7 Ways to Amp Up your Treadmill Workout

Youniverse Contributor Lora Mays

You’ve probably heard it called the dreadmill, or maybe even worse. Either way – the treadmill can feel like your greatest enemy when you need to work on your cardiovascular fitness.

With the right tips, you can transform your dreaded workout into one that transforms the way you approach running and also improves your fitness in the progress.

Check out these seven ways to amp up your next treadmill workout:

  1. Focus on variations


To keep yourself mentally engaged, focus on the variations that you can create on the treadmill. With cardio equipment of the past, it was hard to do this – the machines didn’t react as quickly as needed to create a quick variation. However, the new equipment that you find at Youfit will respond extremely quickly so you can get the impact you are looking for.

At a certain distance on the treadmill, you can change your speed or the grade of the treadmill. Continue to do so throughout the workout to keep your mind and body engaged.

An example of how you can add variations to your run on the treadmill:

  • At .25 miles, increase your grade by 2%
  • At .50 miles, increase your speed by .5 mph
  • At .75 miles, decrease your grade by 1%
  • At 1.00 miles, increase your speed by .5 mph
  • At 1.25 miles, decrease your speed by .25 mph

Continue to add variations to your workout as you go, altering between speed and grade changes. In addition, it will likely mimic the type of workout that you engage in while you are in the outdoors – there is no track underneath your feet that keeps you chugging along at the same pace or at the same elevation. The variations will make you stronger in your outdoor runs and improve your overall fitness at the same time.

  1. Skip the music   


Yes, you heard me right. Don’t listen to music. Instead, think about tuning in to a podcast. After the Serial podcast went viral, these have gotten a lot more attention, and rightfully so.

When it comes to churning out a run on the treadmill, listening to an engaging podcast can keep your focus off your legs and into the story you’re hearing through your ears. Before you know it, one, two or even three miles may have quickly passed right in front of your eyes.

  1. Create a HIIT workout with intervals


While the treadmill often serves as a tool to build up endurance for long distances, you can leverage it in other ways, such as to build up your fitness through high-intensity interval training, or HIIT workouts.

These workouts balance intervals of low intensity with those that are of high intensity. With the transition between the two, it helps to build up your physical fitness and strength, making your heart stronger and improving your overall endurance.

Structuring a HIIT workout can vary based on your current fitness levels and your fitness goals. A sample HIIT workout would include:

  • 30-second walking warmup
  • 5-minute run at conversation pace, or a pace you can maintain for an extended period of time while comfortably holding a conversation (not gasping for air after every word)
  • 3-minute run at 2 mph faster than conversation pace
  • 1-minute run at conversation pace
  • 3-minute run at 2 mph faster than conversation pace
  • 1-minute run at conversation pace
  • 3-minute run at 2 mph faster than conversation pace
  • 5-minute run at conversation pace
  • 2-minute walking cool down

HIIT workouts do not have to be very long. In fact, because they burn so many calories, you can tailor them to be only seven or 10 minutes long. Because of this, you can cut down the time of your workout without sacrificing the number of calories that you burn or the fitness benefits that you gain.

  1. Use it for strength training


Treadmills are often thought of as tools to help build our running fitness, but they can be used for so much more than that! In fact, there are several exercises that you can do to build your upper body strength (note: the treadmill should be in “off” mode when you perform these exercises.

For instance, tricep dips. To do these, stand like you would on the treadmill before engaging in a run. Take your hands place them on the rails behind you and lean back on your heels. Bend your arms and pushup to return to your starting position in order to complete one rep.

You can also do chest presses. To do so, do an elevated push up by using the handrails to support you. Put your hands on the rail, bringing your body down and back up again to complete one chest press.

  1. Survive a zombie attack


Credit: Zombies, Run!

No, seriously – prepare for the end of the world by using your daily treadmill run as practice to survive a zombie attack. Zombies, Run! is an app available on iOS or Android mobile devices.

Turn on the device, pop in your headphones and start listening to the story and music. The app will tell you when you need to speed up to miss the attacks of zombies, and as you make it past certain missions, you will collect supplies and other essentials to build up your base.

Zombies, Run! gives you a chance to take your workout to the next level – to the point where you feel like a hero in another world.

  1. Hit it with your friend


Friends make everything better, and the treadmill is no different. When you head to the gym, bring a friend and grab two treadmills next to each other. While you may not feel like chatting throughout the entire run – especially if you are aiming for a hard workout – the extra company will help you stay motivated.

After all, your friend will help you stay accountable. If you announce that you are running five miles, how will you feel if you quit early? A friend will ensure that doesn’t happen for you or for them.

  1. Push the pace


Do you hit the treadmill, go to the pace that you’re comfortable with and let the miles go by?

Instead of going with what you know, push the pace and challenge yourself. After all, if you don’t challenge yourself, how can you change yourself? To push yourself, increase your pace over time. Add one mile per hour every half mile and run until your legs are exhausted.

If you are feeling particularly bold, you can also start out at a faster pace all around. Skip what feels normal to you, add 1.5 mph and start running. You’ll be surprised at how much your body can handle.

Tried everything and still struggling with your treadmill workout? Spend some time with one of our personal trainers to get some extra motivation, or check out one of our classes like Turbo Kick, Zumba, Yoga and Cycle.

Lora Mays is an avid runner and blogs about her running adventures at Crazy Running Girl. A little over 15 years ago, she started running and never looked back – and has since completed 19 marathons. Lora is also a Road Runner Certified Running Coach and Fitfluential Ambassador.