Pros: An amazing, challenging workout; lots of programs; cables for upper body
Cons: I don't like the belt's angle at low levels.
I am reviewing the NordicTrack Incline Trainer X 10. This review also comes as a request from a consumer. So please request away. I am enjoying your requests and hope my reviews help you.
What is an Incline Trainer?
An incline trainer is not any different than a treadmill except that its specialty is allowing you to walk or climb uphill. The X10 is amazing. X10 translates to a 50% incline. Just to understand this, a 100% incline would be straight up as in rock climbing. At 75% you would have to hold on. Some people are uncomfortable at 50%; that is how steep that incline is. Why would you need the X10? I will get to that later.
This machine is not for everyone. NordicTrack also makes an X5 which inclines 30% and costs $500 less than the whopping $2300 this beauty will set you back.
It is quite efficient, for example, to walk uphill on a treadmill for 20 minutes. I burn more calories even on a treadmill without this kind of incline in one half an hour with a 20% incline that I do walking at 3.8 miles for an hour! You know if you have been on a treadmill watching how many calories you burn per hour that as soon as you increase the degree of incline, the calories per hour goes up as does your heartrate. Today at the gym I was on a treadmill and checked my heart rate at various inclines. Even at a slight incline and walking slower, my heart rate was higher and the calories burned were more.
I like to review fitness equipment by taking you on a tour. As a personal trainer I am more familiar with equipment than many. In spite of that, although I do not own this, I have been on it several times. I never “test drive“ a piece of equipment. I have strong feelings about that and you are free to e-mail me if you need more information about how I review products.
There are a number of things I first look at when I see a piece of equipment. I notice if it has a bottle holder! I cannot imagine a machine without one but I have come across them. Unlike most machines with built in holders the Incline Trainer has an external bottle holder similar to what is on a bike (non stationary).
I then get on it and notice the belt. The belt on the Nordic Track X10 is 20 inches by 56 inches. This is not bad but a few inches can make a difference. I like very long belts. What happens with treadmills is my feet will hit the foot of the floor area as I walk. That does not happen with a machine such as the Cybex Pro not only because it is 4 inches longer but because of the design at the end of the belt.
The Nordic Track Incline Trainer is unusual. Treadmills rise when on incline. This one does as well however there is nothing stopping my feet from hitting the pole at the end of the machine. In fact at a lower incline there is a feeling that if I walked too far forward I might fall off. It takes some getting used to. At higher inclines this does not happen. The belt is high enough that it almost touches the pole which connects the belt to the console so I would hit the pole rather than falling off.
The belt is quiet and the surface has a design intended to not allow skidding. I do not run but I had my friend run on it because I have heard many machines make so much noise when someone is running on it that it can be quite annoying. I wanted to check and found that there was just a minimal amount of thudding as his feet hit the belt. However just to be fair to other machines running uphill is very different than running on a flat surface. Most of the thudding I hear at the gym are people running with no incline. Even with no incline though I was not bothered by the noise.
The horsepower on this machine is amazing. The norm is about 1.5. This one has 3 hp and it is continuous meaning it will keep speeds of up to 12 MPH even at high inclines. It is advertised as being able to do this but again I had my friend test it out when I was not at his house and he assured me that the machine never slowed down. I walked it at high inclines but will get to that later.
So I am on the Incline Trainer and have to get used to the console. The console has some familiar and unfamiliar features to me. The first thing I noticed which I commented on when I reviewed the Star Trac Pro Treadmill are the 2 CoolAire Workout Fans. Apparently these are getting more and more popular though personally I do not like air on my face when I am sweating. I would rather wipe my face with a towel. However you might and if you do you will like this feature. It has 2 speeds which is the standard, high and low.
I notice the design of the machine especially where the handles are. The X10 does not have side handles on which to hold onto. The handles will be in front of you. This is fine because at a high incline you would not be comfortable holding on to side handles anyway. These handles are nicely positioned for high inclines. The heart rate monitor is at the top of the handle. I found my heart rate to show up quickly. Really I have been on machines that took so long to register I thought I might be dead. Some machines I have given up trying to measure my heart rate. Some really do take much too long but the X10 is quick.
A feature I have never seen before are the cables that work your upper body. Many machines, (though I cannot recall a treadmill with this feature, it is usually found on ellipticals) have moving arms. I am not a proponent of working your upper body while doing cardiovascular work unless you do no strength training. If that is the case then this is a really nice feature.
It is very different than the moving arms. Two cables are attached to the top of the console with comfortable to hold handles on each end. The resistance for these is adjustable. They work on the same premise as arms but they do not get in the way if I do not want to use them. However when I did I was able to feel my upper body being worked.
