Is it safe to put the front of a treadmill up on weight plates?
November 15, 2018 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Recently the incline mechanism on our 13-year-old Pacemaster ProElite treadmill broke, so we put the front on 25lb. weights. It is now at a 5% grade. Is that safe?

The company that produces those treadmills has been out of business for 6 years, so the part that snapped in two can never be replaced. The treadmill is therefore stuck on 0% grade. It works fine, but the impact from 0% incline vs. 1.5% (which we had been using) is killing our knees. I had a couple 25 lb. weights lying around and we put the weights under the heavy rubber mat that came with the treadmill and rolled the treadmill on top. Now the front wheels are up 2.75 inches. It is at a 5% grade. However we are worried that it will roll off. It also seems to be bouncing a lot, though from a short test it doesn't seem to be moving horizontally. We're worried we are putting stresses on the treadmill that it was not designed to take. Neither of us is especially heavy but we did manage to break the incline mechanism. (We can also use thinner 25lb weights, such that it is a 1.5% grade). We would prefer not to have to buy a new treadmill.
posted by Luminiferous Ether to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had the opposite problem and found that the tiny natural incline of my treadmill was hard on my hip. I raise the back of the treadmill with beanbag weights (the baggies from ankle weights). Those absorb shock better and shouldn't wiggle so much. Every now and then you have to "refluff" them, but we're talking every few weeks, not every 20 minutes.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:23 PM on November 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

On and I put the bean bag thingies under the treadmill itself, not under a mat...but now that I think about it, boosting the back may be different since (mine at least) had no feet on the back, it was just the metal bits at the side of the belt that would lay on the baggies.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:28 PM on November 15, 2018

Are you sure the part is not available. I have a very old treadmill and can find parts online. You might call a treadmill repair service. I suspect they will have a store room full old part for old machines.
posted by tman99 at 6:06 AM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

the part that snapped in two can never be replaced

"Never" is a pretty big word. Any chance of some photos of the snapped part? It might be quite feasible to repair it or fabricate a replacement at relatively low cost.
posted by flabdablet at 7:27 AM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

The company that produces those treadmills has been out of business for 6 years, so the part that snapped in two can never be replaced.

Can't be replaced, sure, but can't be repaired?

I don't really think that having the treadmill up on plates is likely to be that much of a problem, assuming they simulate what the incline mechanism would have done anyway. But I also think that you may be able to get it repaired if you want to.

The guts of most exercise equipment tends to be fairly standard steel (or more rarely, aluminum) tubing and channel, welded together. The treadmills at my gym have incline "feet" that are pretty clearly just square tubing with some sort of screw-drive mechanism inside them so they telescope. If yours is something similarly straightforward, a fabricator or even a decent garage welder may be able to fix it or replicate it for you. (In my area, there are a fair number of independent welders/fabricators on Craigslist, of all places.)

But to your specific question, as long as you are only angling parts of the treadmill that would have been at an angle given the original mechanism, it's hard to see why putting it up on plates would harm it. You might want to check regularly that it's not sliding off them, or put some friction mats (rubber shelf paper things) in there to keep it from sliding around, but I've certainly seen people do weirder stuff. People make all sorts of DIY configurations out of treadmills for treadmill desks, and I've yet to hear about one of them eating a person. YMMV.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:07 PM on November 16, 2018

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