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How to Move a Treadmill, Elliptical Trainer, & Heavy Fitness Equipment Without Straining Your Muscles

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If you’ve recently decided you’d like to be more physically fit, chances are your internet search history is a tour of your local gyms, fitness centers, and specialty classes. While joining a gym or enrolling in a fitness class may seem like an easy way to get in shape, doing so can be overwhelming. Gyms and fitness classes can be crowded, expensive, and if you have a busy schedule, downright inconvenient (who wants to get up at five in the morning to run on the treadmill before your kids get up? Probably not you).

But setting up a gym at home is easy (and much more affordable) than you’d think. By scouring Craigslist and OfferUp, you can find sets of weights, ellipticals, and treadmills for  sale at a steep discount, often barely used. And once you’ve found the perfect piece, it’s time to bring it home. Here’s how to do just that (without pulling a muscle):

How to Move a Treadmill

Step 1: Prep & Check the Treadmill

First things first: get to know your treadmill. How heavy is it? Do you still have the manual (if not, can you find it online)? Is there a visible lock/unlock mechanism? If your treadmill is more than 50 pounds, you’ll need someone to help you lift (like a Dolly Helper), and if it’s over 100, a furniture dolly is pretty much a necessity. If there’s no visible locking mechanism, double-check that manual to see if there’s a hidden one, and if there’s not, get ahold of some moving blankets.

Step 2: Disassemble Your Treadmill for Moving

Power down and unplug your treadmill. Search your owner’s manual for instructions on how to fold down the standing section of the treadmill. (Depending on your model, the belt section of the treadmill may fold up instead. If this is the case, you’ll fold the larger section up, and you’ll need to take extra care when transporting it to avoid damages.) Follow the directions, and be sure to lock it down so it doesn’t move during transit.

Step 3: Move the Treadmill With a Furniture Dolly

Set the furniture dolly beside the treadmill. Stand on one side of the treadmill and have your moving assistant stand on the opposite side. Carefully, and being sure to lift with your legs, lift the treadmill simultaneously with your assistant, and slowly move it to place it on the furniture dolly.

If you’re bravely moving your treadmill without a furniture dolly, carefully carry the treadmill to its desired area.

Step 4: Transport the Treadmill

Once it’s securely on the dolly (make sure it’s centered and in a position to fit through doorways), roll it to its destination, whether that be the next room or into a truckbed.

Drive the treadmill to where it’s going (or roll it into the next room), then place it back on the furniture dolly. Roll it to its new home, remove it from the dolly, and using the same procedure as earlier, unlock it and pull the standing section back up, being sure to lock it into place.

Step 5: Safety Check

Take a final minute to double-check your operating manual. Make sure everything looks correct, then plug it in, put it on a very low setting (one mile per hour works) and test it.

Once you’re sure it’s working properly, slip on your running shoes and start your workout!

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How to Move an Elliptical Trainer

Step 1: Size Up Your Move

Figure out what kind of move you’ll be doing. If you’re going across the room or staying on one floor, you’ll only need to use the cross trainer’s wheels to move it across the floor (but if you’re rolling across hardwood, make sure you’re prepared for potential floor damage). If you’re doing a cross-town move, read on.

Step 2: Get Your Moving Supplies

Gather your supplies: a furniture dolly (you’ll need it regardless of weight because of their bulky shape), a tie-down strap with a ratchet tie (find one at a local hardware store or auto parts shop), some furniture blankets if you plan on going around any sharp corners or tight turns, and a Dolly Helper to assist you.

Step 3: Tie Down Your Elliptical for a Safe Move

Unplug your machine and get started. Lift up the base of the elliptical on one side to slip the tie down strap underneath, then close it over the legs of the machine (just above the footholds). Use the ratchet tie to tighten it until the legs are secure (neither the legs or arms should move if this is done properly, but be careful not to put too much pressure on the arms to avoid damage).

Step 4: Load Up & Prep

Set the furniture dolly beside the elliptical. Stand on one side of the elliptical and have your moving assistant stand on the opposite side. Carefully, and being sure to lift with your legs, lift the elliptical simultaneously with your assistant, and slowly move it to place it on the furniture dolly.

If you’re going to be going around any sharp turns or are worried about a tight fit through a door, wrap the elliptical in moving blankets to protect it (and your walls). It’s also a good idea to wrap it if you’ll be putting it into a large truck.

Need to take it up or down a flight of stairs? Make sure you have at least three people – two to lift and one to spot – and lift with extreme caution:

Step 5: Move Your Elliptical Trainer

Carefully move your elliptical to its destination. Make sure to tie down the elliptical if it’s going to be transported in an open truck.

Step 6: Get Your Sweat On

Once you’ve reached your destination, carefully lift the elliptical off the furniture dolly and set it in place. Remove the furniture blankets and the ratchet tie, then check to make sure the legs are back to functioning normally. Plug it in and test it on a very low setting to be sure it’s working. Grab your water bottle and enjoy your new home gym!

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Tips for Moving Weights & Other Gym Equipment

Balance the Weight

Spread them out among multiple boxes. Because these items are so heavy, they’re great to line the bottom of a box that’s otherwise filled with light blankets, pillows, and comforters. Don’t pack too many into one box, as it will be too heavy to safely lift.

If your weights are still too heavy, try moving them one at a time. If you’re doing a short distance move, consider buying a sturdy bin or trunk and simply putting each weight in one at a time. But be sure the box is securely put in between other boxes that won’t move, and well-covered with a secure lid – the last thing you want is weights breaking up your truck.

Protect Your Weights (And Yourself)

Wrap your weights in bubble wrap. This will keep the weights from banging against each other and possibly damaging them. Don’t forget to double- or triple-tape boxes with weights in them. Write “HEAVY” clearly on boxes so no accidentally thinks they’ve lost all strength.

Don’t Forget to Factor In the Weight (Literally)

If you’re moving long-distance, consider selling your weights and buying new ones at your destination. Most long-distance moving companies charge by the weight of all your items, so you’ll literally be paying for every ounce. If you have a few dumbbells, that won’t be a problem, but if you’ve got eight sets that you don’t use regularly, it may be time for a refresh. You can always try to find a lightly used set on a local resale site in your new neighborhood.

Move Big Gym Equipment in Pieces

If you’re moving a weight bench, consider moving it in pieces. If it’s purely just a bench that you sit on, it can easily be broken down into 2 or 3 pieces. If it’s a more complicated piece of equipment with multiple bars, break it down as much as you can, and put all the screws in a labeled ziplock bag.

Clean Your Gym Mats, Foam Rollers, and Pretty Much Everything Else

Clean your gym accessories before you move them. You may think that the germs on your foam roller won’t somehow get to your sheets, but once it’s all in a pickup truck together, things might get messy. Packing clean items will save the boxes for later use and save your sheets from another unnecessary wash.

No matter what kind of gym equipment you’re moving, you can count on Dolly to help. Our Helpers can rearrange your home gym, help you snag that treadmill off Craigslist, or help bring your new elliptical home. Just book a Dolly and we’ll take care of the heavy lifting – that way, you can save your muscles for your home gym.

Happy lifting!

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Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.

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