The Precor Assault AirRunner is something a little different from the majority of our offerings—it’s motorless, has a curved running surface, and uses a slat system rather than a conventional treadmill belt. This style of resistance-drive treadmill has become immensely popular as of late, and there’s a very good reason why. The added effort required to run on a unit like this means that you’re burning anywhere up to 30% more calories than you would on a conventional treadmill. This also means that you’re no longer at the mercy of programming when working out; if you want to run intervals, you run intervals, or if you want to take more time ramping up your running pace, you’re entirely in control.
For those just getting into running this can be a bit daunting, but more seasoned runners will no doubt appreciate this level of flexibility. You don’t need to think about fussing with settings or reaching for speed and incline adjustment buttons—just tune out and run. Though it doesn’t fold, it is rather lightweight when compared to other treadmills with motors, making it easy to maneuver around your workout space as needed. Lastly, its tread design is miles more durable than a conventional treadmill belt, meaning you’ll get years of hassle-free use out of the unit without some of the maintenance and repairs that can come with more “high tech” treadmills.
Precor isn’t the first to get into this niche of the treadmill market, but there’s good reason for them to be jumping on the bandwagon. These treadmills are being adopted by pro sports organizations on a massive scale, with the vast majority of pro football, baseball, hockey, soccer, and other sports leagues migrating to this style of equipment for training. There’s also more and more science out there backing up the efficacy of these treadmills—a study in December of 2018 found that found some solid results in testing 13 fit male runners (all capable of a sub-20 minute 5K). They consumed an average of 32 percent more oxygen, had 16 percent higher heart rates, a 2.5 percent higher running cadence, and 38 percent worse running economy than when they ran at equivalent speeds on the motorized treadmill.
What We Like:
- Durable Construction
- Intense and effective workouts
- Freedom from built-in programming
- Simplicity of design
- Lightweight compared to motorized treadmills
- Long service life
- Doesn’t require electricity
- Easy to move
Precor Assault AirRunner - Key Specs:
|Running Area:||not specified|
|Top Speed:||variable/user controlled MPH|
|Weight Capacity:||350 LBS|
|Dimensions:||69.9" L x 32.8" W x 64" H|
- Does not fold
- Not suited to beginners
Our overall verdict lands in two very distinct camps depending on who we are directing our advice towards, which isn’t always the case when reviewing treadmills. For that reason, we’re going to split things up a bit here and provide two different conclusions in that fun sort of “choose your own adventure” format.
For the beginner: In the grand scheme of things, this treadmill really isn’t for you. Sure, it’s built like a tank and will last forever, giving you the opportunity to “grow into it”, but realistically speaking there is significant benefit to having a more conventional treadmill with pre-programmed workouts and other features as you get accustomed to running, or at least running on a treadmill. This unit is really designed for those who are already active, fit, and healthy, and for those who already have a firm grasp on their workout structure from the get-go. Buying one of these as your intro to running would something akin to spending your first few hours on a race track at the wheel of a purpose-built race car with 500+ horsepower; it might seem like a fun idea, but in practical application we would advise against it. That in mind, we’d be more prone to suggesting one of the top-rated options on our Best Treadmills For Home Use page as an alternative that’s well built, user friendly, and also quite a bit more affordable.
For the serious runner: If you’ve got the budget and don’t care about interactive training programs or other high tech features, go for it! These treadmills may be newish in the marketplace, but they are serious pieces of equipment—not just another fitness fad.