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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

Treadmill vs running outside: What’s the difference?

🏃Tackling treadmill myths & misconceptions🏃‍♀️⁣⁣

Critics of treadmill running will often claim that running on a treadmill messes with your running technique & creates “lazy muscles”💤⁣ Does it?


🙋‍♂️Do you move differently on a treadmill?

Largely not. There are some differences, but most kinematics (movement) & kinetics (forces) are similar. (Van Hooren 2019)


🙋‍♀️ Does treadmill running give you “lazy muscles”?

🔹Conflicting findings are reported on muscle activity.

🔹Some studies show lower muscle activity on treadmill, others no difference. (Van Hooren 2019)


🤨 Do you perform differently on a treadmill?

🔸Oxygen uptake, heart rate & perceived effort were similar, but blood lactate concentration was lower & preferred running speeds were slower than during overground running.

⁣🔸Endurance performance was poorer on a motorized treadmill than overground at submaximal speeds, but sprint performance varied considerably. (Miller 2019)


🔑Takeaway

Yes, there can be individual differences...But largely treadmill running & running outside are comparable!


👋 Runners, let us know your experiences between treadmill versus overground running!

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📚References

  • Miller, J. R., et al. (2019). "A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Crossover Studies Comparing Physiological, Perceptual and Performance Measures Between Treadmill and Overground Running." Sports Med 49(5): 763-782.

  • Van Hooren, B., et al. (2020). "Is Motorized Treadmill Running Biomechanically Comparable to Overground Running? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cross-Over Studies." Sports Med 50(4): 785-813.

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