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Could this buzzy new piece of equipment be replacing the classic treadmill?


Photos: Technogym
Photos: Technogym
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You can get a killer workout on a treadmill, but it’s pretty straightforward what you’re going to do once you step on: run.

But while Technogym‘s latest piece de resistance may look like a treadmill, it’s no one-trick pony: The technology-driven fitness company’s new machine, the Skillmill, is said to be a way more complete, full-body workout—and chances are, you’ll be seeing it in your neighborhood gym soon enough. (In fact, 300 sweaty spaces across the country have already put in orders for the just-released machine, including Equinox, Life Time Fitness, and Gold’s Gym.)

So what’s the big difference? While it’s got loads of bells and whistles (from apps to syncing results), it’s very low-tech in its mechanics: There is absolutely no motor. Yep, this baby is self-powered. By you.

Curious, I headed to Life Time Fitness for a test run to see if this new ‘mill is any better than the original.

Scroll down for everything you need to know about the Skillmill, the newest piece of equipment rolling out in gyms across the country.

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skillmill
Photo: Technogym

It was developed by Olympic athletes

One of Technogym’s big pillars is supplying Olympic athletes with training equipment (for six games and counting), so sports pros were the first to try the Skillmill, testing again and again (and again…) and sharing their feedback. Then it hit the labs.

The company performed scientific studies at the Sports & Rehab Engineering Lab at the University of Padova in Italy to see exactly how the muscles were activated and where it differed from the traditional treadmill. The results? EMGs showed a significantly higher activation in the glutes and hamstrings.

Which is all very impressive, but how exactly do you use it?

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skillmill

How it works—and whether it measures up to the hype

I met my Skillmill guide, Technogym master trainer Joe Buffa, so he could give me a rundown of features. (And I recorded it on Facebook Live for everyone to see, naturally—check it out below!)

The biggest thing he stressed was proper running form with this new piece of equipment. If your shoulders are slumped over and your spine isn’t straight, you aren’t going to get enough power to move very quickly. And that’s not all: According to Buffa, you should never look down—if you do, there’s a good chance you might eat it.

Since it’s sans motor, I controlled the speed with my movements, and I was surprised at how quickly the machine responded. If I stopped, so did the Skillmill, right away. Knowing I could stop the machine without flying off made me more adventurous in my workout, and before too long I was trying things I’m too timid to try on a treadmill, like side-stepping.

I dialed up the numbered resistance lever on the side, which made it harder to keep the surface moving. That’s where the lower dual handlebar in the front of the machine really came into play: I needed it to push the track away and keep the belt rotating.

Another workout move Buffa loves: hopping off the machine and using your hands to power the surface while holding a squat position, which I try around the 2:15 minute mark in the video above. This works the arms, core, and glutes. (Nice to see you, full-body workout.)

Of course Technogym being a cutting edge technology company and all, there’s also an app and a handy little screen on the machine so you can watch instructional videos or follow along with a guided interval training workout. Or you can just, you know, step on and go, because on this machine, you literally only get out of it what you put into it.

Looking for more ways to shake up your workout? Follow these 10 fitness trainers on Snapchat for ideas. And if you’re on a mission to try all the trendy ones, these are the buzziest workouts, according to celebrities.