Most people think you just hop on a treadmill and go. You can adjust the intensity of your workout by increasing the speed and that’s just about it. False. It’s not just for cardiovascular workout either.
Varying the settings on your treadmill during your exercise routine can increase the effectiveness of your workout, because you work different muscle groups as your stride changes. This allows tired muscles to rest and other muscles to pick up the slack. More advanced treadmills also have programs to change the settings for you, so you don’t have to remember yourself.
The average treadmill also has an incline feature, and that incline feature can vary your workout greatly. As the incline of your run or walk increases, you use different muscle groups and move from a cardio workout towards a strength training workout.
Getting used to running at even a minor incline can also increase the power of your muscles enough that when you’re running at level, you can squeeze out a couple, or maybe even a few, miles per hour on your job speed. Working those muscles can also increase your jump height and distance too.
When you’re running you can be doing one of four things:
- Walking – this is great for warming up and cooling down. At steep inclines it also promotes muscle growth.
- Jogging – a medium jog is a great way to cool down after an extended run or intense sprint.
- Running – extended running builds cardiovascular strength, which helps your heart keep up with your other muscles while you’re exercising.
- Sprinting – sprinting builds muscle and burns fat. You’ll want to work some intense sprints into each treadmill workout to round things out. The best way to do it is in intervals that feel comfortable – like 30 to 60 seconds.
Rounding it Out
Try playing with different settings while you exercise on the treadmill. Unless you’re doing an extended run to promote cardio, try not to stay on the same setting for more than 30 to 60 seconds. Once again, some of the more advanced treadmills have preset programs that will change these settings automatically for you. They’ll usually have descriptions of the programs and how each effects you in the manual.
Remember that you don’t have to do all of your walking/jogging/running/sprinting on a treadmill too. When it’s nice out, try going for a run outdoors. If you’re looking for cardio, pick a nice flat piece of terrain. If you want to build muscle, throw in some sprints. Hiking is also a completely different experience and can build some great muscle too. Oh, and it can be fun too!
When I’m hitting up the gym, I usually start out my routine with 10-15 minutes on the treadmill to get warmed up. About a third of the time I’ll kick it up and run a 5k (3.1 miles). There’s nothing more exhilarating than finishing a 5k – except maybe going farther.
Do you have any additional exercised you do on your treadmill? Have questions about anything I said? Just contact me shooting me an email or leave a comment below.