TechnoGym SkillRun TX 500 Treadmill Review 2020

Last Updated: July 17, 2020
SkillRun TX500 hybrid treadmill review
The Technogym SkillRun is a high-end hybrid treadmill designed for home or commercial use. This is a flat frame treadmill with a slat belt and both motorized and non-motorized functions. In addition to a motorized deck that will incline to a 25% grade and decline to -3% grade, the SkillRun TX 500 has a larger belt at 22” wide by 68” long, which is bigger than the Assault or Woodway manual treads.The SkillRun also has a manual option for parachute and sled push training for more challenging, upper body engagement. One unique feature of the SkillRun is the real-time biofeedback provided to runners. In addition to the standard metrics of time, distance and pace, you also get feedback about cadence, gait, foot pattern and more. This makes it an ideal treadmill for those who value biofeedback training. Technogym makes several high-end treadmills. The SkillRun TX 500 hits the top of the price chart at a whopping $13,000 with the upgraded SkillRun 5000 coming in at $15,000 and the SkillRun 7000 rounding it out at $16,000. We find the SkillRun TX 500 to be the best value for your investment.

Who It’s For: Athletes looking for a hybrid slat belt treadmill with multifunction console and real time biofeedback

The SkillRun is best suited for users who:

  • Are already preconditioned and desire to enhance their training
  • Want the benefits of a slat belt design with motorized features
  • Desire the training aspects of a slat belt treadmill with incline and decline
  • Have the cash to drop on a very expensive, high-end treadmill
  • Have a dedicated space for the treadmill; it is large and does not fold up
  • Will use and understand the various biofeedback options
  • Looking for added training elements beyond just running
Pros
  • Biofeedback technology assesses your running gait and provides real-time info for targeted training
  • Motorized belt with manual option for sled or parachute work
  • Abundant training programs
  • No subscription required
  • Declines to -3% and inclines to 25% grade!
  • Includes programming for 24 languages
  • Large 22” wide by 68” long running surface
Cons
  • Expensive and heavy!
  • Not a curved slat belt frame. The SkillRun has a flat running surface.
  • Must be specially ordered for home use
  • Max speed of 18.6mph may not be fast enough to elite sprinters

FeaturesSpecifications
  • Slat Belt technology with 68” by 22” Running surface
    • This is one of the larger running surfaces found on slat belt treadmills. The extended length and added width is invaluable when incorporating sprints and bursts of power.
  • 485lb max user weight
    • The max user weight makes this machine capable of supporting nearly any user
  • Multidrive Technology: Run + Resistance
    • Train for both explosive speed and power with the run and resistance technology
  • Footprint: 73” H x 34” W x 66” D
    • This is a large machine, best suited for garages or other dedicated workout space. It is not recommended that the SkillRun be used on an upstairs floor.
  • Speed range: up to 18.6mph
    • For average runners looking to up their game or weekend warriors who want to train on the ultimate high end treadmill the 18.6mph will be plenty fast. For some elite sprinters, 18.6mph may not provide enough speed. Other manual slat belt treadmills do not have a max speed, so this is something to consider.
  • Incline/Decline: -3% decline to 25% incline
    • One of the benefits of a motorized deck is the ability it has to incline and decline. Add important variables to your training including uphill and downhill conditioning.
  • 10” LCD Android Touchscreen
    • The 10” touchscreen is slightly smaller than the one on the Unity or 5000 machines, but it is crisp, and easy to see and use.
  • 16 Embedded workout programs
    • Skill Athletic Programs for Speed, Agility, Power, and Stamina
    • Routines include: Cardio Fit, Strong Legs, and Speed & Agility Drills
    • SkillRun Bootcamp
    • QuickPad for both speed and incline interval training
    • Quick Start program
    • Goal Oriented programs for: Time, Calories, Distance
    • Heart Rate Programs: CPR-CHR/ Training Zone, Weight Loss
    • 7 Individual Profiles
    • Workout Programs: Speed shift, Hi-Low Blocks, Hills, Cross Training
  • Biofeedback Enabled
    • Provides real-time data for: Cadence, Step Length, Running Power, Ground Contact Time, Flight Time, Propulsion Time, Pushing Power QuickPad for both speed and incline interval training
  • 7 Individual Profiles
    • The SkillRun allows for up to 7 profiles so everyone in your family (or small gym) can create their own.

