Treadmill workout’ need not be synonymous with ‘boring workout’. At least not with these tips from writer and fitness enthusiast Tehrene Firman.
The treadmills at your gym are always taken, and for good reason: They’re easy to use, provide you with as much customization as you want, and they get the job done fuss-free. But what happens when your workouts get a little boring? Before you start to despise stationary runs, try upping your treadmill workout game.
First thing’s first: You could just switch things up and take your run into The Great Outdoors, but there are some perks to sticking to the machine.
“Treadmill running is definitely a different animal from running outdoors. Although the concept is the same, you’re not dealing with the constantly changing elevation, bumps in the sidewalks, or weather when you’re on a treadmill,” says Kelsey Quinn, MS in kinesiology, head track and field/cross country coach at Warner Pacific College in Portland, OR.
No matter what you decide the best route is for you, just remember: You have to like what you’re doing, otherwise it’s going to feel like work. And no one wants that.
“If you’re sick and tired of doing the same thing, you’re less likely to head to the gym with a good attitude,” Quinn says. “Find effective workouts that you enjoy, and never slow down in the pursuit of improving your fitness.”
Grab your running shoes, hop on the treadmill, and get ready to fall in love with running all over again thanks to these workout boosters.
Running indoors doesn’t mean you can’t get the effect of running outside — thanks to the automatic settings most treadmills have. Whether you choose a preset workout, like hills or even trail running, or manually enter your own, Quinn says having the freedom to pick an exciting new route will keep you running strong.
If you’re a fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT)-style workouts, you’ll especially love applying the highly effective concept to running.
“For those training for a race with a distance of 5k or longer, some easy, longer duration runs will be necessary. But for people wanting to stay in shape or get in shape with no race on the horizon, HIIT is a great option for the treadmill,” Quinn says.
If most of your treadmill workouts are spent looking at how much time you have left, you’re not alone. But switching your focus to a certain distance rather than how long you’re running for can really improve your running and help you run faster, all while helping the seconds fly by.
“The more consistently you run at a pace, the more your body adapts to that pace and allows you to continue running at faster speeds,” Quinn says.
Running on an incline on the treadmill is similar to running hills, and you guessed it — both have some great body-boosting benefits.
“Inclines activate your glute and hamstring muscles more than running on a flat surface. The higher you set the incline, the more your hip flexes and extends, requiring your glutes to power you up the incline,” Quinn says.
You’ve probably seen people doing side gallops on the treadmill at the gym, but Quinn says those are safest to perform on the ground. Instead, get some lateral movement with monster walks.
“Monster walks are a great exercise for your gluteus medius muscles, which keep your knees from falling in toward each other during running, squats, walking, and lunges,” Quinn says.
Lunges are always a perfect way to boost your workout, so why not hit two birds with one stone and incorporate them right into your treadmill routine?
“Lunges are a great lower body exercise, as they activate all major leg muscles. But unfortunately, anyone with long legs or who’s tall might have to stick to lunges off the treadmill due to the length of the machine,” Quinn says.
“If you decide to try out treadmill lunges, just remember it’s important to maintain a rhythm and not suddenly slow down, as you could slip off the back of the treadmill,” Quinn says. “Just to be safe, always have the safety clip on while you’re doing these exercises.”
Everyone’s favorite way to run in grade school gym class just got a lot more exciting, especially if you have tight quads. Make your workout more fun and get some much-needed muscle release by incorporating some butt kicks into your routine.
“Just don’t kick back with your foot like you’re trying to reach behind you,” Quinn says. “Kick straight up toward the area right under your butt cheek.”
If butt kicks are grade school, skipping is definitely middle school. Except this time you’re not chasing kids you had crushes on. It might feel funny, but adding a little light skipping into your treadmill workout is a great way to boost your heart rate without it feeling like you’re working any harder. In fact, you might actually have fun.
If you really want to switch things up, try a ladder workout. Not sure what that is? Basically it’s a type of interval workout where you go “up” the ladder then back “down.” With so much going on mentally, the time will fly by.
Do the following sprints with a 1-minute jog or walk between each:
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