With summer long gone, you may have transitioned to bringing your workout back indoors. And you know what that means: You’re going to find yourself on a treadmill before you know it.
Burdened with nicknames like “the hamster wheel” and “the dreadmill,” the treadmill gets a bad rap. If you find yourself checking out when it’s time to run, or you want to work out more of your body, think about getting creative with these treadmill exercises:
- Side shuffles. Side shuffles are a terrific way to work out your buttocks, hips, and thighs, including the transverse abdominus, the deepest layer of your abs. Face the right side of the treadmill with both feet on the belt. Set the treadmill speed nice and slow—no faster than half your typical walking pace to start—and shuffle sideways: Step to the left with your left foot, then follow up with your right foot. Don’t cross your feet—you’ll be too likely to trip. Adjust your speed until it feels comfortable. Continue for 30 seconds, then switch directions and repeat.
- Walking lunges. This great conditioning exercise focuses on the glutes and the quadriceps, as well as the hamstrings in the thigh and most muscles in the calves. Set the speed at roughly half your regular walking pace. With hands on hips, take one big step forward with your right foot, lowering into a lunge, making sure to keep your knee over the ankle of your stepping foot. As you return to a standing position, pull your left foot forward with another big step, lowering into the next lunge. Repeat until you’ve completed 10 lunges on each side.
- Backward hill climb. Working the quadriceps and calves, the backward hill climb is a great exercise for cyclists and runners. Set the speed at roughly half your regular walking pace. Stand with your feet on the stationary sides of the treadmill belt, and increase the machine’s incline setting to its maximum. Then, carefully turn to face the back of the treadmill and start walking. Use the treadmill handrails for added support.
- Walking treadmill plank. This move gets your abs, arms and shoulders in on the treadmill action. Take the treadmill speed down to between 0.5 to one mile per hour, and step off completely. Start in a standing position behind the treadmill, then assume a plank position—feet on the floor, hips in alignment with the shoulders, and hands on the stationary sides of the treadmill belt (where your feet would go if you stepped off the side of the belt). When you’re ready, place your hands on the belt, with the right hand directly beneath your shoulder and the left hand extended. As the belt moves, walk your hands along the belt in front of you. Complete 10 to 15 steps on each side.
- High knee skip. Skipping burns more calories than running, plus it’s a good workout for your calf and hip-flexor muscles. It also improves footwork, balance, coordination, and agility. With the belt running slightly faster that your average walking pace, go from walking to skipping: Bring your right knee toward your chest as you push off of the left foot in a jump, though always maintaining a tall posture and keeping your core tight. Step down and continue smoothly as you push off with the right foot, bringing your left knee up to your chest. Continue alternating for 30 seconds to start.
- Feel the beat. Finally, consider adding Spotify Running to your workout routine, as it’ll match music to your running pace – detecting your steps per minute then finding tunes with similar tempos. It’s no secret that music can help people push a little harder during their workouts, so put your smartphone and headphones to use beyond traditional pre-made playlists and try adding a little surprise-and-delight to your treadmill routines.