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Preface: I am 21yo 6'3 ~235lbs former football player (soccer). I stopped playing because of a leg injury and let myself go but I want to get back into shape. I enjoy running and still have good stamina but my knees are awful and running outside on uneven ground still causes pain.

The problem occurs when I try using a treadmill. I've tested this on four different treadmills and all got nearly the same results. When running faster than a light jog, the treadmills all "stutter". It is almost like the treadmill stops spinning when I put my foot down while running. The four different treadmills all reacted similarly and have a "stutter" when moving faster than a light jog. I have tried looking up what causes this but I haven't found many resources or answers.

It's almost embarrassing for me now thinking my weight is causing this issue but I don't think I'm over the weight limit of the treadmills.

What could be a cause of stuttering/pausing and how do I fix it? It doesn't seem to be equipment related (unless I'm extremely unlucky).

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  • Were any of the treadmills commercial grade? i.e. in a gym?
    – C. Lange
    Aug 5 at 17:40
  • @C. Lange 1 was at a college gym, 2 were at a normal gym, 1 privately owned.
    – Noah
    Aug 5 at 17:43
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The four different treadmills all reacted similarly and have a "stutter" when moving faster than a light jog.

It's almost embarrassing for me now thinking my weight is causing this issue but I don't think I'm over the weight limit of the treadmills.

It could be a weight problem, because weak motors will hesitate when you apply too much weight to the belt, but the fact that you are saying it only happens when you are going faster makes that scenario less likely. Treadmills generally have motors that have their highest torque ratings at the RPMs generated at the most common speed settings that they expect customers to use. This means that the treadmills in gyms typically are strongest between jogging and running. Add this to the fact that walking on treadmills in fact is harder on the motor than jogging or running. It seems counterintuitive, but at walking speeds the motor hauls your full body weight pressing down on the belt while running you are kicking the belt backwards and you are in the air half the time meaning the motor doesn't have to work as hard. If you are experiencing stuttering while walking as well as running, it is almost certainly a weight issue.

More likely these treadmills are in need of some tuning. A fairly common cause for a belt stuttering / slipping / hesitating is a belt that needs to be tightened due to the belt stretching. Heavier individuals will notice this sooner simply because their weight makes it easier to slip, but it is an issue with maintenance, not that the treadmill can't handle your weight.

How do I fix it? It doesn't seem to be equipment related (unless I'm extremely unlucky).

I'm thinking you may just be a bit unlucky. Something you can do to verify this is by pulling up on the belt before you hop on, it should only have 3-4 inches of give if properly tuned. To fix it, treadmills typically have tightening lugs on either side. In the gyms you could just notify the employees that maintenance is needed, but it likely isn't worth the effort and it is often easier to just find the treadmills that aren't failing.

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Noah, 235 should not be a problem. You can try out different treadmills at local big box furniture stores to determine which is right for you. I find that hotel and apartment treadmills are usually old and not calibrated. Also mid-grade treadmills are not meant for the type of abuse. My treadmill is a Nautilus T616 and only gets 3-6 miles a day, 5 days a week. It's not meant for multiple users putting major miles on it. My husband who weighs about as much as you uses it with no problem.

Other useful tips: Stand on the sides, start the treadmill and do not start walking/running until the belt is moving. In other words, do not stand on the belt and expect it to start moving with you at a stand still.

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