Another reason I do not like moving arms is because it is really easy to use the arms to move the pedals on an elliptical thus cutting down on your lower body workout. On the Incline Trainer this is not the case since there are no moving pedals so the cable work nicely on this machine.
I am on the machine and looking at the console which has a nice 7 inch by 10 inch display area with 4 LED windows. As I said on another review for the ProForm CS17e the console is a matrix. What the Matrix means is that it shows you your workout essentially in a graph form. The graph is 7 inches by 10 inches and easy to read because it lights up. I never found these graphs helpful but they are fairly standard. In fact I know a lot of people who cover the console so they will not be looking at their workout or how much time they have left. The benefit of the graph is if you are interval training (changing levels and intensity fairly regularly) you can then monitor how long you have run at various intensity levels by watching the lines change.
This machine may track more than any other machine I have been on. The first thing I did was enter my age and weight which does have an effect on calories burned. There are many features on the Incline Trainer that are similar to the ProForm. I mentioned the console but it also has the same memory. So after I put in my age and weight it will save it for me. Next time I got on the Incline Trainer I just hit quick start and it had my information.
I was able to track my fat and calories burned (please remember there is about a 20% error variance in machines however if you use the same one then it is a relative number); my pace; elevation; incline level; distance; time; pulse; and speed. Like any machine the programs work the same way. If I want an aerobic workout and choose that one the machine will automatically adjust my speed or incline but at any time I can change that. So if it goes to 4.5 mph and that is too fast then I can lower it to whatever speed I want.
There are 25 preprogrammed programs in addition to aerobic such as weight loss (which is essentially an interval training changing from high to low, fast and slow); endurance; performance; hills;random; manual as well as 4 heart rate programs and 8 called MyDesign which again is not unlike that of the ProForm. However that machine only has 2 programs that I can program on my own. When I preset a program I want, for example if I preset an interval training, the machine will automatically control the resistance. It is just like a preprogrammed program only you choose all the levels as you wish. The ProForm by the way which I gave 5 stars is one half the price of the X10 however I did not burn anywhere near the calories or get the workout I got than I did on the X10.
It has a one step power incline like the ProForm. I love this feature. If I am walking at 3 miles an hour and want to go to 4 rather than pressing the up arrow, which is what is usually done, I just press 4 and it immediately jumps to 4. It is a really neat feature. Rather than going however from 0 to 10% the Nordic Track takes you from 0 to 50% almost instantly. You will not have to press the up arrow repeatedly to get where you want to be. The X10 works the same way for incline. I can also track my workout in vertical feet. We do a lot of hiking. This is a fantastic machine for those of you who hike or rock climb or just want an amazing workout!
I found the belt really comfortable to walk on however the pain that I might have felt in my feet is somewhat lost in the pain you will feel in your quadriceps (It is a good pain!), which are the muscles in the front of your thighs, all the way down to your calves, ankles and around back to your hamstrings. You will not have to work your legs for days after using this machine. I cannot say it should replace leg day and I did not say the cable handles should replace chest day but this one will give you a run for your money. I would love to know if any athletes, personal trainers, etc. who read this have used it and what you think about it.
The machine has a weight capacity of 350 pounds. It weights 175 pounds. It is approximately 7 long by 2 and one half feet wide.
This machine folds by raising a spring-loaded deck and locking it into place. You will find built in wheels on the base of the machine. Although this is a nice feature in my experience few people actually fold their machines on a regular basis. The times it comes in handy is if you have it in the middle of your living room and are having company. I would not plan on folding this every day!
The NordicTrack Incline Trainer has a limited lifetime warranty.
My final thoughts:
This is one amazing machine and I am giving it 5 stars because it is unlike anything I have used and it is truly an incredible workout. However it is not for everyone and I urge you to try to walk for 20 minutes at 50% incline before you buy the X10.
The claim is that you will burn approximately 480 calories versus the 75 you would burn walking level at 2 miles per hour. At 50% incline you cannot walk much faster. Those of you who work out on a treadmill know how slow 2 mph is. However on the X10 it is a hike. I had trouble sustaining this for 20 minutes. The calorie calculation is close to accurate. I may have burned more calories that expected because it really was challenging for me and I hike at 50% inclines.
I would recommend the Incline Trainer only to those already in great shape; those who are training; those who can run up and down the bleachers at a football stadium 50 times; those who hike; those who have checked with their doctors first and those who want an amazing workout. If you do not fall into those categories think about the X5 which will cost you less and still give you a great workout.
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