5 Tips for an Awesome Treadmill Workout

Image by: Staff Sgt. Anthony Hyatt
By Robert Spencer

It’s springtime, which means that we’re busting out of the gyms and homes in order to workout outside. However, if you’re anything like me, you’re still stuck at home – staring at the beautiful weather through a double-paned window – because the pollen count’s through the roof.

Luckily for us, that’ll eventually die down and we can (blinking and shielding our eyes) make it back outside in a little while. However, the sun still makes me want to pick up jogging and running, which means only one thing for me: treadmill.

I’m not much of a gym person. I prefer the fresh air of the outdoors (unless that air is polluted with malicious pollen, of course). When I can’t go outside, I spend time in my “home gym”: free weights, mats, resistance gear, and my trusty treadmill.

I know that not a lot of you are keen on treadmills. Some think it’s boring. Others think that “If I wanted to go for a run or a walk, I’ll just go outside.” For those of us who don’t have the luxury of enjoying the outdoors this spring, let’s go over the ways (and how) a treadmill can enhance your workout.

#1) Mixing Up Your Jogging Route

A lot of us know that a stationary treadmill is convenient and that you can change up the pace so that you can run at different speeds and simulate different inclines. Well, some treadmills have the choice of running a low-level hill program or an interval workout, which will mix up the incline/terrain and speeds for you.

#2) Push Yourself – But Not Too Far

It’s one thing to set challenges for yourself (which is a great way for you to motivate yourself during a workout), however it’s a totally different thing to push yourself beyond fatigue and detriment. So break up your high-intensity workouts with something a little bit easier. Break up your weight training regimen with a

#3) The Mountain Climb

This one is pretty self-explanatory and is done with a motorized treadmill. Do a warm-up (set the speed at 2 mph and set the incline to .5) for about 5 minutes. After that, set the speed at about 3 mph and gradually increase the incline by 2% or 2 points every two minutes until you reach about 15% or 15 points. After which, work your way back down, changing the incline every two minutes. Do another cool down walk (speed at 2 mph and incline to .5).

#4) Pyramid Workout

This is done with a motorized treadmill. Set it so that the speed changes by one (mph) every minute after the first five minutes. The first five minutes should be set at about 4 mph (and the incline at about 2 or 3) for a warm up. After that, set the incline at 1 and jump from 5 mph (for a minute) to 6 mph (for a minute) and then back down to 5 mph for each minute up to 20 minutes. After that, do a cool down walk that is the same as the warm up.

If this gets too boring, change up the speed a little: 5, 6, 5, 7, 6, 4, 5, 7, etc. Remember each setting only lasts for a minute.

#5) Different Kinds of Treadmills

For those of us who work at a desk for large chunks of the day (and like to multi-task) there is the tread desk. It might sound gimmicky but hear me out. Tread desks are a great way to keep active in an otherwise sedentary job. For the men who work retail, you know what it’s like to have to be on your feet for 8 hours a day. So for those of us at a desk, we can have that option as well.

Image by: Cory Doctorow

If your HR office won’t pony up the mullah for a tread desk at work, look into getting one at home. They’re great for checking your e-mail, playing online games, or streaming Netflix on your computer.

There are also manual treadmills, which are activated by your own power. You can manually change the incline and personalize it to your own specific settings instead of just the settings that come from the factory. These are generally less expensive (because they don’t have a lot of bells and whistles) but they do give you a great basic workout.

Folding treadmills are great because you can fold it up and tuck it under your bed if you have issues with it taking up too much space. These also don’t have a lot of bells and whistles because they need to be able to stay convenient. Most of these are also manual treadmills.

If you’re looking for something with some extra features, you’re probably looking for a motorized treadmill. Some come with speakers (which is really cool) but they are also bulkier and aren’t able to be stored easily. So you’ll need to find a good spot for it. When you’re shopping for one, make sure you’re looking at the size of the running surface, the power of the motor, heart rate monitors, electronic programming, handrails, and what kind of incline options it has.