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The treadmill is one of the most popular pieces of cardiovascular equipment. Rows of treadmills line the cardio rooms of gyms, and many people even purchase their own machines. Newer treadmills have built-in workouts, but even with these programs, the majority of users don't maximize their time on the equipment. All treadmill workouts are not created equally. Some routines are far more effective tools for training and fat-burning than others.
The Benefits of Treadmills
Treadmills provide a great indoor alternative when running or walking outside isn't practical due to weather, darkness or other safety concerns. They also give users helpful training feedback on speed, incline, power output and average pace. Treadmills are a great way for runners to learn to pace themselves and can be helpful when practicing different foot strike patterns. Remember to always consult with your physician before beginning a new exercise regimen and ask a fitness professional if you have any questions related to your program.
Most people tend to use treadmills for low-intensity, steady-state walking or jogging. However, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a powerful alternative that will increase calorie burn and squash boredom. To perform a simple HIIT routine, start with a five-minute warmup by walking at a moderate pace. Once warm, begin 20 minutes of intervals. Each interval should start with 60 seconds of high-intensity work at maximal effort, whether sprinting on a flat level or jogging up a steep incline. Follow with a 60-second recovery by walking at an easy pace. Perform 10 sets of these intervals and finish with a five-minute cool-down.
Hill workouts are a great way to target the calves and glutes. To do a rolling hills workout, maintain a steady speed while alternating the incline setting between 5, 10 and 15. Start by walking for 30 seconds with no incline, then increase the incline to 5 and walk for 30 additional seconds. Next, increase the incline to 10 for 30 more seconds, then up to 15 for 30 seconds, back down to 10 for 30 seconds, and so on. The duration of a hill workout will vary based on your speed, but aim for a total of 10 to 30 minutes.
Other Great Uses
Use the treadmill for walking lunges by holding the front handles and lunging at a speed of 0.5 to 1.0 mph. Try side squats at the same speed or increase to perform side shuffles. Focus on heal to toe movement while walking backward to work your shins and quadriceps.
- Treadmill Training for Runners; Rick Morris
- Treadmill Training and Workout Guide; Alberto Salazar & Len Sherman