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Treadmill Trauma

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Treadmills are usually a great way to exercise and perfect for those who dislike going outside to run due to extreme temperatures or too many bugs or other hazards. Except of course when they wind up hurting you instead through your own reckless actions.

These types of injuries usually occur when the user decides to turn the speed up to insane levels that they wind up being shot off towards the wall behind them, having objects placed in their path to trip them up and fall forwards acting like a slinky, or they simply just do not watch what they are doing. Either way, expect the end result to be painful. Truth in Television on occasion, which is why most commercial versions you see in gyms have an emergency stop button or a device that clips to the user with a breakaway clip. If the clip comes apart, the machine shuts down.

Usually Played for Laughs as Amusing Injuries. May occasionally be a part of a Training Montage and/or Failure Montage.


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  • An advert for Duracell batteries has several pink bunnies exercising at a gym. At the beginning, two are running on treadmills. One bunny is powered by Duracell, and the other by a lesser battery. As the Duracell bunny keeps running on his treadmill, the lesser bunny runs out of power and falls off his treadmill.

  • In the Lamput episode "Gym", Lamput is grabbed by Fat Doc and Slim Doc, who are both standing on treadmills. Lamput then gets the idea to turn the treadmills on and then increase their speed, leading to the docs being unable to keep up and being flung to the other side of the gym. Cue the docs being brought back into the gym in wheelchairs — and with an impressive display of muscles from all that running — by medics from an ambulance.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: In one episode of the Sword Beasts arc, Zabimaru and Senbonzakura head to the Department of Research and Development to drop off a defeated Sword Beast, only for wacky hijinks to occur, one of which involves Senbonzakura messing with the Soul Society's power grid controls and causing several machines to go haywire, including a pair of treadmills Matsumoto and Haineko are running on, which starts moving backward and causes both of them to fall flat on their backs simultaneously.
  • Pokémon: The Original Series: In "The School of Hard Knocks", Pikachu accidentally starts up a treadmill, but manages to keep pace. Unfortunately, Brock leans against it and messes with the speed settings by accident, causing Pikachu to eventually stumble.
  • Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan: This is combined with an Absurdly High-Stakes Game in the story "The Run" when Rohan taunts Yoma Hashimoto, who turns out to be an exercise-obsessed psycho. The two wind up racing on treadmills with their speeds cranked up and after the windows behind them are shattered, Rohan is forced to literally run for his life or risk being thrown out of a high rise by the treadmill he's on. In the end, Yoma winds up being thrown out, after Rohan resorts to trickery to survive.

