FreeStep – Dealing with my chronic back pain, I make it a point to always be mobile. Regardless if you are suffering from chronic back pain or not. Maintaining some form of mobility is essential for living a healthier lifestyle.
I recently started using my recumbent bike again. From time to time, I will switch up my exercise routine. After a while, I always need to change up my exercise routine because it does not have the same impact as it did. I am only referring to the back pain relief aspect of it. So, I switch to something else. I really like using the recumbent bike because it’s much easier on my back than the usual stationary bike. If you suffer from back pain and in particular lower back pain? A recumbent bike is a great way to strengthen your back and ease your pain.
A study conducted by the Colorado Center for Health & Sport Science used state-of-the-art equipment for measuring metabolism in the body. In the study, they compared the FreeStep with a Recumbent Bike. It was found that the difference in energy expenditure to be very significant.
In their study, they had subjects using a recumbent bike and the FreeStep. When applying the same level of effort, the study showed the FreeStep burned 17.4% more calories per hour than the recumbent bike. Sure, I am always looking for back pain relief when exercising. But the other health benefits you get as well really make spending time, all the more worth it.
I recently had the chance to spend some time using the FreeStep. It was very impressive, to say the least. The FreeStep is very smooth and felt great on my lower back. That’s even after using it for a while (over 20 minutes). My lower back is where I have my back problems. It felt so good, I am going to buy one! To me, it is the “Cadillac” of recumbent bikes. After I made up my mind that I was going to buy a FreeStep, I knew I had to write a review from my experience.
The Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer is a cost-effective fitness machine that provides a low-impact workout. It is quickly becoming one of the more popular pieces of recumbent machines out on the market.
Recumbent Cross Trainers
As I stated, the FreeStep is a smooth and comfortable fitness machine. When using the FreeStep you are sitting in the recumbent position. Your back is well supported, just like it would be on any recumbent bike. That is key along with the reclining position to take the pressure off your back.
The difference with FreeStep as compared to a regular recumbent bike is the pedals. The recumbent bike has your legs rotating in a circular motion. With the FreeStep, your legs move in a more linear, back and forth motion. It is very similar to a stepper if you have ever used one of those?
To give you more of a full-body workout it includes handles to move your arms back and forth. Similar to an elliptical, this type of exercise movement is low impact. Because you are seated, it is even more low impact than the elliptical.
These machines have become very popular in therapy and rehab clinics. They provide cardio and strengthening exercises comfortable and are completely safe to do. If you have arthritis and achy joints, you will be able to use the FreeStep pretty comfortably.
Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer
( Skip to Price & Video )
The Teeter company was created by Roger Teeter who is an engineer. When he began he started designing inversion tables. That was after he discovered for himself the pain-relieving benefits you could get from inversion therapy. He still works on inversion tables and other products for improving spine health.
The Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer is part of the Teeter stabilization series. It’s a group of products that are specifically designed for strengthening muscles. This is an attempt to avoid injury, keep you fit, and active.
The FreeStep dimensions are 54″ L x 38″ W and the weight is about 110 lb fully assembled. Yes, that may seem heavy but you are getting a top-notch commercial-grade quality machine.
One feature I really liked with the Teeter FreeStep is it comes with an adjustable seat. It gives you the ability to adjust the height and reclining positions independently. For someone like myself who has chronic back pain, having this feature gives you more control to find that comfortable position. No matter what kind of seat I am in, I am always moving around trying to find a comfortable position. When I do, I can only stay in that position for so long before having to move around again to find another comfortable spot.
I was a little surprised that I couldn’t adjust the horizontal and vertical positions independently of the seat. There is only one height adjustment available. However, if you look at the angle of the seat post, it’s not totally vertical. What this means is you are increasing or decreasing the horizontal position every time you adjust the seat position. That’s really not that big of a deal, it just takes a little bit to get used to it.
You may like a softer seat but I thought it was great. I have used softer seats in the past and to be totally honest my butt kept falling asleep. The seat made for the FreeStep is a lot larger than most exercise bike seats.
The Teeter FreeStep can comfortably seat anyone that is between 4 ’11’ ‘ and 6’6″ tall. I was happy to see such a large range. Unless you are at a gym or getting physical therapy at a clinic. You will not see these ranges very often in products made for home use.
Most recumbent cross trainers will have either circular or linear pedal motion. They will traditionally have more linear pedals which are more comfortable. This especially applies if you have arthritis in your hips or knees. I also think it helps if you have back problems. At least from my experience.
The FreeStep uses linear pedal motion. By using the linear pedals, it will not put a lot less stress on your lower body joints.
The pedals are large making them comfortable for fitting any size shoes. If you watch the video I have put down on the page, you will see that the pedals move back and forth with your ankles as you push.
- Magnetic Resistance System – The FreeStep has a quiet magnetic resistance system that can easily be adjusted by simply turning a dial near the seat. It’s a great feature but some users have commented that it could use more resistance to offer a more challenging workout. I know when I was using it I felt it had plenty of resistance. It’s a matter of preference.
- Easy Adjustable Handles – There are upper body handles that can be adjusted to focus on different muscle groups. For instance, you can concentrate on your triceps or chest muscles.
- Digital Console for Tracking – This machine has a small, digital console that’s battery operated. This is helpful for tracking different workout stats like the time, calories, speed and distance.
- Convenient Stand – It comes with a convenient stand that can add to your workouts. The stand works great if you have a device like a phone or a tablet. Just prop it up and carry on a phone conversation, listen to music or watch a movie while you are exercising.
- Bottle Holder – This comes with a bottle holder for water or anything else you are drinking. Not all of these types of machines will come with this.
