When people set out to workout on a treadmill, as there are so many benefits to running on a treadmill, they usually start out with great intentions yet don’t always follow through. Unfortunately many people think that all there is to using a treadmill is hopping on and pressing start, then here and there adjusting their speed as they go along.
This is where the problem lies, as there is so much more to a treadmill workout session then the occasional adjusting of the speed. If you are one who looks to a treadmill workout as a quick and surefire way to get in a good workout, you may not be receiving the biggest bang for your buck and instead actually wasting your precious gym time. Here are a few common treadmill mistakes others often make that strip them from receiving the most out of their sweat sessions:
Not Maintaining Proper Running Form – Leaning Forward
Leaning forward is one guaranteed way to alter your treadmill workout, you are not working as hard to keep your body up right, hence you are not burning as many calories. The treadmill is already pulling your feet backward, instead you need to use effort to pull your feet from the belt before they are driven away by the belt, which would result in an easier workout with the treadmill doing all the work.
Maintaining good posture is going to ensure safety as to not make you fall flat on your face, but it is also going to help strengthen your core. Try to keep your running stride as similar to your outdoor stride as possible. Keep your body upright with quick and short mid-foot strikes. To protect your knees be sure to avoid heel striking as this sends shocks to your knees causing unnecessary impact and pain, which could lead to injury.
Holding on to the Handrails
Treadmill users holding onto the handrails is the one of the most common mistakes we often see others doing. The handrails are simply there to help you safely get on and off the treadmill, not to support you during your workout. When you hold on to the handrails your upper body form not only suffers, which we just explained causes your workout to suffer as well, but it can lead to injury as well.
Not Adding Incline
According to Getting the Most from Your Treadmill Workouts “the importance of utilizing your incline function can either make or break your workout.” Many people believe that increasing their speed is the only way to increase the intensity of their workouts, but this is not the case. You do not need to be sprinting as fast as the treadmill will go to increase your intensity and get a good workout, increasing your incline is going to challenge your workout as well.
Increasing your incline is going to target different muscle groups and by incorporating more muscle groups into your workout you will burn more calories. “By adding incline, you’ll stimulate more overall lower body strength and power development, meaning you’ll actually get more of an anabolic response from the session” according to a Fit Rated article, Important Tips To Remember To Get The Most From Your Treadmill Workouts.
This means in the end you are going to burn more calories by stimulating more muscles and increasing your lower body strength, all while still giving you a good cardio workout!
Not Working Out Hard Enough
This ties right in with not adding incline. Just jumping on the treadmill, going at a zero incline for the same speed you are not getting as great of a workout as you could be. Although you will still burn calories and it won’t be a huge waste of your time, you could be utilizing your workout session better making for a better workout in the same amount of time, this includes increasing your incline and speed.
You’ll see many treadmill users read through an entire magazine and barely breaking a sweat, these users are probably not working hard enough and not getting the most from their treadmill workouts. While using this strategy on easy rest days will help to get you moving without being too strenuous, it should be used for only that, easy rest days. If you are looking to get any results you are going to need to push yourself a little more to get that heart rate up and burn optimal calories.
Tread Rightly: Avoid Treadmill Mistakes from Active.com suggests using interval training during your treadmill workouts to “push the pace without pushing it for the entire run.” Intervals of speed or incline are going to make the workout more challenging. When you run outdoors you are running at different speeds due to different environmental factors such as wind, hills, traffic lights and changing weather conditions. To mimic this on your treadmill run use intervals by varying your pace and/or incline throughout your run. These types of intervals are going to not only help prevent you from getting bored with your treadmill workout, but also ensure a higher calorie burn for the same if not less amount of time you usually do going at the same pace with zero incline.
Keep these quick tips in mind during your next treadmill workout to ensure you are receiving the most from your workout session and burning the optimal amount of calories.