    Comic Books 
  • Gaston Lagaffe: Goaded by Lebrac into doing some fitness training, Gaston gives a try to the treadmill at a gym. He unwisely speeds it up above beginner level, and predictably trips on his own shoelaces, sending him flying into a wall full of dumbbells.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Bad Guys: This happens to a gymgoer who trips and is violently treadmilled away when he's startled by Ms. Tarantula doing cardio on the treadmill beside his.
  • Monsters University: When Mike gets on a treadmill next to Sully, he decides to turn up the speed high enough that he gets shot right off it.
  • Space Chimps: When Ham, Luna, and Titan are running on treadmills, Ham throws a banana peel on Titan's treadmill which causes him to slip and keep tumbling continuously.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Asterix at the Olympic Games, the Roman champion Cornedurus is seen running on a (completely anachronistic) man-powered treadmill in Greece, when he sees the Gauls arriving. Knowing they are completely invincible thanks to the Magic Potion, he gets distracted and falls backward.
  • Kimmy vs. The Reverend: If you choose for Kimmy to take Jacqueline instead of Titus with her to Indiana, she has Buckley fly them to Indiana. Buckley doesn't know how to fly, so the plane crashes and they all die. Meanwhile, Titus goes to the gym to work out and has a fatal accident on the treadmill.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 1000 Ways to Die: One story features a perverted treadmill runner who spies on his neighbour while running. He winds up getting too distracted by the fanservice that he trips and gets himself hanged by his tracksuit's lace which gets caught in the machine.
  • A staple of America's Funniest Home Videos as well. Generally due to people just plain not using treadmills right.
  • Bones: Played for Laughs in "The Body in the Bag". When Sweets pisses off Booth by suggesting he still has feelings for Brennan, Booth turns up the speed of the treadmill Sweets is on and somehow locks Sweets' ability to slow it down before walking away, leaving a panicked Sweets stuck there running as the scene cuts off.
  • In Dexter, Dexter's young son Harrison is left alone with his father's treadmill, turns it on, and is sent flying and injured. Played for Drama.
  • In the Family Matters episode "Boom", Carl is ordered to lose weight and his police captain allows him to use his personal treadmill in the exercise room. When he goes to use it, a recorded message reveals that a criminal that had a beef with the captain rigged the treadmill with a bomb that'll explode if the runner (in this case, Carl) jumped off. The captain eventually comes (read: is forced) to help him out. At one point the two have to switch places and back again while trying to disarm the bomb and nearly getting thrown off it at points, not helped that the treadmill picks up speed over time. Carl hits his limit just after the bomb is deactivated and allows himself to be flung off when it comes to a stop, mostly in a feeble attempt to take cover fearing it will go off.
  • In one episode of Las Vegas, the band "OK Go" guest-starred in a cameo and two of the main characters tried to re-enact the choreography of their video "Here It Comes Again" (which has the band doing synchronized hopping from one treadmill to another) with their help, leading to plenty of pratfalls.
  • Helena on The L Word falls off a treadmill when she gets a text from Alice that Shane and Jenny are dating.
  • MythBusters: During a series of tests of sober-up-quick methods, Adam was picked for the "exercise" test, which was running on a treadmill. While legally drunk. He managed to fall off the treadmill twice, and one of those times the treadmill tossed him into the backdrop.
  • The School Nurse Files: Hoop Squid does this to Ji-hyung, speeding up the treadmill and putting a plastic bag on Ji-hyung's head.
  • In the Two of a Kind episode "Split Decision", Carrie goes on a date with Kevin's doctor, but she breaks off afterwards without letting the doctor know why. When Kevin goes to said doctor for a health examination, the doctor, who's very determined to find out the reason Carrie hasn't contacted him after one date and suspects Kevin is keeping secrets from him, deliberately cranks up the speed while Kevin is on the treadmill to get more information out of Kevin.
  • In the pilot episode of The West Wing, C.J. first appears on a treadmill while trying to chat up the guy next to her, until he points out her beeper is going off. As she tries to check the beeper, she falls off the treadmill.
  • In an episode of Wings, Joe and Brian both show up at the local gym to try to flirt with new arrival Alex. While Joe tries to show off on the treadmill, Brian keeps pressing the “Speed Up” button until Joe has to step to the edge of the treadmill because he can’t run that fast. A few seconds later, he steps back into the treadmill belt…forgetting that it’s still running. Fortunately for Joe, there was a pad on the wall behind it. You can see their shenanigans here, including Joe’s payback.
  • In The Wire, Detective Ray Cole died off-screen after suddenly collapsing and suffering a fatal heart attack while working out on a Stairmaster. (Basically a treadmill but made to work like one is climbing stairs instead of walking or running on it.) This was done because the actor who played Cole, (and was also an executive producer for the show) had died between seasons of the show due to complications following heart surgery.
  • Featured in a few clips on World's Dumbest..., including one where a guy's dance moves fell apart the moment he set foot on a moving treadmill.

    Music Videos 
  • In P!nk's video for "Stupid Girls", there is a segment where Pink is too preoccupied with comparing herself to the buxom girl using the treadmill next to hers (she strips to her sports bra to show off her midriff) that she stops paying attention to what she's doing. Her treadmill ends up snagging her pants off, leaving her in underpants that say "SAY NO TO FOOD" and the object of mockery of Buxom girl and Cute Guy.
  • The music video for "Gentleman" shows Psy speeding up the treadmill used by a woman until she falls backward.

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: If you're on a treadmill and let the power bar go to zero (very likely to happen at higher speeds if your Stamina stat is low), CJ will be ejected out of the treadmill. Fortunately this doesn't deal damage, and he can hop right back on it after he gets up.
  • In Persona 5, Joker will get shot right off the treadmill if he fails at it. The fall is nasty enough that Morgana has to ask if he's still alive. An optional scene in Royal allows Joker to invite Caroline and Justine to the gym, in which case they'll inflict this on him when he demonstrates the threadmill to them.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: The Cardio Zombie's death animation has him slip on his treadmill times before the treadmill sends him flying off the right of the screen.
  • The Sims: Happens to Sims with low Athletic skill when they are on a treadmill.


