Treadmills can help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals; but are you getting the best workout from this helpful piece of exercise equipment? Many treadmill runners are unaware of the many features different models offer, as well as several speed and interval tricks. Are you one of the many people who will hop on the treadmill, run at the same speed for 30 minutes, and jump off? Don’t worry, you’re still burning calories, but here are 4 tips to getting a better treadmill workout.
Incline: Believe it or not, running with a 0% grade on the treadmill is the equivalent of running downhill. The reason for this is the treadmill actually does half the run for you. Every time you put a foot down the tread actually extends your leg automatically, the only thing you have to do is flex your hip and put your foot back down. To compensate for this put the treadmill at a 1.5 to 2% grade to match the energy output of running outdoors.
Intervals: Interval training can be done on a treadmill through short high-speed periods, followed by a short rest cycle throughout your workout. This can involve running to walking, running to jogging or even different paces of walking. Try starting with a work/rest ratio of 1 to 2. For example, run hard for a minute and rest for 2. This will make your workout much more efficient.
Speed: Make sure you are challenged. Nothing bothers me more than clients who do not push themselves. If running a 6.5 miles/hour is easy, run faster. If walking at 3mph is easy, walk faster!
Random: I’ve always liked the random workouts on a treadmill. You set the speed where you are comfortable and let the treadmill change the grade randomly. This gets extremely challenging after a few minutes and will count as interval training.
Go get on the treadmill but don’t forget to strength train and stretch, there is more to fitness than cardio!
George Guerin is a personal trainer whose client list includes some of the areas most fit bodies. His website is www.pptswellness.com.