6 Tips for a Better Workout Using a Treadmill

The treadmill isn’t a one-trick pony suitable only for indoor running. Here’s how to use your treadmill for a better workout, as well as make it more enjoyable. You may even favor running on your treadmill instead of being out braving the elements.

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1

Get Proper Form

When you have proper form on the treadmill, you’re doing your body a favor. You have reduced risk for injury and you become more efficient. You’re not wasting your energy but you’re making every step count.

Be sure to assess your form on the treadmill first. If possible, you can look at a full-body mirror while walking or running on it. You must mentally check these aspects of proper form:

  • Keep your eyes on the horizon. Avoid looking down at your feet or at the console.
  • Adopt a neutral neck position. Avoid getting your chin too high or tucking it into your chest.
  • Relax your shoulders. Keep them as supple as possible to prevent knots, spasms, and premature fatigue.
  • Open your chest, so to speak. You will have better control over your breathing. Your diaphragm has plenty of room to contract and expand with an open chest.
  • Stack your shoulders over your hips. You should be slightly pitched forward in a comfortable manner.
Get Proper Form

You may want to check for proper form before turning on the treadmill. You can also choose the easiest setting until you have perfected your form.


Keep in mind, too, that it isn’t just proper form that matters. The proper application of force from your feet to the treadmill’s belt matters, too.

  • Stay light on your feet while making contact with the belt.
  • Push your feet against the belt instead of striking it like a jackhammer.
  • Imagine that your feet are pushing against the belt backwards.

With proper form, you’re making your workout more efficient. Your body can burn more calories in the same time frame.

2

Drive Your Knees up

Once you’re running on the treadmill, you should focus on two aspects of an efficient workout:

  • The turnover, or speed, with which you push against the treadmill’s belt; and
  • The amplitude, or height, of your running stride.
Drive Your Knees up

Let’s focus on the second aspect as it has a significant impact on your efficiency. The higher the height of your stride, the greater the force you must exert to push against the belt. The more work you pour into running at speed, the greater your body’s caloric burn.

The takeaway here is to drive your knees upward toward your body’s midline part. Your feet will push harder at the ground for the forward motion. Your body will work harder and, thus, burn more calories.

3

Pump Your Arms

The arms are important for efficient running form, too. This is because arm movements dictate feet movements. This is also the reason why running coaches instruct their athletes to pump their arms. A few tips before pumping your arms:

  • Relax your shoulders
  • Maintain a 90-degree angle between your bicep and forearm for efficient momentum
Pump Your Arms

eelings of fatigue. As your arms vigorously pump, your legs and feet will follow. You will likely get a renewed sense of enthusiasm, perhaps a second wind.

4

Go on an Anything Goes Workout

Changing the speed, incline and time on a treadmill is easy. The control console is within easy reach. For this reason, you can try this challenging workout:

  • Increase the incline on the first interval
  • Switch to a decline descent to challenge your hamstrings, calves, and quads
  • Change to an incline run for more speed
Go on an Anything Goes Workout

You’re basically mimicking the movements of running on hilly terrain. You’re picking up the calorie-burning rate with inclines and declines.

5

Upgrade Your Warm-up

Warm-up routines are must in a treadmill workout to reduce the risks of injury. Stretching for five minutes and starting at a slow pace are great choices. But for a more efficient use of the treadmill, you must upgrade your warm-up routine. Here’s one example:

  • Start with a slow speed warm-up but walk backwards. This will open up your hips, a great thing after prolonged sitting.
  • Change to a slow side shuffle. Switch to a higher incline – 3% to 5% will do – for more challenge.
Upgrade Your Warm-up

You can also use this warm-up routine:

  • Set the incline at 3%.
  • Begin walking forward for 60 seconds at 1.5 miles per hour.
  • Follow it with 60 seconds of walking backwards at the same speed.
  • Walk in a lateral manner for 45 seconds. Wait until your hips feel fatigued.
  • Switch sides.
  • Repeat the steps 4-5 times more.

You will soon find yourself more primed for greater speed and inclines.

6

Go for High-intensity Interval Training

Making significant changes in the effort needed in exercise prevents body plateau. Your brain and body keeps on guessing so your metabolic rate increases. You will enjoy faster weight loss and better cardio endurance in the process.

The best way to keep your body guessing is through high-intensity interval training. Here’s an example for treadmills:

  • Perform your upgraded workout.
  • Go on 30-60 seconds of medium to high speed running.
  • Follow with an 8% hill grade for 30-60 seconds.
  • Bring down the incline to just 1%. Jog until recovery for 60 seconds.
Go for High-intensity Interval Training

Be sure to keep a 1% to 2% incline when you’re sprinting. You can keep your maximum effort up, too.

Final Words

The treadmill may seem like a boring cardio machine for hardcore fitness enthusiasts. But look beyond brisk walking and running and you will find a great cardio machine! You can reap excellent fitness rewards from its proper use.

Start with the proper form while walking or running on the treadmill. Experiment with your moves while on it, such as slow and fast shuffling, even dancing. Adopt high-intensity interval training in your workout.

In the end, a treadmill is a tool for a fit and healthy body. What you do and don’t do with it will determine its effectiveness and efficiency as a tool.

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