Treadmills are a staple of the fitness industry and home gyms for a very good reason. They are fantastic.
Running, jogging and power walking are amongst the most effective forms of steady-state cardio you can take part in. All are relatively easy and very accessible – little to no instruction is needed, no matter your fitness level or athletic background. All use up a tremendous number of calories, work your heart and lungs, and contribute to strong and healthy lower body muscles and bones.
However, running and jogging can take it out of you. The constant pounding can wear down your ankles, knees, and hips over time. It’s also not always pleasant or safe to run, especially at night, in inclement weather. This is where a good treadmill can come into its own.
A good treadmill will offer cushioning for the joints, keeping them safe, and will allow you to run as far as you like, as often as you like, from the comfort of your own home.
But what makes a good treadmill? How can you choose one?
ProForm are generally a good bet. They make a wide range of high-quality, higher-end treadmills that deliver a great deal of utility.
The ProForm Pro 9000 is one of their pricier models, costing around two grand yet still representing very good value for money.
First Impressions Of The ProForm Pro 9000
The ProForm Pro 9000 is a lovely machine. I recently had the chance to try out the Performance 600i, one of their more budget friendly options, and loved it. Therefore, the prospect of playing on one of their higher-end machines was very exciting.
The Pro 9000 is quite an attractive piece of kit, with a large, clear, vibrant screen and plenty of sleek black moulded lines. However, it’s fully foldable, so you won’t be looking at it all the time – simply collapse it and tuck it in a spare bit of cupboard space or under your bed until you need it again.
There is also a lot of media capability to get your head round, though this is easy enough. Everything is user friendly, sets up well, and has you ready to go in no time.
ProForm Pro 9000 Specs/Features
ProForm have built the Pro 9000 with performance front and centre in their minds. This really shows.
Firstly, they have put together a very nice landing space. The deck is generous, at 51 x 152 cm, and features their ReBound Pro™ cushioning. This gives you plenty of room to stretch your legs, allowing even taller athletes to get into a good stride, whilst keeping joints completely safe.
They are keen to extend this comfort out wherever they can. The built-in CoolAire™ workout fan works wonders, keeping you cool enough to keep going and adding a touch of realism to some of their routes. Simply press a button to adjust and you’re onto a winner.
The incline levels are also incredibly good, especially for a home treadmill. The Pro 9000 takes in a range of -3% to 12%, which will be more than enough to tax you whilst also adding realism to some of the mountain or hillside runs included in its programming. This can be manually adjusted or given over to a trainer/programme.
This impressive incline functioning is matched by an incredible speed range. The Pro 9000 can take you up to 22kph, which is intense. Many home treadmills only make it up to 10 or 12. It’s also easy to change up your speed using ProForm’s QuickSpeed® Button Control, which puts full control at your fingertips.
ProForm get this speed thanks to an incredibly well-made, powerful yet silent engine. The 3.6 CHP Mach Z gives you as much power as you’ll ever need whilst staying cool and quiet, no matter how hard you push it. It creates a high level of inertia, which translates into an incredibly smooth tread.
The software is as good as the hardware. The Pro 9000 features Bluetooth audio capabilities with dual 2” speakers. It is also iFIT® Enabled, with a 30-Day iFIT family membership included in the purchase price (you will have to subscribe and pay monthly thereafter). This gives you access to a dizzying array of personal training experiences and fitness classes, giving you a full gym experience at home.
This is all accessed via a 22” smart HD touchscreen. The screen itself is very high definition and is incredibly user friendly. Simple swipes will switch between all the usual training stats you could want – calories burned, distance run, time spent training, and so forth.
As above, the Pro 9000 is fully collapsible. This is vital in a piece of home gym equipment. Space is always at a premium in anyone’s home, so cardio equipment that has to stay in place, taking up precious square-footage, is rarely a good thing. ProForm designed the Pro 9000 with SpaceSaver® Design, which means you can conveniently fold the deck up and out of the way. It has EasyLift™ Assist which makes a massive difference, especially when you’re tired after a heavy run – it really is easy to move about and store.
The Pro 9000 has a top user weight of 135kg. This is incredibly generous and very welcome, as even larger athletes will be able to use it with confidence. It’s a machine for anyone, truly.
Using The Pro 9000
The Pro 9000 handles as you would expect of anything by ProForm. That’s to say, it’s a real joy to use.
Let’s start with comfort, which will make or break any cardio machine’s longevity. The Pro 9000 will keep you going for a long time (if you so choose!). The shock absorption is lovely. It’s roughly the same tech as ProForm use in their 600i, and it’s true to form – I felt no discomfort in my joints as I ran (where most forms of running hurt my ankle – an old injury). Twenty minute bursts will be unnoticeable through your ankles, knees, and hips. Longer bouts will be comfortable enough, though you will obviously fatigue (very different from, and much more desirable to, impact strain).
I’m a real shorty, so stride length is never an issue for me. However, the generous running space felt nice. There was a real sense of freedom during use.
Alongside comfort, noise is always a red flag in home gym equipment. If your cardio machine causes a racket, you’ll never use it. Your family, housemates, neighbours, or anyone else who lives in close proximity to you will all get annoyed with it. Even if they don’t overtly complain (and many will), you may end up feeling self-conscious and abandon the whole idea of training at home.
The Pro 9000 is as close to silent as any treadmill can get. The motor is smooth and very, very quiet, and the shock absorption keeps heavy footfalls from making too much noise.
Then there is all the tech. This does what it’s meant to do. iFIT is always a great addition to any exercise regime. Professional trainers and fitness experts put together fantastic classes, both on-demand and in-person, so you needn’t ever get bored or run out of new ways to train and test yourself.
It’s easy to collapse, easy to move and store, and gives you a fantastic fitness regime. There really is little to argue with (aside from the price, of course!).
Alternative: ProForm’s Performance 600i
As I mentioned above, I recently had the great pleasure of reviewing ProForm’s Performance 600i. It’s by far one of their most affordable treadmill options, taking a far more modest bite out of your wallet than the Pro 9000.
If you’re looking for a good treadmill that comes in at a more modest budget, the 600i is a great home-gym option.
Please don’t think it’s cheap. It’s inexpensive relative to many of ProForm’s other models, and gives fantastic value for money. It doesn’t skimp on add-ons and features – you get things like a 10” HD touchscreen, iFit membership, and a fantastic, high-end motor (with very good 25-year warranty), all with decent change from a thousand dollars. It does everything that a treadmill of its type should do, slightly better than most of its competitors, at a very, very reasonable price point.
The 600i isn’t small, and it isn’t particularly light. However, as with its big brother, the Pro 9000, it’s fully foldable. You can use the convenient SpaceSaver design to make it easy to fit a treadmill in your home. EasyLift Assist is included too, helping you fold the deck up and out of the way, whilst transport wheels make it fully portable.
All in all, when it’s not in use, the 600i is actually pretty unobtrusive.
You also get a year’s free subscription with iFit Coach, which means that you’ll have access to hundreds of classes and personal trainer run sessions, alongside 22 different workout apps. This is particularly handy for beginners who otherwise might struggle to know how to hit their targets and keep their training varied.
I love the 600i. It’s second best to nobody – it’s simply a more economical form of ProForm’s often more unattainable machines.