Treadmills are massive in size, hard to leverage while moving, and have heavy motors and components. It’s an absolute chore to move these 100lb+ machines around, so how do you do it safely without hurting yourself or breaking the walls? That’s what we’re here to tell you.
Moving your treadmill isn’t going to be easy, but with this information, it alleviates most of the frustration that comes along with it. Let’s make sure you move that treadmill safely and effectively.
Things to Know Before Moving a Treadmill
Before you walk over and try to Hulk lift your treadmill and move it down the stairs, there’s a few things you need to know ahead of time. This is the preparatory stage that will make this loads easier if you follow these tips.
Prepare it Ahead of Time
Prepare an area to disassemble your treadmill ahead of time if that’s what you have to do. Make sure you have bags for parts, bubble wrap, and boxes. You don’t want to think about this last minute while you’re in a sea of packed boxes and you have no way to disassemble it to move it.
However, most of us don’t want to disassemble a treadmill to move it, and that’s okay. You should prepare your treadmill by laying a thick blanket on the floor, and then positioning the treadmill on top of it. We want to avoid damage to the treadmill, but also damage to the floors.
Even then, scratches are bound to happen. A few little scrapes on your treadmill is no big deal. After all, it’s all about the function, so a few cosmetic abrasions aren’t going to be a big deal.
But if the treadmill gets scratched, that’s because it scraped up against something else, and that’s where we have a problem.
That means you have some kind of damage inside your home or apartment. If you’re moving, it could very well mean a loss on your security deposit for damages. Wall corners are especially tricky to repair because it usually means replacing two intersecting pieces of sheetrock.
Dangers of Moving a Treadmill
You’re moving a heavy piece of machinery; there are some associated risks for you and your belongings that you have to take into account ahead of time, otherwise you’ll fall right into the pitfalls.
There’s damage to your treadmill to worry about. Scratches don’t matter, but treadmill bodies are made of plastic. They’re prone to cracking, snapping, and don’t handle shock very well. If you bump it into something on your way out, the shock could ripple through the plastic and also break something underneath.
Some damage to your treadmill may include:
- Cracked Motor Housing: This is a big deal, because the next time you run the motor, it could just straight-up not work at all. Or, it could cause the plastic to get stuck in the motor and cause an electrical fire. While you’re not going to run into every kind of malfunction or break imaginable when you move a treadmill, you want to inspect it when it arrives at your destination to make sure it isn’t completely destroyed under the hood.
- Roller Displacement: The rear roller in your treadmill is what lets the tread run along the back and spin, and if this is out of whack, the rest of your treadmill will be as well. Your roller is held in with bolts, so be sure to check on these after you reach your destination and tighten them up as necessary. If a roller slips off, it could tear the tread or snap the belt.
- Loose Console: The console and stabilizers that come up from the running deck are also susceptible to damage. If the console comes loose, it could mean that something inside (like a bolt or screw) is broken, or simply that it needs to be tightened. The vibrations on a moving truck can make things come loose. Either way, failing to check on this before you use it again could result in a problem with your treadmill.
What does moving a treadmill do to your body? If done improperly, it can do a lot. Even if you lift weights in the same metric as the weight of your treadmill, the way the weight is distributed is completely different. These are a few health issues that can crop up if you aren’t careful.
- Herniated Disc: Your spine has discs, and if they become herniated (basically dislocated), it can cause you a ridiculous amount of pain. Pain is displaced to the arms, legs, and other areas where nerves are directly affected. These injuries can be lifelong, or cause chronic pain even if they’re fixed/alleviated by a doctor or surgeon.
- Pulled Muscle: Whether it’s in your back or your hamstrings, a pulled muscle is serious. It means the fibers were pulled from the bone, and it causes instability, pain, and temporary disability in extreme cases. Untreated, it can also lead to muscle apathy, which is the last thing anyone needs after moving.
- Fractures: If the treadmill slips from your hands and it falls on your foot or presses your arm into the wall, it can lead to bone fractures. While you won’t be out of commission for as long as a full break, it’s still upsetting and difficult to carry on with daily tasks as a result.
If you don’t disassemble and pack it up all in the same place, you’re running the risk of property damage as you move it out of your house or apartment. That leads to a loss of your security deposit, or some expensive and fast repairs if you’re selling the place.
- Corners: Wall corners are the biggest thing to watch out for. It’s easy to misinterpret how much space you have left between you and the wall, and then ding the corner of it. It’s dreadfully easy, so be sure that you have some counter-measure in place while moving your treadmill.
- Baseboards: Sliding it down the hall on some cardboard or blankets? That’s a good tactic, but watch out for those baseboards. It doesn’t take much to accidentally leave long black streaks along it, which is something you usually have to fix with sanding and paint.
- Doorways: Door frames and doors in general are the biggest contender. You have to angle your treadmill (most likely on its side) to get it out the door, or move it from one room through another. Don’t underestimate how fragile the faces of more doors are; the corner of your treadmill is more than enough to crack or penetrate it.
Guide to Moving a Treadmill
Consult the Manual
Yes, the dreaded manual. You still have the manual, don’t you? Manuals include moving instructions nine times out of ten, and these can be valuable because they point out features you didn’t know your treadmill had, or they can tell you the anticipated blind spots you’ll encounter when moving it from one space to the next.
Some treadmills have compartments inside to store wires during moving so they don’t jostle around (basically like cable conduits that hold onto the wires). However, every treadmill is different. Just be sure to consult the manual for any hidden tips, tricks, or information on parts that you didn’t know disconnected.
Remove Furniture and Obstacles
Don’t assume that you can just move the treadmill around your furniture. This isn’t parallel parking during an exam; this is something you don’t want to go sideways. Clear your furniture, any packed boxes, and anything that you possibly can to make a clear path to your destination.
If you’re getting this up on a moving truck, make sure the ramp is down. If you have to move it out of an apartment, see if a friend can hold the elevator for you. Eliminate every single obstacle in your way so you can get it from your home to the truck in one fell swoop. It makes the entire process easier.
Fold the Treadmill
Most treadmills fold, but a lot of people don’t know this. Your manual should have information on this, or you can find a quick YouTube tutorial online for your specific model. These are designed to be moved (no company is expecting you to disassemble the entire thing if you want to move; that would be bad for their brand association).
Just be sure that folding the treadmill won’t damage it, and be sure to secure it. Even if there’s a way for the treadmill to lock into place, those latches can come undone with enough force. Use a strap that you would find on a dolly, and keep this thing secure and shut.
Prepare a Dolly
At the end of the day, you don’t need to put that pressure on your lower back. Get a dolly. You can rent them for cheap, or buy one if you plan on moving in the near future or if you’re going to need it for other reasons.
Buying is preferable because you can use it during your move-in to your new place, and rentals can cost up to 60-75% of the MSRP anyway. It’s just better to buy it and be able to keep it.
Make sure that you get straps with your dolly. While the lifting power is great, a treadmill falling off of it is susceptible to your input more than anything else. Secure straps tightly to your treadmill, connect it around the back of the dolly, and make sure it’s not going anywhere. Leave nothing to chance especially when it puts your personal health and safety at risk.
Move the Treadmill
Now you know what to do, what you need to do, and that a little bit of help can go a long way. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for some assistance, and be sure to practice proper lifting habits. Otherwise, you could end up paying for it later.
While your manual might not come with instructions, you can use common sense to find the heaviest points of your treadmill (typically being the motor), and figure out how to move it safely and securely. Whether it’s because you’re moving or you’re just selling your old treadmill, there’s no need to hurt your back in the process.