How Do I Tone Using a Treadmill?
How to Do Treadmill Routines
Hopping on the treadmill is a convenient way to get a good workout in no matter what the weather is like outside. When deciding how to structure your run, you’ll first want to consider your goals—do you want to increase your endurance, beat a previous best time, or challenge yourself with intense cardiovascular conditioning? Once you have an idea what you want to accomplish, you’ll be able to choose a routine that suits your individual fitness level and maximizes your calorie-burning potential.
Performing Tempo Runs
Set a time or distance goal.Before you step foot on the treadmill, decide what you want to get out of your workout. For instance, your objective may be to jog 3 full miles at a consistent pace, or you might be more interested in alternating between walking and running for 20-30 minutes, if your time is limited. Having a specific plan in mind will help you put together a more focused and time-effective workout.
- If you’re a more experienced runner, you can factor both time and distance into your workout by attempting to complete a predetermined distance within a certain time limit.
- The treadmill’s display screen makes it easy to keep track of how far you’ve gone during your run and how long it’s taken you.
Walk for 3-5 minutes at an easy pace to warm up.Hop on the treadmill and get moving, but don’t go all out just yet. Instead, stick to a slow speed around 2.5-3.5 mph and give yourself time to loosen up. A few minutes of light walking will limber up your muscles, get your blood pumping, and prepare you to turn up the intensity later in your workout.
- A proper warmup is a must when it comes to preventing injury and performing at your best.
Increase your speed gradually until you reach your desired pace.Bump up your speed 1-2 mph at a time to avoid burning yourself out too fast. The idea is to set a pace that’s challenging, but not so difficult that you can’t keep it up for the full duration of your run. No matter what speed you choose, your primary concerns should be proper form and a steady, moderate heart rate.
- You might stop at 4-6 mph to stay at a moderate jog. For a more challenging run, continue upping the pace every few minutes until you’re in the 7-7.5 mph range.
- Building up speed too fast also makes you more likely to get off your rhythm, which could lead to an accident.
Keep your heart rate up throughout your workout.The key to effective cardio training is keeping your heart rate within a certain targeted range. For most people, this range is about 50-75% of their maximum heart rate. You can calculate your ideal range by subtracting your age from 220 to find your maximum heart rate, then aiming for a heart rate that’s 50-75% of that number.
- If you’re 32 years old, for example, your maximum heart rate would be 188 beats per minute, which means a heart rate of 94-141 will keep you in the optimal cardio training zone.
- Exceeding your maximum beats-per-minute could put you in danger of exhaustion.
- Use the treadmill’s built-in heart rate monitor to check your heart rate periodically by gripping the metal handles just under the display screen.
Incorporating Run-Walk Intervals
Warm up with an easy 5-10 minute walk.You’ll be running at close to top speed, so it’s important to make sure your body is able to handle the exertion. If you want, you can jog the last few minutes of your warmup to build up to your first running interval.
- Add 1-2 extra minutes to your warmup if necessary to ensure that you’re ready to go. A warmup that’s too long is better than one that’s too short.
Begin running at a moderate speed for 1 minute.When you’re ready to kick things into high gear, increase your speed so that you're almost sprinting. Try to maintain this pace for a full minute. While you’re running, concentrate on your form and breathing and establishing a comfortable tempo.
- Choose a speed that's fast for you. Everyone is different, and it's okay if what's fast for you is slow for someone else.
- Once you’ve settled into a natural tempo, you should find yourself staying more or less centered on the treadmill.
- Resist the urge to grip the side rails while running. Holding on to another object can interfere with your natural stride, making it more difficult to keep pace.Your arms should move front to back, staying close to your hips.
Slow down and walk for 1-2 minutes.Once a minute has passed, decrease your speed to 3-3.5 mph to return to a brisk walk. This will give your heart and lungs a chance to catch up to the increased demands your body has just placed on them. After 1-2 minutes, you’ll have completed your first full interval, and you can prepare to begin running again.
- During your walking intervals, take deep, controlled breaths to bring your heart rate back down to a normal level.
- Experienced runners may prefer to push themselves by staying in the jogging range (around 4-6 mph average) rather than slowing to a walk.
Repeat your run-walk intervals for up to 30 minutes.Most interval training workouts call for each interval to be completed 5-10 times. You’re free to perform more or fewer, however, to tailor your workout to your own individual fitness level. One of the major advantages of interval training is that you can modify your workouts on the fly to make them easier or harder.
