What are FreeStride Trainers? Glad you asked. FreeStride Trainers by NordicTrack are home fitness machines that have suspended footplates for a “floating on air” sensation. These machines offer the benefits of treadmills, stairclimbers, and elliptical trainers all in one. With a variable stride of up to 32″, FreeStride Trainers can be used with short steps or long glides. The machine’s stride length automatically adapts to the user’s motion. Other highlights include a touchscreen and iFit readiness for interactive training.
How it works: To support the floating on air sensation, FreeStride trainers have cushioned footplates that are suspended above the floor. Upper body grips and a center drive make it easy to stay balanced and get a full body workout.
While the machine’s stride length adjusts automatically, the resistance is easily adjusted with buttons on the handgrips. A power incline and power decline add to the challenge.
Keeping with the NordicTrack style, FreeStride Trainers also get modern tech on their consoles. The computers have touchscreen displays and dozens of built-in workout apps. They are iFit-enabled as well, so the machine can go online for customized workout downloads, virtual races, and other training benefits.
What We Like:
- Hybrid Design: FreeStride Trainers are like three fitness machines in one. You can take small steps as with a stairclimber, glide as you would with an elliptical, or stretch out as with cross country skiing.
- Automatic Stride Adjustment: The stride length changes automatically in response to the user. This is unlike most elliptical trainers, which either have fixed strides or require manual adjustments.
- Adjustable Force: Up to 20 pounds of resistance are available.
- Incline and Decline: Automated inclines and declines help deliver fast results for weight loss and toning. Exercising on a grade dramatically increases metabolism and recruits muscles differently for improved definition. The FS7i has a 0 to 10% incline. The FS9i and FS14i can incline and decline by 10%.
- Reversible Motion: The footplates move forward and backward for added workout variety.
- Ergonomic: A common problem with fitness machines is that the range of leg motion is too restrictive. FreeStride Trainers have auto-adjustable strides.
- Touchscreens: Modern tech adds appeal to these units. The display is a full-color touchscreen, either 7″, 10″ or 14″ wide depending on the model of FreeStride Trainer.
- Built-In Workout Programs: These units are equipped with plenty of motivating workout programs. Smartly designed, they automatically adjust to your progress to make training more efficient.
- iFit Enabled: iFit technology connects the FreeStride Trainer to a Google Maps exercise app. This lets you draw a map and virtually experience the changes in terrain. The fitness machine adjusts its tilt automatically. iFit also lets you download customized workout routines, track your fitness progress, race against friends, and more.
- Wireless Pulse Monitor: A wireless heart rate monitoring system with chest strap is included on the latest versions of FreeStrides.
- Water Bottle Holder: Hydration is easy with the convenience of an integrated bottle holder.
- High Capacity: The FS7i has a 375 pound capacity. The FS9i can support up to 400 pounds.
- Warranty: The residential warranty is competitive.
What We Don’t Like:
- High Price: FreeStride Trainers aren’t cheap compared to traditional fitness machines.
- Assembly: NordicTrack advertises “snap assembly,” which might sound easier than it is. Allow about 75 minutes.
- Noisy: Some customers have complained that these machines are loud. The pedals can clang when they reach the end of their swing.
- Short Footplates: People with larger shoe sizes might have trouble staying stable on the pedals.
Watch Our Video Review of the NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride Trainer
FreeStride Trainers are priced higher than typical elliptical trainers, but lower than hybrid machines from commercial-quality brands such as Precor. They adapt to different body sizes and offer incredible workout variety thanks to adjustable stride, adjustable resistance, reversible motion, and unlimited iFit downloads. We recommend these units most strongly to shorter people who won’t use the full range of motion, as the noise created at the full range can be distracting.