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Best Treadmills for a Bad Back


Having a bad back is one of the most frustrating experiences out there, it can stop you from performing simple tasks, cause constant pain, and can even prevent you from performing the exercises that would help you to recover! Hopefully the irony is not lost on you. Finding some exercise equipment that can allow you to exercise can make a huge difference to your life, and in this article, we attempt to uncover the best treadmills for a bad back.

Finding the right treadmill for a bad back involves a lot of research, luckily for you we’re right here to do it for you! You want a treadmill that concentrates on shock absorption and comfort. This is because running can put a lot of pressure on your joints as well as your lower back. Depending on the severity of your bad back you may not even be able to run, which is why we have included a couple of low-powered treadmills which are designed for walking.

Nautilus T618 Treadmill343414/20 Check Price
Bowflex T216 Treadmill455519/20 Check Price
Spirit Fitness XT485 Treadmill343414/20 Check Price
Horizon Fitness T202 Treadmill544417/20 Check Price
NordicTrack C 990 Treadmill453517/20 Check Price

Best Treadmills for a Bad Back

We are now going to examine five of the best treadmills for a bad back, we will take a look at their value for money (price) how well made they are and how long they should last (durability), how powerful the motor is (power) and most importantly how well they will support and protect your joints and back (comfort).

Best Treadmills for a Bad Back

Best Treadmill for a Bad Back #1: Nautilus T618 Treadmill

Nautilus are a world-famous fitness equipment company; they have an impressive range of treadmills available. The one we are looking at today is the Nautilus T618 treadmill. This is a high-quality treadmill at a decent price. It provides a 15% incline and has a 3.5 CHP motor which means that it should be able to handle the top speed of 12mph.

The treadmill uses Rebound Deck Cushioning System for its running belt, which is an excellent choice for anyone with joint or lower back issues. The shock absorption of this system is fantastic, and you can walk or run with confidence that your joints and back are being supported and protected from injury. 

Nautilus makes gym-grade quality fitness equipment, which is why their products are always so durable. This treadmill has a max user weight of 350lbs, which is about 50lbs heavier than the majority of treadmills. It should last you a very long time, and that’s with constant use at high speeds. Overall, this is an excellent treadmill choice for anyone with a bad back.

Best Treadmill for a Bad Back #2: Bowflex T216 Treadmill

Bowflex kit is always top of the range, and the company has a sterling reputation for its products. The Bowflex T216 treadmill is a great example of that, and it is perfect for anyone with a bad back. What Bowflex has managed to do is sell a very high quality, powerful, durable, and comfortable machine for a very reasonable price. 

Let’s start with the motor, the treadmill uses a 4.0 CHP motor which allows it to be run on the top speed of 12mph without any issues. There is also a motorized incline which can be increased all the way to 15%. The treadmill is built to last, and with such a powerful motor you shouldn’t need to consider purchasing a new treadmill for at least ten years. Suddenly, that price looks even more reasonable!

The running deck uses Comfort Tech, one of the best shock absorption systems there is. Your feet will get amazing support with each step and this will keep your joints and lower back as safe and protected as you could ask for. The Bowflex T216 is the highest rated treadmill on our list, and for good reason. It delivers a fantastic running experience, and the running deck will keep your joints and back in top condition.

Best Treadmill for a Bad Back #3: Spirit Fitness XT485 Treadmill

This treadmill from Spirit Fitness is fantastic for exercising with a bad back. It is powerful and has decent top speeds thanks to a 4 CHP motor, meaning that it can handle anything you throw at it. People with a bad back often tend to exercise at low intensities for long periods of time (a 90 minute walk for example). This treadmill can handle that no problem. 

The addition of intensity/incline buttons on the handrails is genius. It allows you to adjust the speed and incline of the treadmill while you can still hold on for safety. This means you can maintain a neutral spine throughout, without the need to bend over and make adjustments.

The shock absorption of the deck is superb, allowing you to walk or run without any fear of jarring pain in your back. The cushioned deck will absorb that energy easily, allowing you to focus on the workout. The treadmill also offers a remarkable cooling system that can leave you feeling fresh even during the toughest workouts.

This is an excellent all-round treadmill that is great value for money. It absolutely deserves a place on this list, and would easily get into the top ten for any treadmill list. A fantastic piece of kit.

Best Treadmill for a Bad Back #4: Horizon Fitness T202 Treadmill

The Horizon Fitness T202 is by far the most cost-effective treadmill on this list, and as such it scored 5/5 for price in our table. While all of the treadmills on this list are excellent value for money, we felt that this treadmill in particular represented an absolute steal! It may not be particularly powerful, but it is well made, has great shock absorption, and will allow people with bad backs to exercise at a moderate intensity. 

The treadmill is not particularly powerful, the motor is only 2.75 CHP and the treadmill has a top speed of just 10mph. However, most people who suffer from bad backs are unlikely to need to be sprinting in any case. If you are looking for a treadmill where you can walk or jog with minimal pressure on your back, then this treadmill will do just fine. 

The treadmill deck is very impressive, particularly when you consider the price of this treadmill. The treadmill deck is built with 3-zone variable response cushioning which will give you optimal flex and support during each part of your running stride. This will help to support your joints and lower back and protect them from injury.

Best Treadmill for a Bad Back #5: NordicTrack C 990 Treadmill

NordicTrack are arguably the greatest treadmill manufacturers out there at the moment, and no list would be complete without at least one of their products in it. This list has the NordicTrack C 990 treadmill, and though it is not NordicTrack’s best treadmill, it is perfect for people with bad backs and here is why.

Firstly, the price is very reasonable. NordicTrack are famous for their quality products and the durability of their treadmills, so this price is an absolute bargain when you consider how long the treadmill should last you.

It is not amazingly powerful; the motor is 3 CHP which may struggle at the top speed of 12mph – but if you are already suffering from a bad back then you’ll only need to worry about top speeds of 9-10mph which the motor should comfortably handle. The treadmill also offers a 12% incline, which can help increase the intensity of walking or jogging without increasing the risk of injury.

The running deck uses FlexSelect cushioning, which can help you to run smoothly and with excellent support of your joints and lower back. The treadmill does offer a firmer surface which you can use to recreate road running, but this is not really advisable if you have back pain. Maybe something that you can use once your back is better?

Final Thoughts

All five of these treadmills will suit differing budgets and differing goals. Some treadmills concentrate on excellent running performance, while others focus on space-saving, or value for money, or durability. What unites all of these products is the fact that they are amazing for supporting, protecting, and potentially improving the health of your back as well as your joints. 

Our favorite treadmill on this list is without a doubt the Bowflex T216 treadmill. It has amazing shock absorption, is very powerful, is durable, and is fantastic value for money. It easily topped our table with a score of 19/20. Check it out today, your back will thank you!