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Freemotion REFLEX Treadmill Shows HIIT, Impact-Reduction Benefits

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Wednesday 11th September 2019 -  A major US study shows that the Freemotion REFLEX™ Treadmill is one of the most comfortable, impact-reducing and performance-enhancing running machines available in today’s market - delivering a game-changing member experience.

Conducted by a research team at a leading university*, under the direction of a scientist with both a PhD in Biomechanics and Doctorate in Physical Therapy, the purpose of the study was to determine the impact forces of running on the Freemotion REFLEX™ versus leading competitor treadmills* and flat surface running. 30 participants aged between 18 and 60 were recruited for the study, split evenly between male and female. Loadsol® force-sensors were placed in neutral running shoes to determine impact peak and fourteen different accelerometers were used to help with 3D data analysis during motion capture, with state-of-the-art scientific measures used to assess these load-related variables.

The results showed that the Freemotion REFLEX™ Treadmill averaged a 29% greater reduction in impact force and a 20.5% greater reduction in tibial shock compared to other treadmills on the market. It also registered a 52% greater reduction in tibial shock compared to flat surface running.

When a person’s foot strikes a treadmill belt, their tibia (shinbone) goes through less movement when using the Freemotion REFLEX deck in comparison to the competitors’ decks, leading to a much softer, more cushioned run.

Dan Toigo, Sr. Vice President & Managing Director at Freemotion, said: “These results are great and reflect all the resources Freemotion has invested to produce a truly game-changing and world-leading treadmill. The REFLEX™ has a unique feel that truly sets it apart from other treadmills on the market and now, with the evidence from a third party to support this, we can legitimately say that the REFLEX™ Treadmill provides one of the most comfortable and enjoyable indoor walking and running experiences available to gym members.”

One of the main reasons these results are so significant is because lower leg running injuries are commonly associated with greater tibial shock and peak positive acceleration, and impact forces absorbed by the joints can influence joint health, as evidenced in a study by Milner et al which reported significantly greater tibial shock in runners with a history of stress fracture compared to uninjured runners. Davis et al reported similar findings which showed that subjects who sustained a tibial stress fracture had higher peak positive acceleration of the tibia before incurring the fracture.

Toigo added: “For us, this is the holy grail of treadmill design and development. We can say, with authority that our treadmill enhances overall performance, leading to results, but, most importantly, it also improves the ability of a member or user to work out for longer and with far less pain post-workout.”

The boom in treadmill classes

Although the humble treadmill has always been the most popular piece of cardio equipment, in recent years, there has been a surge in demand for treadmill-based, group exercise classes, such as those delivered by Orangetheory Fitness. No longer is the treadmill just a staple gym ingredient; instead, it’s taking centre stage in sprint-interval, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and ‘half-treadmill, half gym floor’ style sessions designed to provide fun, effective and efficient workouts in community environments with a ‘tribe’ ethos.  

But the nature of these short-burst, maximum-effort classes (as great as they are for burning calories), means that there’s less opportunity to focus on form and technique, which can lead to greater injury risks.

A recent study by Rutgers University, published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, identified a steady increase in gym injuries, which the research team considered to be in line with the rising popularity of HIIT workouts. Of the average 50,944 gym injuries per year, most involved knees, ankles and shoulders.

It is therefore essential to have equipment that, no matter the workout type, can provide a supportive, feel-good workout for members with joint pains by reducing the level of impact on their bodies; the very principle that the REFLEX™ Treadmill has been designed upon.

Cushioning system for reduced impact

Easier on hips, knees and ankles, Freemotion’s proprietary REFLEX™ Cushioning system is particularly beneficial for those who have suffered injuries, have weaker joints or find it more difficult to run on harder surfaces, such as on the road. According to Chris Turvey, a Studio Manager for Orangetheory, “It’s like running on a cloud.”

*Based on Freemotion-commissioned university study comparing the impact of running on a Freemotion REFLEX™ series treadmill, a Life Fitness 95TS, a Precor TRM 835, and an in-ground treadmill with force plate. University can’t be named for legal reasons.

About Freemotion Fitness

Freemotion makes modern fitness machines that are ​safe, reliable, state-of-the-art and raise the fitness levels of passionate goal setters.​ Together with our 40-year old parent company, ICON Health & Fitness, we're believers in what’s next, what’s possible and what’s worth every drop of sweat. Learn more at the new

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