Can you be too heavy for a treadmill? Incredible Expert View

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Weight is a big sign of your overall health. A lot of people feel ashamed if you ask about their actual weight or if you refer to them as too fat. Excess body fat is extremely dangerous, leading to diabetes, obesity and heart failures.

No one is too fat to exercise. Walking is the basic and the most natural of all exercises to keep fit. But walking is more friendlier when done on a treadmill than on pavement.

Now, weight capacity is one factor to consider when shopping for an exercise machine like a treadmill. It means, how much can the treadmill carry and how long the machine lasts or support your weight without breaking or motor stalling.

None of the treadmill models in the market has an infinite weight limit. So, it is possible that the salesman will ask to know your actual body weight, before picking the right treadmill for you.

Can you be too heavy for a treadmill? Overweight woman running on a high weight capacity treadmill

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Does weight ratings of treadmills really matter?

You might have seen treadmills, rated 250 lbs., 300 lbs., 350 lbs. or 400 lbs. It is not for fancy show. The numbers tell how much user’s weight a treadmill can support and run normally. Treadmill weight capacity ratings really do matter.

You don’t expect the treadmill with 250lb user weight limit, to breathe well if a 500 pound heavy adult steps on its running surface. The treadmill motor performance under users’ weight in daily use is the more important than anything else.

Come to think of it. An underpowered treadmill motor is more likely to fail than a properly suited treadmill motor. We I talk of underpowered treadmills.

I mean, they are not powerful enough to move their load (runner’s body weight). In my experience, an underpowered treadmill will groan and hesitate to run when you step on the running deck or belt.

For example. If you’re a 300 lb person, using a 300 lb weight capacity treadmill, you’ll probably find the treadmill belt more discomfiting and hesitating. A 200 lbs individual won’t have that annoying behavior.

You can then imagine what happens when the treadmill weight limit does not matter. In that case, a heavy overweight adult walking on a 220 lb rated small treadmill machine, it could trip or fall severely. To the treadmill’s motor will fail over a short period.

Moreover, high loads on a treadmill really cause a heating effect (high temperatures) in the motor. Other problems due to the overload of the treadmill motor may include shaft fracture, failed coil winding, short circuits, and melting insulating wires.


How much a treadmill actually weighs, is the measure of the item’s overall mass or material weight. Some treadmills are smaller, lighter and easy to carry, others are heavily constructed, weigh a lot of kilograms. Most often, one person can not assemble a heavy duty treadmill became it is too heavy. A treadmill’s product weight differs greatly from how much weight it can hold.

Related: The best treadmills that stream Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+)


Can you be too heavy for a treadmill?

Can you be too heavy on a treadmill? Yes, you can become heavier than the treadmill can hold. You can gain weight and become heavy than the amount of load the treadmill is designed to support.

Someone had purchased a 300 lb treadmill while she was weighing 280 lbs. After 2 years, she accumulated excess fat around her waistline and her weight goes to 305 lbs. She became too heavy for the treadmill.

Her extra weight would be dangerous if she walks and runs on the machine regularly. There is high possiblity of getting injured when user weight exceeds treadmill weight limit.


What happens if you exceed the weight limit on a treadmill?

The bad side of weigh more than the treadmill weight carrying capacity is that:

1. Failing treadmill incline

The incline of the treadmill will probably fail when you are walking or running uphill or downhill on the treadmill.

2. The treadmill frame or belt can break(or bend).

If you are morbidly obese, weighing around 450 lb, and step on a 250 lb treadmill, the weak screws can come out of frame may bend. In that case, you’ll notice a tilt or wobbling.

3. The electric motor will heat up and burn out.

Placing too much weight on a treadmill can quickly heat the motor to burn. A big and heavy person standing on a treadmill belt is a straining load. It creates an overload on the motor, which causes wearing on some parts. Soon the motor will fail.

4. The treadmill warranty can void.

The recommended use of a treadmill is that your weight should not exceed the treadmills’ weight capacity. If your treadmill fails due to undue wear, tear, and stress of too much user weight, the company may deny covering the losses.

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How much weight can a treadmill hold?

How much weight can a treadmill hold before it becomes dangerous?

It really just depends. There is more in the numbers than your eyes can see. If you are told a treadmill weight capacity is 300 lb, what does it really mean? There is a huge difference between how much weight a treadmill can carry and how much intense workout it can handle.

The truth is that, a 400 pound overweight runner can safely stand,  stationary on a 250 lb weight capacity treadmill. In fact, the 400 lb person can do little walks or runs on the low capacity treadmill without it breaking immediately.

However, after prolong usage, the pressure due to the huge weight of the 400lb person would take its toll on the electric motor. Further more, if you have excessive body weight –overweight or obese, chances are that you can injure yourself if the treadmill frame collapse, or the motor suddenly heats up and stops due to your excess body weight.

For your safety, I advice you should always choose a treadmill whose weight capacity is above your body weight. For example, a 250 pounds person should exercise safety on a 300 lb weight capacity treadmill. A 350 lbs person should go for a 400 lb treadmill.

If you are morbidly obese, you will get a limit, as the treadmill weight capacities cannot go so much high. Now you see that a treadmill weight capacity serves a purpose.

The downside is that these treadmill user weight limit numbers are not seriously regulated. Some manufactures just state the numbers for marketing purposes. We don’t know if they have actually tested the weight capacity ratings.

