You may think there are only a few basic exercise variations you can perform on a treadmill, for example: walking, jogging, and running. However, it is no secret that exercising on a treadmill is an effective piece of equipment that can target and develop various muscle groups in your body. And, by tweaking minor aspects of your workouts, you can make the most out of your treadmill sessions.
Outlined below are some ways you can maximise the benefits of using a treadmill.
Start With A Warm-Up
One pre-workout ritual you should not skip is the warm-up. If you go straight to your main exercises without preparing your body, you increase the risk of injury – for example you may ‘strain’ a muscle. If this occurs, you may struggle to perform your exercise routine or have to stop completely while you recover (which could be several weeks!). Thus, you must dedicate a portion of your workout session to a warm-up routine.
If you plan to use the treadmill, you can either perform your warm-up on or off the machine. You can walk at a comfortable pace for a few minutes before you start to increase your speed or, alternatively, you can perform a few leg mobilisation exercises on a mat, for example, if you do not want to use the treadmill within your warm-up routine.
Use The Appropriate Treadmill
If you are new to treadmill exercises, you may think that your new ‘cardiovascular machine’ only has one design. Yet there are various models and features you can choose from. Hence, if you wish to make the most out of your workout sessions, it is important to find the right treadmill for your needs.
For instance, if you are worried the machine will not support your weight, you can opt for treadmills with a 350lb weight limit. You can use these for your cardio sessions whether you opt for a short walk at a slow pace or run for longer periods at a steady pace.
One advantage of a treadmill with a higher weight limit is that you can also use wearable weights to increase your workout’s intensity. Combining cardio with weights will help strengthen your muscles and improve your cardiovascular endurance at the same time, for example. If you wish to focus on leg strength, on the other hand, you can use a treadmill with an incline feature. Walking or running on an incline will simulate exercising uphill, with steeper inclines providing more of a challenge for both your cardio and legs.
Create Exercise Variations
You can tweak small details of your treadmill exercises to make the most out of them. One aspect you could modify is your running and resting time.
For instance, you can perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT) while on a treadmill. This more difficult workout modification may help improve your cardiovascular health and enable your body to burn more fat. Simply put, this variation involves alternating between slow and fast paces (rest and work intervals respectively). For example, you may run fast for 10 seconds and then run slow/walk for 20 seconds – repeating this several times.
Other variations include:
- Walking (slow or fast).
- Jogging and running (slow, medium, and fast paces).
- HIIT training.
- Incline running.
- Continuous running (aka long steady distance).
- Fartlek running.
- Resistance running.
Changing your treadmill routine on a regular basis can help to ensure that your workout does not become monotonous, for both your body and mind. If your activities start to feel too easy, your muscles may no longer improve and gain strength and flexibility (from a bodily perspective) and your motivation may wane (from a mental perspective). Therefore, it is helpful to, occasionally, switch things up to keep pushing your body and mind.
Run with Correct Form and Technique
If you want to maximise your treadmill workouts, it is recommended that you learn and practice the appropriate form when walking or running – this will help you you target the right muscles and reduce the risk of injuries. For example, you should look straight ahead when you start your exercise (avoid looking at your feet) and refrain from bending/arching your back. Additionally, you should keep your arms by your side and swing them with control when increasing your running intensity.
Cool Down After Every Treadmill Workout
Before you step away from your treadmill, it is important perform a warm-down at the end of your exercise routine (e.g. lower your heart rate slowly instead of abruptly stepping off the equipment). In some cases, you may feel dizzy due to the sudden change in movement if you stop without cooling down.
Thus, it may be better to finish your treadmill session by slowly decreasing the speed. For example, once you have reached your goal, you can lower the intensity every few minutes until the treadmill completely stops – Instead of switching it off immediately upon achieving your workout goal. Doing this will help relax your muscles (among other things) and give you time to recover your normal breathing before proceeding with other exercises.
Treadmill exercises are an effective way to improve your overall health. They are great workout routines to build your cardiovascular endurance, leg strength, and burn calories.
If you want to maximise your treadmill sessions all the while having fun, you can follow the tips featured above.