Treadmill workouts are a great way to get in shape, but they can get old quickly. Constantly moving, but never going anywhere can start to frustrate even the most avid gym goer. For a way to break up the routine, tone the lower body and get a low impact cardio workout, try this treadmill exercise routine.
Before beginning this exercise, it’s important to take a few things into account. This exercise requires the exerciser to increase the treadmill incline to its full height, while lunging, walking sideways and backwards. The exerciser should feel confident that they can maintain their grip on the treadmill handle bar to avoid falls. If the treadmill has a strap which connects to the “Stop” button, used to stop the machine in case of falls, it is highly advised that it is used during this workout.
Be sure to stretch all muscle groups in the lower body before beginning this routine, to help maximize the reach of the legs, and therefore get the best toning possible. Before getting started, set the treadmill incline to full height, and set the treadmill speed to 1.5. After completing this exercise a few times, some users may find they can safely increase the speed, but it is advised to keep the speed low until the coordination of the routines is finalized.
The Treadmill Fitness Workout
After setting the treadmill to full incline and a speed of 1.5, grasp the handle bar of the treadmill tightly in both hands, and move as far back on the belt as safely possible. Begin moving forward by lunging deeply toward the front of the machine with each step.
Lunging while walking on an incline will help to engage all major muscle groups in the lower body, helping to tone them, while the steep incline gives the workout enough of a degree of difficulty to get the user’s heart rate up.
After lunging for five minutes, carefully turn to the left, so that the right hand is still grasping the front bar, while the left hand holds the left hand bar of the treadmill. Continue moving forward by crossing the left leg in front of the right. This will engage the abductors and adductors, while continuing to keep the heart rate high.
After five minutes, carefully switch sides, and cross the right leg in front of the left. Continue on this side for five minutes.
After completing both sides, carefully turn to face the back of the treadmill, with both hands grasping the handlebar firmly behind the back. Walk backwards, up the incline for 10 minutes. This will engage the hip flexors, as well as the quads and calves.
When walking backwards on the treadmill, some people may feel most comfortable holding on to the sides of the treadmill, or behind their backs, at the bar. According to Lorra Garrick, CPT however, most able bodied treadmill users, no matter what their age or size, should be able to walk backward without holding on. Garrick recommends starting slowly, even with the machine going as low as 1mph, and not to exceed a speed of 4mph while moving backwards. Attempting higher speeds while walking backwards without holding on may be unsafe, and holding the sides while walking too quickly will cause the user to bend too far at the waist, slumping over and straining the lower back.
Users getting comfortable with walking backwards on the treadmill can ask a trainer to spot them as they turn around and get comfortable, to ensure they are doing so safely.
Many users may find that they need to take small, quick steps to safely complete this portion of the exercise, which in turn continues to keep the heart rate high.
At this time, when 25 minutes total have elapsed since beginning the workout, carefully turn to face the front of the treadmill, and begin lunging again.
At this point, any user who has increased the treadmill speed, may wish to decrease it again to finish the workout. Lunge for a final five minutes before lowering the treadmill incline, and raising the speed slightly to walk at a moderate pace on a flat surface to cool down.
Exercisers who begin growing bored with their routine, may begin skipping workouts and will therefore stop seeing benefits. This in turn further discourages exercisers from continuing their regular routine. Therefore, changing up the workouts involved on a regular basis, by doing an exercise routine that is challenging to the user, may provide additional interest and motivation.
This treadmill exercise uses the exerciser’s weight, combined with the incline to help tone the lower body. The difficulty of continuously moving forward at such a steep incline, while engaging the muscles will get the user’s heart rate into cardio zones quickly, keeping it there for the duration of the workout.
Because the workout is low impact, yet weight bearing, it can burn a lot of calories, without jarring motion to the joints.
Incorporating low impact, strenuous treadmill workouts into an exercise routine as often as once a week can help a user increase their fitness level, while keeping the experience interesting. Try this fitness workout the next time a treadmill is available, and start a new routine today.