Construction:

  • Slat Belt technology
  • 68” by 22” Running surface
  • 485lb max user weight
  • 5.5” footrest width
  • Multidrive Technology: Run + Resistance
  • Ergonomic Sled Handlebars
  • Maximum Sled Load: 350lbs
  • Parachute kit optional
  • Motor PFC
  • HR Monitoring for Bluetooth and ANT+ devices
  • Footprint: 73” H x 34” W x 66” D
  • Step Up height: 12.6” off the floor
  • Belt life: Up to 100,000 miles
  • Speed range: up to 18.6mph
  • Incline/Decline: -3% decline to 25% incline

Console:

  • 10” LCD Touchscreen
  • Android OS
  • 24 Languages
  • Compatible with Apple Watch GymKit
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Technogym Key Reader
  • Audio-Mic Plug
  • USB Port

Functionality:

  • 10” Unity touchscreen
  • 16 Embedded workout programs
  • Skill Athletic Programs for Speed, Agility, Power, and Stamina
  • Routines include: Cardio Fit, Strong Legs, and Speed & Agility Drills
  • Biofeedback for: Cadence, Step Length, Running Power, Ground Contact Time, Flight Time,
  • Propulsion Time, Pushing Power
  • SkillRun Bootcamp
  • QuickPad for both speed and incline interval training
  • Quick Start program
  • Goal Oriented programs for: Time, Calories, Distance
  • Heart Rate Programs: CPR-CHR/ Training Zone, Weight Loss
  • 7 Individual Profiles
  • Workout Programs: Speed shift, Hi-Low Blocks, Hills, Cross Training
  • No Real time races
  • No Real time marathons
  • Sled and Parachute performance training
  • No Submaximal tests
  • One Maximal Power test

Warranty:

  • Frame: 10 Years
  • Parts: 2 Years
  • Labor: 2 Year

In-depth Review of Technogym SkillRun TX500

The SkillRun TX500 features a 10” touchscreen with various display options. You can create up to 7 profiles so each user is able to create and track their own data. Programs include: heart rate specific training for zone or weight loss; speed shift, hi-low blocks, hills, and cross training. There are also goal-oriented routines for cardio fitness, strong legs, and speed & agility drills. The SkillRun includes a maximal power test for comparative metrics. The patent-pending Biofeedback display has readouts for: cadence, step length, running power, ground contact time, flight time propulsion time, and pushing power. This biofeedback tracks your main running parameters in real time, which then provides color-coded feedback so you can instantly improve your form and performance. This is what makes the SkillRun a premier machine for serious athletes who want specified science-backed metrics to enhance their training.
SkillRun TX500 hybrid treadmill review


Construction

Frame

The Technogym SkillRun consists of a steel frame and rubberized slat belts. Not a great deal of information regarding the overall construction of the SkillRun is available, but it certainly feels sturdy and supportive underfoot. Steel, powder-coated uprights are gently curved and provide needed support when getting on or off the treadmill. The slats are tight and rotate smoothly over the deck.

Deck

Cushioning/Feel

The rubberized slats provide a bit of cushioning which mitigates joint impact when running. While this isn’t as extensive as the cushion you may find in high-end incline trainers, the surface is designed to mimic outdoor surfaces while also providing needed support. The SkillRun surface enables users to gain needed biofeedback during their run.
Length/Width
The running surface is 22” wide and extends an impressive 68” in length. This extended length is vital for both sprint training as well as the explosive power in parachute or sled training. Parachute training is possible on the TX500, but you need to buy the kit separately. Once strapped in, runners work against the parachute resistance to develop explosive sprinting power. However, you need more track length here due to the angle of the body in the resistance harness. Similarly, the sled push feature allows runners to lean forward and press against the handlebars as they move the belt with their feet. Again, due to the lowered angle, the extended length and width of the deck makes a big difference here.

Surface

The SkillRun is comprised of rubberized slats that rotate along the surface of the deck to simulate the feel of outdoor surfaces. The design of the slat belt also enhances the overall life of both the belt and machine. Technogym advertises the belt on the SkillRun will last upwards of 100,000 miles with minimal maintenance.

This design is obviously different from traditional treadmills which use a single flat belt that slides across the deck. The advantage of slat belt treads is they are much more durable and typically have a longer wear-life than single belt treads. Also, a slat belt more closely resembles running overground outdoors. It is the preferred surface for professional or elite athletes who are training indoors or on the off season. Slat belt treads first emerged with the Woodway Tread in the 1970s and have been popular in high-end and training facilities worldwide since then. More recently, smaller boutique gyms and training facilities have discovered and incorporated the use of slat treads as well. The SkillRun can be used in commercial, professional or home gyms.

