Running is a great way to work out, but the repetitive motion doesn't always do a body good. The constant forward motion can cause tight hips, overuse injuries, and other conditions. This is one reason why Barry's Bootcamp trainer Shauna Harrison loves to incorporate treadmill side shuffles into her workouts (like this one).
That's right—basically, you're running sideways while on the treadmill. Your neighbors may give you weird looks while you practice this move at the gym, but it's worth it. "Switching up the movement patterns helps strengthen the under—or less-used muscles, which can enhance performance," Harrison says. "It's great for working the inner and outer thighs and the glutes and it's great for hip strength as well as flexibility. If you run frequently, these are the muscles that may be weak or less mobile." Working these underused muscles can not only help you avoid injury and lift and tone your lower body but also help with reaction time when you're running outdoors and have to hop over a branch in your way.
Ready to try the shuffle for yourself? Here's how to do it.
- Program your treadmill to a 3.0-3.5, and carefully turn yourself to the right side so you are completely facing right.
- Grab on lightly to the bar in front of you if needed, not behind you so you don't trip up. Bend your knees and stay low in your legs, but keep your eyes up and body tall and don't let your feet cross each other. You can let go of the bar if you feel ready, but don't feel bad if you're not comfortable going hands-free.
- Shuffle like this for about one minute, then face forward again and switch sides so you are now facing your left side. Shuffle for another minute.
If you're a runner who doesn't do lateral moves like this regularly, the shuffle will feel slightly unnatural to your body, so remember to take it slow. "You can gradually take the speed and incline up as you get more used to the movement, but there's no rush to do this fast," Harrison advises. Incorporate a couple minutes of treadmill shuffling into your normal workouts, and you'll be a pro in no time.