Almost every treadmill has handles that you can hold on to while running. But why actually? Do you need the handles at all? Or do they even have a negative impact on your running? In today’s article I will get to the bottom of this question and introduce you to the best treadmills without handles. Have fun! 😉
The Pros and Cons of Handles on a Treadmill
Let’s first take a look at how the handles are used by most people using a treadmill and how this affects their running.
Unfortunately, I see it again and again that treadmill runners hold on to the side handles during their workout. Even though this may sound completely harmless, it might cause some serious issues. Here is why:
The Natural Running Style
Running on a treadmill should provide the most authentic and natural running experience possible and come as close as possible to normal running outside. However, if you hold on to the handles, your natural running style changes. Especially your typical upright posture is affected, which can lead to severe back pain in the long run. Additionally, running becomes less effective in that way.
The Calories Burned
Another important aspect in this context is the calories that you burn. If you hold on to the handles, you avoid the natural swing of the arms and thus take away a large part of the movement. This means that your body will need to provide less energy, so that you will ultimately burn less calories.
In addition, holding on to the handles will reduce the body weight that your legs have to carry, which further reduces the amount of calories burned.
So why are the handles still used so often?
In my opinion, it is just cheating on oneself. I keep watching people who set the speed and incline much too high, so that they can only meet these demands by using the handles. But that’s not what running on a treadmill is supposed to be. It is far more beneficial to choose lower speed levels without using the handles.
Why Do Treadmills Even Have Handles?
So, you better take it slow and avoid using the handles. The real reason treadmills have handles is that they give us support in case of an emergency! So, they are not meant as a permanent solution, but as an emergency solution.
Especially if you are doing interval training with some sprints and can no longer maintain your speed at certain points, you can use the handles to prevent falling.
A small exception are the manual treadmills. With these models without a motor, we have to apply a lot of force to get them moving. The only way we can apply such a large amount of energy is by holding on to the side handles and transferring the force to the treadmill. If you want to learn more about manual treadmills without a motor, check out this blog post.
Who Should Buy a Treadmill Without Handles?
A treadmill without handles is recommended for walking or running at a slow pace. When you want to run at a fast pace, I would recommend a treadmill with handles. However, as I said, the handles are only an emergency solution. The same applies to treadmills for seniors, where the handles can be very useful in cases of need.
On the other hand, if you can do without sprinting, then you can safely use a treadmill without handles. In general: As long as you feel safe at a certain pace, you don’t need handles.
For residents of a very small rental apartment who are concerned about saving space, a treadmill without handles also makes sense, because these models are much more compact and easier to store.
There are also some treadmills without handles that you can use as desk treadmills for the office. These ones can be placed under your desk and will help you to stay fit while working. If you’re interested, here you can learn more about the benefits of using a treadmill at work.
The Best Treadmills Without Handles
The FUNMILY Folding Treadmill
The FUNMILY Folding Treadmill is probably the best and most budget-friendly treadmill without handles that you can currently buy.
It comes with a 2.25 HP strong motor that allows paces of up to 7.5 mph. Certainly there are faster models, but for running at a leisurely pace, this is completely sufficient.
If you want to run a higher paces, you can actually unfold the treadmill so that its handles will appear. So, this treadmill is a 2-in-1 solution that you can use with or without handles.
It also comes with transport wheels, which make sure that the treadmill can be stored space-savingly when not in use and can be moved easily. A blessing for all residents of a small rental apartment. 😉
In the end, you will have to decide for yourself whether this treadmill meets your expectations or not. I would recommend that you just take a further look at this one. Here you will find it.
XSpec Walking Treadmill
A good alternative is the XSpec Walking Treadmill, which in principle is very similar to the first mentioned recommendation. However, the maximum speed here is 3.7 mph, which means that it is more suitable for walking and running at very leisurely paces. For example, it is perfect if you want to use it under the desk in your office.
In comparison to the FUNMILY treadmill, this machine is also a bit smaller both in width and length and therefore takes up even less space.
All in all, this is also a good treadmill without handles. Again, I guess it would be best to have a look at this model for yourself. Here you can do so.
Final Thoughts on Treadmills Without Handles
Unfortunately, the handles on the side or front of a treadmill are still used far too often and are misappropriated. Although they are actually more of a stopgap solution, many runners use them on a permanent basis, thus damaging their own posture and running style.
For walking and casual running, treadmills without handles are recommended, since in this case handles are just useless. In addition, these models are also more space-saving and usually cheaper.
I hope I could help you with this article. If you still have further questions or suggestions on this topic, please feel free to send me a mail or just leave a comment below.
Otherwise, have fun with your new treadmill without handles! 😉