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9 Ways to Max Out Your Treadmill Workout

Break free of the machine monotony and ramp up your indoor routine with these tips.

Re-work Your Warm-Up
Counteract a workday’s worth of sitting with a slow-speed, backwards-walk warm-up to open up the hips. Then, integrate a slow side shuffle into the routine. “A slow lateral walk at a 3%-5% incline is a great strengthening warm-up or cool-down exercise that targets the adductors,” says Hadfield. Here’s how to weave it into your warm-up: follow 30-60 seconds of forward walk with 30-60 seconds of walking backwards at 1.5 miles per hour. “The slower the better,” says Hadfield. “If you’re just shuffling along, you’re not going to get the muscle activation you would if you’re deliberately contracting.” Next, laterally walk for 30-45 seconds until your hip is fatigued, then switch. Repeat 4-5 times.

Don’t Hang On
Fatigue might tempt you to grab onto the handrails for support, but you’re better off coming to a full stop before taking a breather. For safety reasons, always step off. The caveat to the rule: if you’re learning how to use a treadmill or you’re working on balance issues.

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Work It Out
Full schedule? Work out while working with a little intentional movement. Make your treadmill your workstation and complete simple tasks like answering phone calls or replying to emails while keeping a one mile per hour pace, says Hadfield.  

Mimic The Race
“Track repeats, tempo runs, and a long run can all be done on the treadmill,” says
Bill Pierce, Professor and Chair of the Health Sciences department and lead author of Run Less, Run Faster. Whether you’re seeking a change of pace or using the treadmill to simulate a race’s environmental conditions, take advantage of the treadmill’s automatic elevation options. If you live where there’s flat terrain but you’re planning to tackle Boston, you can simulate the racecourse by adding hills to your training run.

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