Transcending the Treadmill: 3 Exercises for Your Machine Other Than Running

women on a treadmill in the gym

Running has proven health benefits, from reducing your risk of serious illness to strengthening your joints.

That being said, it isn’t necessarily the most beloved form of exercise; many athletes loathe the act, and see treadmills as their absolute worst nightmare — after all, if running outdoors with constantly changing scenery is dreadful, running in place while staring at gym equipment is even worse.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can put that machine to use without actually running on it.

If you’re looking to change up your workout routine without sacrificing the benefits that treadmills provide, check out these three, out-of-the-box treadmill exercises.

Shuffle Your Heart Out

woman doing treadmill shuffle
Credit: HuffPost

Walking and running on a treadmill is exceptionally boring.

If you want to improve the experience, change the direction you’re facing; though it may sound too simple to make a difference, the difference in perspective offered by side shuffling can transform a dull workout just enough to make it bearable.

Set your treadmill at a low speed (around four miles per hour) and turn your body while holding onto the rails. You’ll be able to fit your cardio in (and exercise those glutes) without doing any running whatsoever.

Pull And Push Your Way To A Stronger You

woman doing treadmill pullups
Credit: TheCut.com

The side railings on your machine offer more than just stability; they provide an excellent location to perform pull ups. Start by sitting in the center of the belt with your back facing the front of the machine (your knees should be bent and the soles of your feet should be on the belt).

Reach up and grab the side railings, with your palms facing inwards. Engage your core and pull yourself up in this simple and easy version of pull ups!

You can also use your treadmill for push ups — and without getting on the floor! Place your hands on the front handles and take a few steps backwards; bend your elbows to your lower chest toward the front bar, and repeat.

You can even add a bit of incline for an additional challenge!

Lunge Like You’ve Never Lunged Before

woman doing lunges on a treadmill
Credit: Livestrong.com

Lunges are a great way to strengthen your legs and improve both your flexibility and stability.

  • Begin by setting your treadmill to a low speed, around .5 miles per hour.
  • Walk forward and place your one hand on the front handle and the other on the right side railing.
  • Take a step forward and dip into the lunge; your knee should be positioned straight over the toes of your foot, with your other leg straight.
  • Press down into your heel as you “walk” with the treadmill belt. If your balance isn’t as solid as you’d like it to be, you can perform the same movements while your machine is off.

The soreness with this exercise is no fun, but it’s a nice reminder of the hard work you put in.

Final Say

Exercise shouldn’t be agonizing. Because there are so many different forms and routines available that perform the same functions, it’s quite easy to substitute the workouts you hate for ones you enjoy.

The next time you stare down your treadmill for all the running it’s about to make you do, consider the above exercises and make the change.

Related: Best Treadmills for the Home Gym (10 Recommendations)

Stock Photos from Karen Culp / Shutterstock

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Ada Lane

Written by Ada Lane

Fitness fanatic. Loves working out while watching the Game of Thrones. Enjoys a well deserved glass of wine from time to time. Loves helping others put together their fitness goals into words/plans.

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