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Freestrider vs Treadmill – Which is Best For You?

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freestrider vs treadmill
Nordictrack Freestride Trainer

Trying to compare the Nordictrack Freestrider vs Treadmill?

The Freestride Trainer is a very popular machine that goes beyond a traditional elliptical trainer.

Instead of one set stride length, you get an adaptable stride – of up to 38 inches.

So you have a lot more freedom with the Freestrider than traditional elliptical trainers. You also get a lower impact exercise machine.

But treadmills have advantages too. How does the Freestrider compare? And which is best for you?

This is kind of like comparing apples to oranges – it really depends on your tastes.

However here are a few of the main benefits of each one to help you decide:


Freestrider vs Treadmill: Price


Freestride trainers are premium, specialized elliptical trainers with heavy-duty construction.  So they tend to start a bit higher than many starter treadmills or elliptical trainers.

For example Freestride trainers start around $1599 with Free Shipping here and go up to about $2999 for the premium model.


freestride trainer vs treadmill comparison
Nordictrack FS9i Freestrider


Treadmills vary in price – they’re all over the board. But if you’re looking for a well built starter treadmill, it will run you about $799 to $1299.

If you’re a runner however, you’ll need more from your treadmill – like a tougher motor, stronger deck and better construction overall.  So you should expect to spend at least $1500 or more if you want something that’s going to last you – and won’t kill your knees or hips with cheap cushioning.


nordictrack commercial 2450 treadmill review
Nordictrack Commercial 2450 Treadmill


Nordictrack treadmills for example start around $799 and range up to $2499 with Free Shipping here – and you can find a range of starter to runner-friendly and commercial grade treadmills to suit your tastes.



Freestrider vs Treadmill – Motion


These two machines give you different types of motion. For example on the Freestrider you can run forward and back. You can also change your stride length and do short, stair-climbing strides, longer jogging strides or even longer hurdling type strides.


freestride trainer vs treadmill



You can also go backwards as well. And there’s even incline to change the slope of your elliptical pathway. So you have a LOT of options here to change it up and crosstrain.

The treadmill gives you options too however. You can walk or run. You can go at an incline or flat plane. However the treadmill is the better choice for walkers as the Freestrider really is meant to mimic a running motion.


freestrider vs treadmill



So while both machines give you lots of different motion options – it really depends on whether you prefer walking to running. The treadmill is best for walking. However the Freestrider might have the slight edge when it comes to crosstraining and challenging your body with different motions.



Freestrider vs Treadmill – Upper Body


The Freestrider does beat out the treadmill here as it allows you to work your upper body with the moving arms. With a treadmill, you can still work your upper body – but you’ll need to add some 2 or even 5 pound handweights as you walk.

freestride trainer vs treadmill




Freestrider vs Treadmill – Console


The console is more important than most people realize – mainly because it’s what you’ll be staring at for a good portion of your workout. You want a console that is backlit (as non-backlit consoles can be extremely hard to read).


nordictrack 970 treaadmill console
Nordictrack treadmill console



You also want a console that gives you steady feedback (as consoles that toggle back and forth can also be pretty annoying).

But it’s also more than that. The right console can keep you entertained (or distracted) so that you end up spending more time than you’d thought on your exercise machine – which means better health and even better weight loss results.

With that said, treadmills can give you a lot of fantastic options when it comes to the console. For example the Nordictrack Commercial 1750 treadmill – seen below – comes with a full-color, touch-screen console with web browser. So you can surf the net in full color, read emails or watch YouTube videos as you walk.



freestrider vs treadmill comparison



However some of the starter treadmills – like the C700 treadmill – seen below – for example come with a simple, plain console with none of these options. So again, it really depends on the price level as to what kind of console and entertainment options you get.


freestride trainer vs treadmill
Nordictrack C700 Console



The Freestrider, because it is a premium machine, gives you a lot of bells and whistles which can make your workouts a lot more fun. You get the full color console with web browser on both the FS7i and FS9i.



freestrider vs treadmill
Freestride Trainer FS9i Console


So you can surf the web or watch YouTube videos on these machines as well. You also get iPod docks with speakers and built-in fans to keep you cool.



Freestrider vs Treadmill – Calories Burned


While most people want to know the answer to the question – which will burn more calories – unfortunately there is no set answer. Why? Because it really depend on you.

For example there are ways to burn more calories with both a Freestride trainer and a treadmill. It all comes down to how many muscles you use (especially lower body muscles which are calorie hogs), how long you workout and how hard you work.

nordictrack freestrider vs treadmill comparison



For example you can walk on a high incline on a treadmill at 2.5 MPH and you’ll burn a lot more calories than if you run on the lowest setting of resistance on the Freestrider without using the arms.

However if you want to burn more calories on your Freestrider you’ll want to build in high intensity intervals (by increasing the resistance levels up and down) and also try using incline to work different muscle groups.

If you want to burn more calories on your treadmill, you’ll want to build in high intensity intervals by walking at high inclines – or even consider buying an incline trainer – seen below – which burns up to 5 times the calories at 40% incline vs 0% incline.


nordictrack freestrider vs treadmill




Freestrider vs Treadmill – Impact

While many treadmills today have much better cushioning systems than in the past, unfortunately they still do have some impact on your joints.

Because the footpedals on the Freestrider ride on belts, rather than the traditional rails attached to the crank, it gives you more of a feeling of “running on air” and is smooth with nearly zero impact.


freestride trainer vs nordictrack treadmill



So if you’re prone to injury or shin splints, the Freestrider is obviously the better choice.



Freestrider vs Treadmill – Footprint


Most treadmills have a larger footprint (aka take up more space) than the Freestride Trainer. However treadmills can be folded up and rolled away.


nordictrack freestrider vs treadmill



The Freestride Trainer does not fold up. And because it’s heavy, it’s not really recommended that you move it out of the way on a regular basis.



Bottom Line?

Both the Freestride trainer and the treadmill have unique benefits. The Freestride trainer gives you a lower impact workout and it’s better for runners and those who want a better crosstraining whole-body workout.

However you can’t walk on it like you can on a treadmill. And treadmills come in all kinds of price points with all kinds of different consoles.

So at the end of the day it really comes down to your goals, activity level, budget and workout preferences!

Want to Learn More?


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nordictrack freestrider vs treadmill
Nordictrack Treadmill




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freestride trainer vs treadmill
Nordictrack Freestride Trainer 



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