The treadmill is one of the most commonly used pieces of a commercial gym equipment and even the first addition to the convenience of a home gym. When used correctly, it can make a huge difference in your overall health, fitness level, and any body composition goals you might have. Unfortunately, it is often misused by unknowing exercisers who have good intentions. Read the following 8 mistakes to avoid so that you can get more benefits from your workout:
1. Stop Skipping Your Warm-Up
People often walk up to a treadmill, and crank it up to running speed right away. Expecting that much force from your muscles when they aren’t warmed up begs for an injury. Start out slow, and work your way up to running. Give yourself at least 5 minutes. Inclined walking is a great warm up.
2. Stop Holding On
Holding onto the bars on the side or the front piece means you’re burning less calories. Since your arms aren’t moving, you’re not engaging those muscles at all, and holding on may be shortening your range of motion with your legs. It’s also allowing for bad posture and a big way to get the most out of your exercise is to focus on good form.
3. Stop Winging It
You will always do more if you start out with a plan. It is way too easy to quit early when you haven’t set a goal for yourself. Planning your workouts on treadmills allows you to push yourself to your fullest potential, whereas winging it will often result in quitting just when it’s starting to get good!
4. Stop Ignoring The Incline
Even using the slightest incline burns significantly more calories than running on a flat treadmill. When you use an incline treadmill, you’re able to challenge the muscles on the back of the leg as well as the front, so you’ll accomplish more in the same period of time. It will also better simulate a run of the belt so if you’re training for outdoor running, you’d better be adding a slight incline to your treadmill run.
5. Stop Looking Down
Looking at your feet and hunching over often happens when fatigue sets in. This is bad form, and causes the rest of your body to be out of alignment. Poor alignment makes the run harder because you’re slightly closing off your airway and using inefficient body motions. You more susceptible to injury and less susceptible to a quality workout.
6. Stop Shrinking Your Stride
It is a natural instinct to run really close to the top for fear that you might fall off the back. However, this is shortening your stride significantly and making your form less efficient. Pay attention to your stride the next time you use your treadmill and compare it to your stride when running outside.
7. Stomp Stomping Your Feet
This is bad for your feet and legs because each step is a much more significant impact than it should be. Land each step on the heel or ball of the foot, not the entire foot at one time. It’s also a great idea to learn more about your foot strike pattern because we’re all a little different.
8. Stop Sticking To The Same Old Routine
Your body adapts after a while to whatever challenge you give it. If you do the same workout over and over, your body will quickly stop responding to the movements. Changing your routine every few days or alternating routines throughout the week are a great way to keep your body guessing and improving. Try alternating between incline and speed intervals.