Assembly of the FreeStep
Assembling the FreeStep is fairly easy and clear. The instructions come with large and easy to follow illustrations at every step of the assembly process. The main tools you will need are the small Allen wrench and screwdriver which are included.
You always want to make sure you check a machine’s weight capacity before buying it. You want to ensure you are safe to use it. You know the more weight it can take the stronger and usually better built it will be.
The FreeStep comes with a 300 lb weight limit. That is plenty enough to accommodate the average user. This will give you peace of mind knowing that the design and materials used will be strong and durable.
It comes with a 1-year warranty on the frame. There is a 90-day warranty on the base and the moving parts.
Products that are made of lesser quality “budget machines”. They will usually come with shorter warranties like the typical 30-day warranty. But there are reasons why those machines cost less. For starters, the cheaper the price usually means it was made from cheaper materials.
- The compact size makes it easy to fit in most rooms of your home.
- Affordable price but they also have great financing which you will see on check out.
- Low impact linear pedal motion to make it easier on your joints and back.
- Adjustable seat to find that perfect setting.
- The magnetic resistance is very quiet.
- Adjustable handles for upper body motion.
- Easy to move with its built-in transport wheels.
- The warranty could be better in my opinion. However, the track record for Teeter is top-notch when it comes to their products not breaking down.
Recumbent cross trainers like the FeeStep are a great way to get a low impact workout. Again, if you have arthritis and achy joints that give you a lot of pain? You can use the FreeStep safely. Recumbent cross trainers have become a popular workout option for seniors because of its low impact.
The Teeter FreeStep is a very affordable recumbent cross-trainer. Plus, you have the finance option if needed. I know that for most recumbent cross trainers you will easily spend thousands for one of these machines. The FreeStep is not one of those, costing much less!
Teeter FreeStep Video
I wanted to show you something that is comparable to the FreeStep. I wanted something that I have used but also something that costs less than the FreeStep so you could see the difference. cost but I could not find anything that is a true recumbent cross-trainer. But below I listed the ProForm Hybrid Trainer
ProForm Hybrid Trainer
( Go to Price & Video )
The ProForm Hybrid Trainer is what is considered as an entry-level fitness machine for your entire body. The bike workouts are done in a semi-reclined position. Which is similar to the FreeStep. It also comes with good lumbar support, or you have the option to stand up to perform elliptical training. The console can easily be adjusted for each purpose.
If you have problems with your lower back like I do the elliptical might not be of much use for you. I know I can not use it even though its low impact. Again, everyone is different, it may work out for you.
This machine will work your arms, core muscles and legs without putting any harmful impact on your body. The ProForm Hybrid Trainer covers all fitness levels and supports efficient cardio workouts.
It comes with an advanced console that offers an integrated tablet holder for accessing iFit for more advanced workouts. iFit has plans starting at $15.00 and you get a discount if you pay for the year.
This ProForm Hybrid Trainer is developed for people who want to speed up their metabolism, tone up and get a cardio workout.
Full-Body Design: This machine has a two-in-one aspect to it. It can work at toning your arms, core, and legs. At the same time, it only takes up just over 5 feet x 2 feet of space on the floor.
The iFit Bluetooth Smart Enabled Console: This is a new feature that was introduced with the 2016 model. If you have an iFit subscription, you can access a workout library that contains unlimited workouts. It also includes exclusive workouts that are created by TV trainers Chris and Heidi Powell. Monthly subscriptions start at $15.00.
Tablet Holder: Like the FreeStep, it does come with a tablet holder for keeping your device in place. This works great for streaming music, accessing social media or to watch fitness apps while you are working out.
Preset Workouts Ready to Go: There are sixteen preset workouts that will help you set goals for that calorie burn.
Data for Workout: It has a battery-powered monitor that provides you with feedback about your time and speed. There is also a watts power meter to help you know your pacing.
Comfortable Seat? This hybrid trainer is said to have a comfortable seat. Personally, I have never spent much time with this machine. I managed to sit down on the seat for a few minutes and was not impressed. Keep in mind, I am very picky when it comes to seats. I know will work or not right away.
This does not mean it will not work for you… The seat is adjustable and comes with a ventilated back for airflow. It includes side handlebars for extra stability, which is a nice feature to have.
Adjustable Pedals: It has adjustable pedals that are well cushioned adding extra comfort.
Audio: The ProForm Hybrid Trainer comes with an iPod-compatible port, along with an Intermix Acoustics 2.0 speaker system.
Bottle Holder: There is a drink holder attached to its elliptical frame for holding a bottle.
Quiet Operation: TheProForm Hybrid Trainer is built with magnetic resistance which makes operating the recumbent bike and elliptical super quiet when they are in action.
Mobile Wheels: This trainer has built-in wheels attached to the frame for easy mobility.
No Electricity Needed: Since the data console is battery powered, there is no need for electricity. No power cables to worry about.
Weight Capacity: This machine can handle up to 350 pounds.
The ProForm Hybrid Trainer is not a high-end machine like the FreeStep. However, some people are very happy with it. Here are some of the potential things you might come up against.
Assembly: If you are not good at assembling things you might want to get some help? Then again, I do not like nor am I good at putting things together like this.
Very Light Flywheel: The ProForm Hybrid Trainer has one of the lightest flywheels for these types of products out on the market. A heavier flywheel will produce smoother motion.
Heart Rate Monitor: This machine has a heart rate monitor built into it. But it is not comparable to the medical-grade pulse monitors you get with higher-end machines.
Defective Units: Since the ProForm Hybrid Trainer is considered a lower end fitness machine. I know some customers have reported that parts were missing and it took a while to get replacement parts.
ProForm Hybrid Trainer Video
If you find the FreeStep and ProForm Hybrid Trainer are not for you? Check out these other Lower Back Pain Relief Products.