- Adjust the length of your intervals as desired to work within a specific timeframe. Alternating 4 minute walking intervals with 1 minute running intervals a total of 6 times, for instance, will keep your session at an even 30 minutes while lowering the overall difficulty.
- If you want to make things a little tougher, try running for up to 2 minutes before taking 1-2 minutes to recover.
Cool down with a 5-10 minute walk.Following your last running interval, reduce your speed to 2.5-3 mph and end with a slow walk just like you did for your warmup. This will allow you to ease out of your workout rather than cutting it off abruptly, which can come as a shock to the body.
- It’s okay to make your cooldown period longer or shorter, as long as you get your heart rate back under control before you call it quits.
- Do some light stretching after you step off the treadmill to enhance your flexibility while your muscles are still warm.
Getting a More Intense Workout
Step up the treadmill’s incline setting.If running on a flat surface isn’t enough of a challenge, increase the angle of the platform to make it feel more like you’re climbing uphill. The incline settings on most treadmills top out at around 7 degrees, but even a slight rise has the potential to make a monotonous workout more challenging. You can change the treadmill’s incline setting to add difficulty to a standard tempo or interval run without being forced to alter your speed or time.
- For safety’s sake, increase the incline 1 degree at a time, and avoid running at a steep angle (anything higher than about 7 degrees) for more than 5 minutes continuously.
- Most treadmills have controls that allow users to adjust the incline setting at any point during their workouts. Some even come with pre-programmed modes that mix up the speed and incline automatically to simulate running outdoors.
Grab a set of weights.Another way to crank up the intensity and get a full-body workout in the process is by incorporating light upper body exercises into your treadmill workout. Try doing some bicep curls, shoulder presses, or similar movements during your walking intervals.
- Stick to light weights that you can manipulate easily while you’re in motion.
- You could also wear a weighted vest while you walk or run to make your muscles work harder.
- Since swinging weights around may affect your balance or stride, it’s recommended that you save these exercises for the walking intervals of your interval training sessions.
Switch up your routine every 3-4 weeks.After a while, your body will begin to adapt to the type of exercise you perform frequently, and you’ll burn fewer calories as a result. Say no to stagnation by updating to a new workout once a month. Not only does this keep your body guessing, it also gives you a chance to try out different routines and see which ones work best for you.
- Alternating between steady-state and interval-based cardio routines can improve your conditioning and reduce the chance of over-training. Do interval training once or twice a week, and do steady-state cardio for your remaining workouts.
Exercise carefully.On a standard treadmill, you only have a few feet to work with, which makes it a bit more dangerous than running outdoors. Watch your feet while you're getting on the platform, but try not to look down once you get going—doing so could compromise your balance. Loose clothing, untied shoelaces, and misplaced steps can also become tripping hazards, if you're not careful.
- Don't walk sideways or backwards on a treadmill, as this increases your risk of injury. It's easy to get caught in the belt, trip, or lose your footing.
- Only use weights while you're walking on a treadmill, never when you're running.
- Always reduce your speed whenever you start to get tired. Running on a treadmill while fatigued can easily lead to accidents.
- If you're new to treadmill running, it's a good idea to use the safety key. Clip the end of the key to some part of your clothing before you start running. If you come off the platform for any reason, the key will pull out and the machine will quickly come to a halt.
- Before you start using a treadmill, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the buttons and programming on the treadmill. You should know how to turn it on and off, how to adjust the speed and incline, and how to use any pre-programmed features.
- Check to see if the treadmill will track your heart rate and calories burned. You may need to enter your age and weight before you start your workout to get accurate results.
- With the right routine, you can burn unwanted calories, increase your endurance, and keep your heart and lungs healthy in 20 minutes a day or less.
- The same rules apply whether you're running on a treadmill or the road—strap on a comfortable pair of shoes that provide good support, use correct form, and don't forget to drink plenty of water before and after your run.
- Every treadmill is a little different. It may be necessary to modify some settings in order to make them appropriate for your workout.
- Many apartment buildings and condominiums have on-site fitness rooms that make treadmills available to residents.
- When using weights on a treadmill, only use them while walking. Don't use them while running or jogging, as this can result in injury.
- Talk to your doctor before starting a new treadmill routine if you suffer from a chronic health condition or haven't exercised in a long time.
- Don't walk sideways or backwards on a treadmill, as this increases your risk of injury.
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