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Treadmill Ergometers for Fitness Testing

A running treadmill is a common piece of equipment in a fitness testing laboratory or sports science research lab. Basic treadmills used for fitness training are readily available, but not all will have the features required for sport science testing. Here we discuss some of the features you should look for, how to check that the speed and gradient are accurate, and some of the fitness tests that you can use a treadmill.

Please note, we do not sell treadmills directly (but here is a link to find some for sale). The information here is to describe the different treadmills available, the different features and functions, to help you chose the best treadmill for your situation.

Treadmill Ergometer Features

Here are some of the features and functions that you may find on a treadmill, some are more essential than others.

Treadmill running testTreadmill running test

Treadmill Calibration

If you are using the treadmill for research it is important to have accurate speed and gradient measurements, and not to rely solely on the display unit. It is possible to calibrate the speed and gradient. A simple way to check the calibration of a treadmill's speed by marking the treadmill mat, measuring its length, and timing how quickly the belt runs (see details of speed calibration). To calibrate the gradient requires measuring how high the front of the treadmill is raised and using simple trigonometry (see details of gradient calibration)

Fitness Tests Using Treadmills

There is a range of fitness tests using treadmill running as the primary exercise mode, from quick intense anaerobic sprint tests to longer endurance VO2 max tests. Here are just a few of the fitness tests that utilize a treadmill. See the full list.

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Testing Extra

We have over 400 fitness tests listed, so it's not easy to choose the best one to use. You should consider the validity, reliability, costs and ease of use for each test. Use our testing guide to conducting, recording, and interpreting fitness tests. Any questions, please ask or search for your answer.

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