Treadmill Muscle Exercises (Easy Steps)

Treadmill Muscle Exercises

There’s a lot more you can do on a treadmill than you might think. Though typically used for cardio workouts, a treadmill can also help you build muscle mass in your upper body, lower body and core. Treadmill workouts that incorporate strength training boost your metabolism for hours after you work out, allowing you to burn more calories. Building muscle also boosts your metabolism, helping you lose more weight in the long term than you would from a typical treadmill run.

Sprinting, unlike jogging and running, builds your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and abs. According to Shape magazine, running at steady pace can lead to muscle loss, whereas doing sprint intervals builds muscle and burns more fat. For a great sprinting workout on the treadmill, do high-intensity interval training. That means running at a steady pace for a few minutes, then sprinting at full intensity for a minute. Repeat the cycle for 20 to 40 minutes to complete a workout.

Hill Running
It’s easy to run hills on a treadmill, since you can elevate the grade. The higher the incline, the more you work the quads and calves. According to a 1997 study at the University of Georgia, running uphill activates 9 percent more muscle with each stride than running on flat land. Do fast hill runs or hill sprints as part of a high-intensity interval training workout, or run uphill at a steady pace. You’ll build muscle either way, but intensity intervals work your muscles harder and build muscle faster.

Body-Weight Exercises
You can also use the treadmill to do body-weight exercises that would otherwise require lots of floor space. To do the walking treadmill plank, place your hands on the end of the treadmill belt and step your feet up on a plyo box a few feet behind the foot of the treadmill. Hold the plank position, with your spine straight and parallel with the floor. Set the treadmill speed to 1 mph and walk with your hands on the treadmill belt, squeezing your abs. The crab crawl exercise builds your abs, butt, shoulders and triceps. Place your feet flat on the floor at the foot of the treadmill, your toes pointing away from the treadmill. Straddle the treadmill with your hands, and lift your butt so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Walk your hands backward at 1 mph. Stand on the treadmill and do walking lunges for your thighs and butt. Do each body-weight exercise for a minute.

Tips and Safety Considerations
Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes at the beginning of each workout with a light jog on the treadmill. If you're doing sprint intervals, include butt kicks, leg swings and skipping with high knees in your warm-up to prepare your legs. Avoid running or sprinting flat on a treadmill if you have any joint injuries or weak joints in your legs. If it feels comfortable, you can still do hill running, which is easier on your joints. Cool down and stretch at the end of each workout.