Beginning on a Treadmill
Whether you are entering the gym for the first time or the 20-year experienced weightlifter in the gym, the treadmill provides comfort and reassurance in a health fitness facility. The treadmill can be the lighthouse in a sea of unfamiliar equipment or a warm-up tool before hitting the weights. No matter how you perceive it, the treadmill is the tried-and-true standard for gyms. Learn how to get the most from this machine during your trips to the gym.
How to safely exercise on the treadmill
Before you even start on this thunderous machine, make sure the start, stop, and acceleration buttons are identified and located.
- Do not start the machine unless you know exactly where the stop button is located!
- Always straddle the treadmill prior to starting the belt.
- Once the belt is set to your preferable speed and grade, use one foot to gauge the cadence of the belt speed. Most wipeouts occur on a treadmill because the runner does not pick their feet up and does not assess the speed of the belt. It’s a funny video on Instagram but not a great way to start your day.
- When you are done with your walk or run, press the stop button and allow the belt to slowly come to a halt.
The classic warm up prior to strength training is 10 to 15 minutes of low to moderate cardiovascular exercise, usually on the treadmill. When warming up, the goal is to increase your core temperature, warm up your connective tissues and muscles, and increase your breathing and heart rate. This can be achieved two ways on the treadmill.
- Keep the grade at 0% and gradually increase the speed of the belt from a walking pace to a light running pace. Walking pace is typically 3.5 mph and light running is 5.0 mph.
- Increase the grade every two minutes until five percent grade is achieved and while still increasing speed of the treadmill to a light running speed. When you’re done make sure to press the stop button and allow the belt to gradually slow down.
The cool down is just as neglected as the warm up for most exercisers. The cool down that is both effective and safe is a 10 to 15 minutes of a low intensity walk on the treadmill. A low intensity walk allows the heart rate and breathing to return to normal baseline levels and sends a signal to the body to return to homeostatic levels. The treadmill is the perfect piece of equipment for a cooldown since it is easy to use and effective.
An alternative in poor weather
If you are a dedicated runner or walker, the treadmill can be your reliable piece of equipment when there is inclement weather. Also, the treadmill provides consistent speed which allows you to assess how you run.
While running or walking, listen to how your feet make contact on the belt. Your feet should never slap the belt or make loud noise on contact when landing. If they do, then there is something off with your running gait. Ideally, your feet should make virtually no noise when making contact to the treadmill belt. How to change your gait will be addressed later.
There are a variety of workouts that incorporate the treadmill. The most obvious type of workout is aerobic cardiovascular, or running and walking. If you want to get fancy, try anaerobic interval training by sprinting at an incline then walking for a period of time, repeating the process five to ten times. You may also try circuit training by incorporating a dumbbell program followed by an active recovery of fast walking on the treadmill between sets.
Learn more about Cybex treadmills
With the IS4 Intelligent Suspension System, the R Series Cybex treadmill offers built-in interval training, two console options and a running experience that helps exercisers push themselves during their cardio workouts. Learn more about this all-new treadmill from Cybex.
John Monteleone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified Special Populations Specialist (CSPS), and Exercise Physiologist Certified (EP-C). He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and is the Head Trainer at Wyomissing Fitness and Training and Exeter Fitness and Training in Reading, PA. John’s passion is helping others overcome barriers in life especially in the health and fitness industry. His motto, “Improve our communities through movement.”