 300 pound person.
Manufactures also have a way of presenting the specifications of the treadmills in various manners that makes it very difficult for the consumer to compare. So more often than not, I will go for a product that is within my weight capacity but with the best warranty conditions. So its best to be on the safe side and not waste a ton of money down the track.
Along with a decent warranty and a high weight capacity, a treadmill that has a UL Certificate is also a good sign. While it can also be used as a marketing ploy, the fact they have got a UL Certificate saying that the treadmill has passed stringent examinations is more reassuring then not having one.
Horsepower Counts Towards How Much A Treadmill Can Hold?
When you compare the big persons treadmills, you will notice in the comparison table I have included each treadmills horsepower. Not only is it a factor that stands out to us as consumers, it’s also a very important factor to consider for a heavy person using a treadmill.
But again manufactures make it confusing for us to understand exactly what we are buying. There are various ways a manufacture may present the treadmills horse power such as:
- Peak Duty – Manufactures may label the horsepower down as peak duty. This is the maximum amount of horsepower the motor can run at while on the hardest workout. This is not sustainable and can only be achieved in short bursts. Not a very reliable number to work on.
- Treadmill Duty – This is best described as the average workout horsepower. This also includes the workout for an average size person, not a big person. So the motor would have to work harder with a heavy person so not the most accurate reading.
- Continuous Horsepower – The best way to gauge the treadmills capability and power.
CHP Treadmills Are Best For Heavy People
Continuous Horsepower (CHP) is the best measurement you can take away form a treadmills specifications page. This number of horsepower reflects the amount of power the treadmill uses at a minimum on all workouts, even when going at its hardest.
A treadmill with a CHP motor will last longer as it is a higher quality design. It’s intended to work smoothly while under higher loads of pressure. All commercial grade treadmills use CHP as they can handle any user.
A treadmills with CHP will also have varying numbers like 2CHP. The lower the rating the worse off they are. However, around 1.5CHP is considered the entry level. But when teamed up with some decent RPM’s, the treadmill can be quite a solid performer. The more high end treadmills will have a CHP of 4.
Weight Capacity For A Treadmill Is Important
So to sum everything up, the treadmills weight capacity is important to a degree. While the treadmills weight capacity may not be entirely accurate, it’s a good gauge to go off as it’s also considering other important features of the treadmills motor.
If you are of average body size and weight, you can use just about any treadmill. A treadmill on the lower end of the power scale with a 1.5 CHP and a average RPM rate of 4000 will be suffice to 70-90% of the population.
But don’t be fooled into thinking the more RPM’s the better. A treadmill with a high CHP and rpm’s of 8000 will cause the motor to work a lot harder and spin a lot faster which can result in the motor burning out far quicker.
Tips For Using A Treadmill When Obese
So now that you know what to look for when buying a heavy persons treadmill, learning how to use the thing is the next important step. Below you can find a funny yet informative video called ‘treadmill for fat or obese people’. One can never be too informed.