While the treadmill is a great piece of cardio equipment, it can get a little bit boring. But it doesn't have to be! There are so many more things you can do on a treadmill than just run or walk. So, if you've been feeling like the treadmill is more of a dreadmill, read on for five unique moves that will help you reinvigorate your workout on the treadmill!
5 Unique Treadmill Moves to Try
1. The sideways shuffle. Who says you have to walk forward on a treadmill? Try side stepping instead to work your hips, inner and outer thighs, calves, abs, and obliques! Alexandra Allred, certified fitness instructor and member of the first U.S. women's bobsled team, recommends the sideway shuffle to challenge your balance, strength — and your mind. It's easy to do, too! With your right hand on the rail in front of you and your left hand on the left railing, turn out to the left so that the left railing is now in front of your body.
"At the very instant you step to the left, turn sideways," Allred says. "Just as you would trot/shuffle on the flat ground, you make the same shuffle motion — clicking foot to foot, moving sideways — but its a whole new ball game."
Just remember to do an equal amount of time on your left side as you do your right side, and start at a slow pace, she says. As you get better at the move, you can bump up the speed and the resistance for a challenge.
2. Walk with your arms above your head.
Now this one might look a bit odd, but it certainly works at getting your heart rate up and challenging you more than your usual walk! Sandra Hahamian
, a certified personal trainer who works with such clients as Facebook and Google, recommends speed walking with your arms overhead and/or moving your arms up and down throughout your session.
"You may look a little funny, but bringing your arms up really raises your heart rate," she says.
3. Upper-body strength training. The treadmill isn't just for working the lower body! It's easy to do dips and chest presses using the treadmill, says Dr. Michael Ross, sports medicine physician at the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia and medical director at the Performance Lab powered by Rothman Institute in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
To do tricep dips, stand as you normally would on the treadmill, then place your hands on the rails behind you, lean back onto your heels and bend your arms, pushing up returning to starting position.
To do chest presses, Ross recommends using the hand rails to support you while you do a push up.
"The wide stance places more emphasis on the chest muscles," he says. "Face the back of the treadmill and increase difficulty by increasing the incline."
4. Hike uphill — and backwards.
Who says you can't walk backwards on the treadmill? It takes a little more concentration and you have to walk at a slower speed, but it works for strengthening those quads, glutes and calves, says Nicole Glor of NikkiFitness
, a certified personal trainer and star of multiple workout DVDs.
"Walk uphill backwards and forwards, switching every two minutes at the highest incline and speed of 3.0 forward and 2.5 backwards," she says.
And if you're not comfortable walking backwards? Turn off the power, lean into the handlebar in the front of the treadmill, and use your leg power to push the tread floor manually. It really gets the heart rate up," she says.
5. Tabata intervals.
A killer treadmill workout doesn't have to to take forever. Case in point, Tabata intervals that have you using the treadmill in a whole new heart-pumping way. Joe Vennare, fitness professional and co-founder of The Hybrid Athlete
, says to warm up, and then set the treadmill to a 10 percent to 12 percent incline and ramp up the speed to a sprint.
"Perform 20 seconds of high intensity work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for eight to 12 sets," Vennare says. "Training using the Tabata technique increases stride frequency and encourages forefoot running, while increasing total caloric output."
What are you favorite non-traditional treadmill moves? Tell us!
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.