SKILLMILL TRAINING vs. CONVENTIONAL TREADMILL | APRIL 2018

We all know that running is a great way to get into shape and to increase our fitness. Whether you’re looking to become healthier, train for a sport, boost mood or to lose weight, running is one of the simplest forms of exercise.

Although it doesn’t always feel natural at first, running is something our bodies are designed to do, and indoor treadmill running seems to be just as common as running in the great outdoors.

For me, running on a treadmill has never really featured in my workouts. For a start, if you don’t use the programmes or adjust the settings, it is just a bit too easy compared with running outside. This is because the machine is designed to help you. You may have noticed that running on a flat treadmill is more like running downhill. This is because the belt draws the leg backwards for you, and this reduces the amount of work required from the Glutes and Hamstrings, and increases hip flexor activation. As a rule of thumb, running should activate these posterior chain muscles greatly, but often they are simply not engaged fully if you are running on a flat treadmill.

Whilst treadmills are great pieces of kit, there is a newer, smarter version on the scene, one which I believe will really take off, and in years to come, even replace the king of the cardio machines. The SkillMill, in stark contrast to the treadmill, has been designed for those looking to develop power, stamina, agility and speed. There are so many different things you can do on the SkillMill, and it’s great for high intensity interval training.

There are essentially three main differences between the conventional treadmill and the SkillMill: no motor, the curved running platform and the resistance lever.

When I used the SkillMill for the first time, one of the strangest things to get used to was the fact that the belt moves in response to what you do with your feet. There are no buttons to press, and no thinking about what speed to set it to. You just run! As the machine is self-powered, the running speed can be inconsistent - forcing your body to constantly make small adjustments, which is great for coordination. 

Once you get used to that, you’ll notice that the curved shape encourages you to maintain the correct body position (if you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll lose your balance!), and this enhances the activation of your core muscles. It’s simple to make the belt move faster, you simply shift your body forwards towards the top of the curve, and return back to the centre of the machine when you wish to slow down.

The resistance lever on the right-hand side of the machine is the true USP of the SkillMill. There are 10 levels of resistance, and depending on the exercise you are doing, you simply change it by pushing or pulling the resistance handle. The combination of the curved surface and the resistance makes the SkillMill the ultimate cardio machine for developing strength and stamina at the same time!

The versatility and simplicity of the SkillMill is really attractive, but what I love about it is that you don’t have to slog it out for hours to get great results. It is designed with muscle recruitment in mind. It allows the muscles in the back of your legs and your bum to do what they’re supposed to do, and with regular use, you’ll see the results very quickly. If, like me, you are looking to train at a high intensity to burn calories and build strength, then this is something you must try!

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