The TreadClimber is considered a hybrid cardio machine because it combines the walking actions of a treadmill along with the stepping action of a stair machine or step climber. The official TreadClimber is manufactured by Bowflex, but several other hybrid machines as well as standard cardio machines on the market can provide similar benefits.
Bowflex maintains you burn up to to three-and-a-half times more calories on a TreadClimber than you would on a treadmill at the same speed. But this estimate doesn't take into account the incline option on a treadmill. Also, researchers at Consumer Reports found that walking on the TreadClimber at the highest speed actually burns approximately the same calories as running on a treadmill at 6 mph. These findings make the treadmill, especially at higher speeds or higher inclines, a very suitable alternative to the TreadClimber.
Other Hybrid Machines / Ellipticals
Some manufacturers offer a hybrid machine that combines the striding motion of an elliptical with the stepping action of a stair machine. A study in the 2010 "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" found that exercising on elliptical devices and treadmills burned the same number of calories as long as the subjects worked at the same rate of perceived exertion. As long as you keep your intensity up, you are likely to burn as many calories as you could on a StairClimber. Because an elliptical-based machine is low-impact, it's suitable for you if you have knee or ankle issues.
While a stepping machine may burn fewer calories than a TreadClimber, you can increase the calorie burn by increasing the intensity or by simply letting go of the handles while climbing, which makes the exercise more difficult.
Other Cardio Options
While machines are great options for cardiovascular workouts and for calorie burn, other body-weight exercise can offer similar benefits. According to Bowflex, a 180-pound person using the TreadClimber burns anywhere from 348 to 612 calories in 30 minutes. The American Council on Exercise says a person of similar weight burns 327 calories running at a moderate pace of 5 mph and 490 calories jumping rope at a fast pace. The higher your intensity level is while you exercise, the more calories you will burn, regardless of the type of cardio you choose.
- ConsumerSearch.com: Hybrid Stair Steppers
- Treadclimber.com: Why TreadClimber?
- NordicTrack: FreeStrider 35 Si
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Comparison of Energy Expenditure on a Treadmill vs. an Elliptical Device … ; G.A. Brown, et al.
- ABC Los Angeles: Exercise Equipment Put to the Test
- American Council on Exercise: Physical Activity Calorie Calculator
Andrea Chrysanthou began writing professionally in 1993. Her work has been published internationally by "The Cyprus Mail," MochaSofa and My Favorite Trainer, among other magazines and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in journalism from Ryerson University. Chrysanthou is a certified fitness instructor and personal-training specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the fitness industry.