I used to think that a treadmill was just a treadmill. You may be laughing, but it’s true! I’d get bored on a treadmill. It felt repetitive, monotonous, and completely uninteresting. Despite having the ability to push myself much harder on a treadmill, my distance and endurance has always been better while running outside.
But I’ve recently discovered that a treadmill is so much more than a machine to run on endlessly while gazing desperately into a television looking for some sign that it will be over soon (major kudos to those who have overcome this sentiment). We actually have the ability to do some pretty cool (and somewhat scary!) exercises on the treadmill. There are ways to “switch it up” and work different muscles of the body- even arms!
***One important thing that I’ll mention is that these exercises can be very disorienting. Please try these with caution! Start with the treadmill on a very low speed and slowly work your way up to a pace that feels challenging but NOT one that will cause you to fall off the machine.***
So put on your game face and try some of these moves next time you’re on the treadmill! You won’t be disappointed.
1) Forward Plank Walks
Start with the treadmill on a very low speed. Your feet do not need to be elevated like this picture. In a plank position slowly start walking your hands on the treadmill. Try to minimize the swaying of your hips and keep your core tight. If you need to modify these you can come down to your knees and/or slow down the speed of the machine.
2) Backward Plank Walks
Almost the same as forward plank walks, except in this case your feet are doing the moving. These are more challenging because your legs are elevated relative to your hands. Again, start slow with these and see how you can work your way up to a higher speed.
3) Full Incline Backwards Walk
This one is pretty self explanatory. It’s still important to start at a very slow walking speed because it takes some adjusting to walking backwards at a very steep incline. The treadmill I used went up to 15.0 incline, so push yourselves! The only thing I dislike about this picture is that he is grabbing on to the sidebars- don’t do that! Use your feet only. Once you get a feel for walking backwards, up your speed.
4) Sideways Shuffle
Here, you’re shuffling your feet facing sideways on the treadmill. The left foot bumps the right and the right foot steps out while the treadmill moves. Make sure you repeat this facing the other side for the same amount of time. Once you’re oriented to the sideways movement you should be able to push your speed up above 3.0. In this picture, the woman has a resistance band around her ankles; I haven’t tried this yet and I’d be more concerned about safety so if you go this route definitely be careful! You can also play with the incline a bit to up the challenge.
5) Triceps Walks
In tabletop position with fingertips facing forward, slowly walk your hands as the treadmill moves. Keep your core tucked in and squeeze your glutes. Keep a fists distance between your chin and chest in order to reduce strain on your neck.
And there you have it! Five creative ways to use a treadmill AND you end up with a full body workout! Pretty genius if you ask me :) For a great workout, combine these exercises with a very fast regular sprint (8.0 speed) at 2 minute intervals for as many rounds as you have time and energy for.