Handrails and Side Rails

Handrails are powder coated steel. These are sweat and moisture resistant to protect the SkillRun from rust. Side rails are 5.5” wide and textured for protection. Side rails provide a nice step off when straddling the deck. The step-up height of 12.6” is on par with standard motorized treadmills, so this isn’t any harder to get on and off than a regular belt treadmill. The uprights extend from the frame upwards and are angled gently toward the front of the belt. This provides stability under the console. Two horseshoe handrail extensions project aft from the main uprights for more lateral support. Initially these side handrails can create a bit of a “boxed in” feel, but they quickly become both handy and useful when using the various SkillRun training programs. A steel horizontal support bar houses the console screen. Just in front of this is an angled horizontal steel bar. There are also two vertical grips that extend upwards on either side of the console. In all, there are abundant handrail options on the SkillRun. As mentioned, users are more likely to feel slightly boxed in rather than unstable on the SkillRun. Regardless of the training program you select, there is plenty of hand support on the SkillRun.

Motor

The SkillRun features a whopping 10 maximum horsepower AC brushless motor. This is the most powerful motor we’ve seen in a treadmill. It requires a dedicated 16A power socket with either 200-240 Vac (E version) or 90-240 Vac (A version). The motor is certainly sufficient and provides plenty of kick for top speeds, parachute training and simply inclining and declining the deck. Be advised that since the SkillRun requires a dedicated power source, you will need to place your machine close to a wall outlet. An extension cord is not recommended.

Console/Controls

Console Layout

Technogym Skill Run console
The SkillRun TX500 features a 10” LCD console. The upgraded Unity and 5000 models use a 19” touchscreen with added features such as TV, web browsing and radio. However, the console on the TX500 provides more than adequate training functionality; the screen is just slightly smaller. The full color touchscreen loads a home screen where runners can select their program, routine or quick training program. A touchscreen cleans up the console nicely which reduces buttons and icons in the cockpit. This creates a very sleek, clutter-free console on the SkillRun.

Paddle Speed and Incline Controls

On either side of the console, the SkillRun features control paddles that allow the user to quickly increase or decrease speed and/or incline with just the flick of your finger. These are particularly useful, especially when you are in the middle of a full sprint and don’t have the stability to lean forward and adjust controls on the touchscreen.

Accessories and Storage

Two pockets sit just below the console panel for water bottles or other small items. These are slightly behind the front horizontal bar but well within reach.

Speakers

There are speakers under the screen which provide volume during the video programs and other cues. Bluetooth functionality also makes it so you can sync your phone with the SkillRun to play your music through the speakers.

Fans

There are no fans on the SkillRun. This is one design element we find to be lacking on a treadmill at this price point. While we appreciate the clean console and sleek cockpit, the addition of a fan would be beneficial, especially when doing longer runs, sprints, etc. This machine is designed to challenge you and we anticipate most users will easily break into a sweat within minutes of using the SkillRun. A fan is always handy on a high-end treadmill such as this.

Functionality

Performance

Performance is where the SkillRun excels. Granted, you pay a pretty penny for this advanced trainer. However, for elite athletes looking for biofeedback, advanced training programs, performance conditioning, and a maximal power test, the Technogym SkillRun lineup is unparalleled. The SkillRun enables runners to target specific training objectives with exclusive routines such as: Cardio Fit, Strong Legs, and Speed and Agility Drills. These are displayed on the console with step by step video guidance. The SkillRun Bootcamp program helps develop overall conditioning with routines that alternate between running and resistance training. The biofeedback system provides info on cadence, running ower, pace, step length, ground contact time, heart rate, propulsion time, flight time, as well as current grade and speed. Cadence training again focuses on running power, ground contact time and step length to target the perfect cadence for every run. The TX500 Speed Shift program adds variety and intensity with one the fly interval training that allows runners to quickly and easily switch between speeds. The addition of sled and parachute training targets more upper body muscles as well and zero in on those glutes and hamstrings for balanced musculature. The maximum power test also provides feedback on your peak power which research has proven to be equivalent to a 15-meter sprint. This information is useful when incorporating the other training programs.

