When you complete your workout, can you truthfully say that you performed at your optimal fitness level?
It’s a question that fitness pros and workout fanatics would quickly answer ‘yes’ to, but for those with fitness levels in the in-between, it’s hard to give an honest answer when you’re not really quite sure what your optimal level is.
Though shelling out money for a personal trainer or activity tracker device to measure your progress and performance isn an option for many, it isn’t for all.
This can make spending minutes pounding the pavement and jumping from machine to machine seem frivolous and at times, pointless, when you’re not really sure if you’re getting much out of the exercises you’re performing.
When we were offered the chance to test out the SKILLRUN by Technogym, we were intrigued by the performance metrics and features that the treadmill offered — it certainly wasn’t your typical 'press the green button and start running endlessly for hours' type of machine.
Technogym's place in the fitness equipment space is a highly-regarded one, as its been the go-to supplier for seven Olympic Games, and we knew based on what we've seen the company come out with that the SKILLRUN would be as sleek as it was effective.
The SKILLRUN, which can reach up to a whopping 25mph and inclines of 18 percent, doesn't look like your ordinary treadmill -- the belt is shorter but also wider which forces more intentional strides and the ability to use the belt for other exercises other than just running or walking, like lateral lunges and moving squats.
Our workout consisted of just that -- running and lateral lunges, coupled with simulated sled pushes, parachute runs, sprints, jogs and everything in between.
Our verdict? Consider the SKILLRUN the anti-treadmill treadmill — gone are your days of dreaded machine fatigue and staring at the clock in boredom after the same repetitive motion on the treadmill step after step.
There are three modes on the treadmill that ensure you get a combination of cardio and strength training without ever having to step off the belt -- you have your standard running mode, parachute run mode and sled push mode.
Both the sled push and parachute run settings are meant to simulate pushing and running against weight, allowing you to select how much ‘weight’ you want to push against on the sled run feature and how heavy you want your ‘parachute’ to be during the parachute run.
The parachute training feature can feel a bit frightening and intimidating at first if your body isn’t used to the free-running sensation against your own weight — it can almost feel like you’re going to fall forward or backward. But once you get the hang of it, you feel unstoppable.
You clip into a belt using the Parachute Training Kit and begin to run at a resistance level of zero. The resistance increases as you get faster, reminding you that you truly are the only one pushing yourself and that the workout itself will only get harder if you put in more effort. It’s a great way to combine strength training and speed training while also working your mental strength and checking in with yourself to ensure that you’re really giving your all.
The sled run feature is as tough as it sounds, but allows for a less intimidating way to simulate a sled push without having to go to the gym and physically start pushing things around while on display. Unlike the parachute run, you manually put a set amount of weight that you want to push against and start running at full speed, with the treadmill belt only moving with your strength.
Both the parachute run and sled push modes allow you to pre set the number of sets you want to complete, including how long your rest periods will be in between each set and how far you want to travel.
Though the SKILLRUN appears to be targeted toward elite fitness enthusiasts and those looking for a new level of high intensity to switch up their routine, the treadmill’s data and metrics features lends itself to be quite useful for anyone at any fitness level so long as your end goal is the same — hitting your maximum potential with every stride.
After each set or workout or interval, the feedback data will show you individualized data on your performance in real time that shows how much power you’re using on each leg per stride and which leg your body tends to put more effort or power on, as well as strength data in the sled push and parachute run modes that show the maximum speeds you pushed the weight at and how much power you exuded overall.
Each set of data appears on the screen after each set, allowing you to aim for higher goals (whether that be speed, more power output, more distance covered, etc) as your workout is happening to try to improve between sets and more importantly, to know if you’ve succeeded in doing so.
With the data flashing in front of your face after every interval, it’s hard to let yourself perform at a less than optimal level, whether you’re known to be a strong self-motivator or not.
And after one full workout on the SKILLRUN, it would be hard not to be.