    Web Videos 
  • "If Halloween Characters Used the Threadmill": Among other horror movies icons, Ghostface from Scream (or more likely, from Scary Movie) tries to do a slash with his knife on the treadmill, only to flip and fall.
  • In Ten Little Roosters, Miles has their hands glued to a treadmill and eventually becomes so exhausted that they die.
  • One Vine involves two guys trying to recreate a "walking across treadmills" scene from a music video and getting flung into the next row of treadmills behind them.
  • A lot of "Workout Fails" or "Gym Fails" videos on YouTube deal with accidents regarding treadmills, although many of them are caused by people doing stupid things while on it.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Beavis and Butt-Head has the two visit a gym. At one point, they try the turning it up to its maximum setting before jumping onto it. Beavis goes first and gets thrown right into the wall, taking off some of the paint. Cut to later and the wall now has several patches of paint missing from where the two apparently impacted it.
  • Being Ian: In one episode, Tyrone and Sandi both use treadmills after engaging in a prank war to prepare themselves for a fitness test. In an attempt to one-up each other, both turn their speeds up high enough to give them Wheel o' Feet until they shoot right off the machines.
  • Darkwing Duck: Major villain Megavolt received his powers by performing a science experiment where he ran on a carpeted treadmill in an attempt to accumulate large amounts of static electricity... and the school bully tied him to it and turned up the speed, trapping him there for hours.
  • Duck Dodgers: In "The Six Wazillion Dollar Duck", Dodgers' first test of his new cybernetic legs is to run at Super-Speed over a treadmill while eating a banana... and he lets the peel slip under his feet, naturally causing a crash.
  • The end title sequence of The Jetsons shows George walking Astro in a treadmill when Astro sees a cat and goes after it, leaving poor George caught in the conveyor belt, going round and round screaming "Jane, stop this crazy thing!"
    • An episode of Family Guy shows what supposedly happened next: a badly hurt George angrily confronts his wife about why she didn't stop that crazy thing after hollering for her for several hours.
    • An episode of Clarence also parodies this scene, with future Clarence in place of George.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In "The Stud, the Nerd, the Average Joe, and the Saint", Bugs gets so tired of Yosemite Sam trying to save his life to repay a life debt that he phones Porky, who is running on a treadmill to train for a marathon, to ask him to hit him with his car. Porky goes flying off in shock when he hears Bugs' request.
  • Rugrats: In "The Big Flush", the parents take the babies to the community pool, which the babies think is a giant toilet. They go in search of the flusher because they think it would be fun to flush a giant toilet. When they sneak into the gym in search of the flusher, Lil pulls the lever on a treadmill, setting it from SLOW to FAST, and causing the man running on the treadmill to fall off it.
  • Parodied on The Simpsons during a show of internet fail videos. One shows Hans Moleman running on a treadmill at the gym when he gets run over by a truck that smashes through the wall.
  • This happens four times on SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Oral Report," SpongeBob prepares for his speech and Patrick makes him run on a treadmill. He is distracted and gets shredded by it.
    • While training to pass his exam in "The Check-Up," Mr. Krabs runs on a treadmill. SpongeBob sets it to "stupid fast," and Mr. Krabs gets shredded except for his eyes.
    • At the beginning of "Stormy Weather," SpongeBob watches a weather report while on a treadmill. He gets excited by the report and gets stuck in the treadmill, then launched into the wall. He's still happy about the weather, though.
    • When Mr. Krabs leaves Larry in charge of the Krusty Krab in "Larry the Floor Manager", Larry tries to turn the Krusty Krab into a gym called the Healthy Krab. At one point, Fred tries to place an order when Larry puts him on a treadmill. Unable to run on the treadmill and place his order at the same time, Fred falls off the treadmill and shouts "My leg!"


Video Example(s):


Stewie gets a treadmill

Stewie tries a treadmill and instantaneously gets launched through the wall into a Bizarro world.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / TreadmillTrauma

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