Are Treadmills Good for a Total Body Workout?

Treadmills are known for allowing walkers and runners to complete their favourite exercises indoors. But treadmills are often criticized for focusing solely on a lower body workout. Are treadmills good for a total body workout? Used properly, they can be. You’ll just need to expand on the typical walking or running workout associated with treadmill use. For some ideas on how to include the rest of your body when using a treadmill, we put together this list.

Utilizing the Incline Function

Some people never actually use the incline function on their treadmill. But using it actually brings different muscle groups into play and gets you closer to the desired full body workout. By increasing the incline and the speed of the treadmill you start to facilitate a strength workout rather than the typical endurance workout that treadmills are known for. Your glutes, quads and hamstrings become more involved as the incline is increased.

Adding Body Strength Motions

To get more of your body involved in a treadmill workout you’ll need to include a range of different motions rather than simply walking or running. Movements such as lunges or doing a sideways shuffle will bring different leg muscles into play. You can even get down on the floor and try exercises such as the walking plank. This involves doing a plank with your hands on a slow moving treadmill belt and walking your hands to keep you from being pushed off. By pausing the treadmill and raising the incline you can increase the difficulty of push-ups by doing them with your hands planted on the immobile belt. If they’re strong enough you can also use the treadmill’s handles to hold onto while doing exercises such as dips or inverted rows.

Include the Treadmill in A Larger Exercise Routine

By grouping together, a variety of different exercises including the treadmill, you can incorporate different parts of your body to create an overall full body workout. Use the treadmill for sprinting to get your heart rate up as close to maximum as possible. This will improve your cardio and endurance. Allow your heart rate to come back down as you step off the treadmill and perform strength exercises using weights or your bodyweight for resistance. By combining two lower body exercises(one being on the treadmill) with two upper body exercises and repeating them in a circuit you can work out one part of your body while giving the other a rest. Increasing the speeds of your sets or the actual number of sets themselves allows the workout to keep up as you improve.

Do Upper Body Resistance Training While Walking

To give your upper body more of a challenge, you can do resistance exercises while you’re walking or jogging. If the upper body exercise is on the complicated side, it would probably be best to do it while walking slowly rather than create a dangerous situation while sprinting. Although you could use dumbbells for strength training, resistance bands are probably a lot safer. Simply perform some of your favourite upper body resistance training exercises while continuing to walk at a steady pace.

Heart Rate Based Training

By keeping your heart rate between 60 and 85% of your maximum while using the treadmill, it’s been found that your body will burn more fat. After a warmup on the treadmill, increase the speed to the point where your heart rate reaches 85% of its maximum. Once you reach the desired heart rate, switch to upper body resistance exercises until your heart rate goes back down to 60%. Then get back on the treadmill to raise your heart rate again. To mix things up, you can switch to different strength exercises after each treadmill session.

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