Maybe they have, but many treadmill brands just allow a 400 lbs person to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes and they just offer the machine a 400-high weight capacity. Terrible!

Related: How To Stay Safe On your Treadmill According To Experts


That is why you shouldn’t void your treadmill warranty

Some treadmill manufacturers would void the warranty if the weight gets over the treadmill user weight limit. A wiser treadmill user would buy a treadmill like this Exerpeutic TF1000,  with a higher treadmill weight capacity or simply pick any treadmill and be extending the warranty.

When choosing your treadmill, my advice is this simple: pick a fitness equipment that is around or over your body weight but with the best warranty.

Related: how to stream Netflix on Peloton tread? 


Treadmill’s Horsepower matters

Some treadmill manufacturers would get you confused with different kinds of horsepower. How a heavy person uses a treadmill depends on the motor’s ability to turn.

Some treadmill models will show peak duty, which is the maximum amount of power the motor can perform when the exercise is the most intense. This is not a very reliable specification.

Some manufacturers state the treadmill duty, which is the horsepower for an average user. It is still not the accurate, determined if a heavy person can work out on it.

The most dependable number is the continuous horsepower (CHP) which tells the treadmills’ power at minimum on all the workouts (easy to the hardest).

CHP motor even has high quality, works smoothly under heavy loads and last longer. This kind is useful for commercial purposes where it can carry any weight.

Related: The best treadmills for tall runners



How to find the treadmill weight limit

Treadmill weight capacity is a technical specification, issues by the manufacturer of the machine. The numbers are based on manufacturers’ tests only. As of the moment, I don’t know of any official body that regulates how treadmills are tested for max load.

However, here is how to pinpoint your treadmill user weight limit.

1. Check the number on the treadmill frame.

Most treadmill manufacturers provide the treadmill specs and write the information on the frame or on a batch. If you can’t find it anywhere on the upper part of the frame, go underneath.

2. Get the treadmill weight capacity in the user’s manual.

There won’t be a need for a user manual if all necessary information is not printed on it. Treadmill weight bearing capability is one of the most vital piece of information the manufacturer most includes in the treadmill manual.

3. Ask the treadmill manufacturer

Call the manufacturer and ask for the information. If they can’t provide it, they are certainly selling poor quality products to the market. Probably, they didn’t test how much load the treadmill can support, which is therefore a potential risk to users.

You didn’t find the treadmill’s weight capacity?

Don’t buy the treadmill if you cannot get the treadmill capacity using the simple ways above.

Related: The Best Treadmill for Overweight and Obese runners 2022


How to use a treadmill if you are a heavy person

If you are obese, or just overweight and the load on your feet exceeds the treadmill’s weight capacity, how can you exercise on it? Also, should you stop to exercise because you are too fat for the treadmill? No.

Only do these things below, if your machine is a heavy duty treadmill. Beware, if your weight exceeds the capacity, the treadmill will not last.

1. Walk smoothly,

If you are really a fat guy, who is also too heavy, your walk will put slightly less stress on the treadmill. The impacts on jogging and running are higher, and you can strain the motor when running.

2. Incline your treadmill.

Setting the treadmill on the incline will ease the load on its running surface. What I mean here is that even a modest incline can significantly reduce the load on the motor. In sciences, a force acting at an angle to a surface is shared between two perpendicular forces.

If you stand on an inclined treadmill, only a certain fraction of your weight, determined by the angle of the incline, strains the treadmill.

When your weight exceeds treadmills’ weight limit at a zero incline(flat position), the load is devastating to the belt and the motor. A 1-3% incline can bring a huge relief to the treadmill.

3. Move smoothly

Whether walking or jogging, make the moves slowly and smoothly on the surface, without throwing your feet like some pizza dough on a table.

4. Exercise for a very short time

You are not gonna place your excessive body weight on the treadmill for up to an hour and still expect it to function properly.


Here are some tips for using a treadmill when you are obese and heavy.

Read: incredible Hacks how to Turn On treadmill without key



Walking vs running when you are a heavy person

According to some experts, if you are a plus size, your walking is less friendly to the treadmill motor than running. This appears to be counterintuitive to me, but let us reason it out.

Walking is a slow action, and on each step, all your weight is placed on the treadmill belt for the motor to haul it against the friction(reaction) of pressing the belt downward.

But when running, the quick foot strikes the belt with a backward kick, which pushes your body forward. The resulting effect is that running keeps your weight at an angle around your toes when you raise your heels.

So, running the load on the motor is less than walking load. According to the experts, you should only walk on treadmills designed for walking exercises and run on treadmills designed for running.

Related: The  best treadmills for senior walking (Highly recommended)


What treadmill holds the most weight?

What treadmill holds the most weight? The user weight carrying capacity of most affordable home treadmills falls between 180lb to 350 lbs.

If you consider those high-end home treadmills, you are likely to find their user weight limits from 300 pounds to 400 pounds. These heavy duty treadmills can be used for light commercial activities in the gym or health clubs.

The reason these equipment have higher weight capacity is that they are manufactured with powerful or higher horsepower electric motors, and reinforced treadmill frames.

The right treadmill for you is one that has a maximum user weight capacity slightly above your most accurate body weight and has a good warranty protection. If you become a big and heavy person and your weight exceeds the treadmills’ max user weight limit, the equipment will void the warranty.

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