Sometimes, the process of innovation can be as simple and as bold as taking two separate ideas and combining them into something new – even though both original ideas are still plainly visible in the final result. For example, the idea of the treadmill is scarcely a new one – although it remains a major part of the exercise equipment scene thanks to its great usefulness. Similarly, the stair-climbing machine (or simply climbing up and down actual stairs) is a longtime staple of indoor exercise.
But when I discovered that someone had actually combined the treadmill and the stair-climbing machine – in the form of the Bowflex TC5000 Treadclimber – I was amazed that it had been possible to blend two such apparently incompatible types of motion into one machine.
Burn More Calories
The resulting device is one which is best suited for those who expect to spend a few days learning how to use their equipment correctly, since it is somewhat more complex in use than other exercise machines. However, there are features which make the TC5000 Treadclimber stand out – the intensity of its workout, which burns calories far faster than either of the two original machines; its compact size, meaning that it fits in far less space than a regular treadmill; and the use of a special heart rate monitor which can be set to adjust the speed of the machine to a desired heart rate.
An Intense and Challenging Workout
The Bowflex TC5000 Treadclimber consists of two separate short treadmill surfaces, side by side, each one hinged so that they can rise and fall alternately, simulating climbing a staircase at the same time as walking forward. A pair of handles are mounted at the front, with an informative electronic monitor offering a panoply of different information – more about this in a moment.
Compact Dimensions And Design
Because of the unique design, the Treadclimber is fairly compact, and is good for those with limited room – it is slightly less than four feet long, 30 inches wide, and 55 inches tall. It is sturdy enough to support exercisers of up to 300 pounds weight.
The double treadmill, which also serves as steps, is the core of the Bowflex TC5000 Treadclimber system, and despite the short length of the treads, the results are highly intense and provide a more vigorous workout than many ordinary treadmills. The speed ranges from seven-tenths of a mile an hour to 4 miles per hour. At first glance, 4 miles per hour does not seem very fast, considering that, for example, the Schwinn 860 Treadmill, can move at up to 12 miles per hour.
However, the key here is that the user is not moving at 4 miles per hour on a flat surface. When you travel at 4 miles per hour on the Treadclimber, you are climbing an endless, steep staircase at that speed – far faster than you usually climb a staircase. 4 miles per hour is roughly the fastest a human can walk without breaking into a slow jog – and jogging upstairs on an infinite staircase is likely to be more intense labor for most people than traveling at a moderate run on flat ground.
This unique approach to exercise means that the Treadclimber is a powerful calorie-burner, but it also means that new users should approach it with caution and take their time to learn how to use the device properly. The TC5000 Treadclimber needs to be used in a specific way – you must learn how to move your legs and body in synchrony with the combination of moving treadmill belts and rising and falling steps.
Use of the Treadclimber demands coordination, and this coordination can only be learned through practice. It is highly recommended that even fit, active users should begin at the slowest speed setting (0.7 MPH) and only increase the speed when they feel comfortable with the machine’s rhythm, after several days of practice. Because of the coordination needed to master the Treadclimber, and the great intensity of the workout, potential users who are completely out of shape should tone up with other exercises for several weeks before attempting the challenge of the TC5000.
Console and Options – Auto-Adjusting to Your Needs
The console mounted at the front of the Bowflex TC5000 Treadclimber is one which offers a whole range of data and controls, letting the user set their pace and monitor their progress. The TC5000 can be adjusted to resistance levels scaled from 0 to 12 (resistance being a combination of speed and the difficulty of the stair action). The display informs the user of their speed and distance, their heart rate, calories burned (both per minute and as a running total), a tracker of distance climbed (mostly to encourage achievement), and a count of total steps. There is also space for a water bottle and a magazine, for refreshment and entertainment while working out.
One feature which I found to be unusually pleasing is that the TC5000 Treadclimber includes an option to be set to connect to a wireless heart rate monitor; the machine is designed to be compatible with several different types, and a wireless chest-strap monitor is included. The user can then set the Treadclimber to ‘aim’ for a specific heart rate, and the machine will then adjust its speed up or down as the user’s heart rate changes, to provide the level of effort needed to maintain the chose heart rate.
This is an excellent feature for allowing the exerciser to reach exactly the amount of effort they need and want. Since the Treadclimber adjusts itself automatically in response to the user’s heartbeat when this option is being used, it removes the need for the user to try to gauge their own effort or change settings on the machine, ‘experimenting’ for the best level of effort. A machine which automatically adjusts its difficulty to my desired level of workout seems to me to be far more convenient than one that needs constant fine-tuning – and the Treadmaster has the option of adjusting to its user, with the heart-rate monitor needed to do so included conveniently in the package.
A Few Minor Problems
Despite being innovative, providing a strong calorie-burning workout that has the potential to adjust itself automatically to your desired level of effort, and fitting into a smaller space than many other pieces of equipment (such as home gyms or treadmills), the Bowflex TC5000 has a few unfortunate quirks, which mostly result from its complex machinery.
Running two treadmills and a stair-climbing machine at the same time is a complicated proposition, and as such, the Treadmaster requires more assembly than many other exercise machines, and is more prone to mechanical problems after a few years of steady use. A fair number of users report that the motor requires repair after two or three years of daily use. This falls within the 5-year warranty that comes with the equipment, but labor is not included in the warranty, so the customer will bear some of the brunt of the cost of repair if they happen to be in the unfortunate minority whose Treadmaster develops mechanical issues after several years.
However, you may find it useful to note that the Bowflex TC5000 Treadclimber is very quiet in its operation, and many of those who later had mechanical problems reported unusual squeaking noises from their machine from its first day of operation. It is possible that some mechanical problems are caused by incorrect assembly – causing parts to rub, make noise, and put extra strain on the motor – so those who notice unexpected noises would be well-advised to reassemble their TC5000.
All in all, however, the Treadclimber is a solid machine which offers an excellent workout, innovative features, and a different approach sure to work out varied muscle groups thoroughly.
Where can I buy the Bowflex TC5000 Treadclimber?
Although there are many places which sell the Bowflex TC5000, one of the best prices and the best customer service are to be found on Amazon.