How to Diversify Your Treadmill Workouts

Treadmills remain a widely used piece of equipment both in homes and in commercial gyms, but treadmill workouts are often thought of as monotonous. Why?

We tapped our equipment experts for their opinion, and they resoundingly agreed customers rarely mix up their treadmill routines. It’s mindless to hop on a treadmill and go for a distance run, and while there is of course a time and a place for that, your machine is designed to do so much more. 

From interval training to utilizing weights, walking backwards to integrating inclines our VIP trainers lay out some unique ways for you to amp up your treadmill training.

But, it's important you ensure your mount, stance, and dismount, are safe and maximizing your workout potential. Gym Source VIP Trainer, Petros Arzoumanidis, shares his tips on how to maximize from your treadmill workouts below:

Now, the top tips to diversify your treadmill workouts:

Interval Training

Research shows High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) actually achieves greater results than distance runs of the same duration. HIIT increases maximum oxygen uptake and endurance levels due to bursts of intensity and recovery time growing overall running performance. Plus it incorporates the after burn effect allowing you to burn calories post workout. 

We suggest reaching out to a personal trainer for help creating a personalized HIIT plan. To start it would likely look like a 10 minute warm up at a moderate pace. A trainer would help you determine what speeds worked best for your fitness level. Then, 4 minutes at a fast pace followed by 4 minutes at a slow pace. You’d repeat this 4 times, and then cool down for 10 minutes. 

Add in Some Free Weights

“You don’t have to approach the treadmill empty handed,” explains Petros Arzoumanidis. By simply adding two 5lb dumbbells you can simultaneously workout your upper body. Think simple exercises like bicep curls, lateral arm raises, shoulder presses and tricep extensions. Ensure you are first warmed up before incorporating weights and only do so at a slow-moderate pace that allows for proper balance. Incorporating ankle weights, wrist weights or weight vests are another great way to increase your strength. 

Walk Backwards. 

Petros also suggests that, “walking backwards on a treadmill can workout different muscles and increase your heart rate while bettering your balance.” However, be cautious by starting at a very slow pace and wearing the safety stop cord and slowly increase speed and/or incline. 

Bump Up Your Incline.

Training for an outdoor run? You’ll likely experience some incline and decline explains VIP Trainer Kathy Goetz, “to simulate outdoor running conditions such as wind resistance and uneven terrain while treadmill running, one can add a 1% incline to allow for this discrepancy.  Wind resistance varies with running speed and can increase a runner’s effort by 2-10%. To create an even more challenging workout and to mimic outdoor conditions even further, try running at a steeper incline.”

Personal Trainer Allen Meretsky adds, “the functionality of incline running on a treadmill improves power while keeping your speed consistent.” Even if you’re not training for a race, trainers suggest incorporating incline and decline to challenge yourself."  

Get Low

Don’t have a big fitness space? At a slow speed (1-2mph) on the treadmill you now have endless miles for walking lunges and side shuffles. 

Tap into Technology 

We are constantly on the front of the technological frontier, we promise you, there’s an app for whatever you’re looking for.

- Like the feeling of running outside but weather have you indoors? Download the app BitGym and let virtual reality let you run anywhere in the world at your real time pace.

- Like the feeling of competition at the gym, but your schedule has you running at home? Zwift entertains you while you train by placing your avatar in a virtual world where you can compete with others.

- Need the right beats to stay in stride, but don’t have the time to curate a playlist? Aaptiv creates playlists to accompany you on your run. Checkout our complete list of connected fitness tools here.  

Convinced the treadmill isn’t a dreadmill after all and in the market to add one to your home gym or upgrade your current one?

Equipment expert Jillian Wells would be remiss if she didn’t add, “the worst and most frequent mistake I see people making with treadmill shopping is underestimating the cost of quality construction. Depending on weight, height and stride, a person can generate an amount of physical force 2x-5 times their body weight while running. Think about your ankles, knees, hips and spine: that’s a lot of impact over time! The difference between landing on a steel or aluminum frame built to absorb vibration and shock and one with mainly plastic components is unmistakable and cannot be ignored. If you want less noise, less rattling of your console and greater physical endurance from your body, run on sturdy, stable softer structures. A True Z5.4 with a SoftSelect deck perfectly strikes that balance.”

Ready to visit us in the store to test-drive our vast selection of treadmills? Our equipment experts are standing by!

Before you visit consider the following so our equipment experts can best guide you to the right piece of equipment to meet your goals: 

1. How much room do I have available?
2. Who will be using the treadmill?
3. Do they have any injuries requiring shock absorption?
4. How are you planning to use your treadmill?
5. Will you need/want to incorporate speed and incline? 

For more help finding the best treadmill for your workouts, checkout our complete treadmill buyers guide here: The Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Treadmill.

We look forward to pairing you with the right treadmill so you can begin loving it!

*Please note, workouts suggested on this website are not to be interpreted as treatment plans or substitutes for medical consultation. Before undertaking any exercise program, please consult a physician or healthcare provider for appropriate safety precautions. If at any point during a workout you start to feel dizzy, faint, short of breath, or experience physical discomfort, discontinue your exercise immediately and consult a physician.

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