Incline / Decline range

The SkillRun is one of the few slat belt treadmills with both incline and decline functionality. Many standard treadmills incline to 15%, but the SkillRun takes the incline up to a full 25% for advanced hill training, posterior strengthening, and higher calorie burn. Incline training is not only harder, it also targets different muscle groups for balanced leg musculature. Many runners develop tight hip flexors and weak glutes due to all the forward running motion. Adding an incline allows users to recruit and strengthen hamstrings and glutes. Incline training also burns significantly more calories in the same amount of time due to the added challenge of working uphill. Additionally the 3% decline is a useful training variable. As any marathoner knows, downhill courses are brutal on your quads and knees. Being able to train for these downhill segments on the SkillRun is advantageous. Downhill training also allows for active recovery and enables runners to get a real-life feel for rolling hills, with both the up and downhill sections.

Pre-programmed workouts

TechnoGym SkillRun TX 500 Preprogrammed workouts
The SkillRun includes abundant training programs. These do not require an ongoing subscription and come preloaded on the machine. The TX500 includes the following training programs:

  • Goal Oriented training for Time, Distance and Calories
  • A Quick Start (manual) program
  • Heart Rate programs: CPR/CHR, Zone Training, Weight loss
  • On-Trend workout programs: Speed Shift, Hi-Low Blocks, Hills, Cross Training
  • Sled and Parachute training (parachute kit not included)
  • Routines for: Cardio Fit, Strong Legs, Speed & Agility Drills
  • Technogym Maximal Power Test

Noise Level

The SkillMill is comparable with other motorized treadmills. The motor itself is quiet, but there is a bit of belt noise as the slats move over the bearings and along the surface of the deck. Also impact noise from running is also present. This isn’t the quietest machine, but it isn’t designed to be used while watching Netflix. This is a serious training machine that should be properly used by an attentive athlete. It is best placed on a sturdy floor in an open area with plenty of ventilation for runner comfort. Garages, gyms or other dedicated workout space is the best option for the Technogym SkillRun.

Parachute Training

The SkillRun TX500 does not include a parachute kit, but you can purchase one from Technogym. The parachute training system allows users to strap into a harness that is secured to either side of the aft handrail. The harness simulates the drag created from an open parachute behind the runner which resists the forward motion on the belt. This seriously increases the amount of effort and power needed to maintain forward momentum. While some users may find the parachute system to be restrictive (since you are strapped in via a harness), it does provide an added training component favored by elite athletes.

Sled Push System

Sled Push ystem
With both a horizontal handlebar and vertical grips, the sled push system allows the user to disconnect the belt from the motor, lean forward and push against the handrails as you move the belt manually with your feet. This targets upper body muscles in the arms, chest and back as well as burns out the glutes and hamstrings for a full body torching workout. Sled push systems are designed to simulate the exercise where athletes push a weighted sled along the ground on grass or turf. You get a very similar experience on the SkillRun and sled push systems have been integrated into many of the high end manual and incline trainer treadmills. No extra equipment is required to use the sled push feature.

Storage / Folding

The Technogym SkillRun does not fold. It is recommended to place the SkillRun on a solid surface with open space underneath (no high-nap rugs or carpet) that won’t get caught in the slats. A first floor or garage is ideal. The Runner weighs over 300lbs and may be too heavy for higher floors.

Bottom Line:

The SkillRun TX500 is a high-end motorized treadmill that incorporates many of the advanced training features of manual treadmills with the upgraded training programs available on motorized treads. This hybrid treadmill provides the best of both worlds with advanced biofeedback, customized training, a maximal fitness test, and abundant training programs, including the sled push and parachute features. The SkillRun has a 18.6mph max speed which should work for most athletes but may be restrictive for ultra-competitive sprinters, so that is one thing to consider. Additionally, the 25% incline and 3% decline add more functionality and training options with uphill runs, downhill conditioning and rolling hills. Preloaded programs incorporate the incline and decline for targeted challenges. We love the speed and incline control paddles on the console. These sit to the right (speed) and left (incline) of the screen and are the perfect way to quickly adjust pace or grade without having to lean forward and navigate the touchscreen. While the SkillRun has a hefty price tag out the door, it does not require an ongoing subscription, which is certainly something to consider when evaluating the long term cost. With a belt that is slated to last upwards of 100,000 miles, minimal required maintenance and no ongoing subscription, you know exactly what the SkillRun is going to cost you — and it may even out with other machines over time. We have reviewed the entry model, TX500 but SkillRun offers even more features on the Unity 5000 or 7000 models. These have a larger touchscreen, more programs, and a bit more customized training. Regardless of which SkillRun you chose, rest assured that this is a high-end machine with a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame. If you are a gym owner, coach, athletic trainer, or athlete looking to upgrade your training and enhance your strength and cardio conditioning, the SkillRun offers many exciting features.

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