Treadmills are popular exercise machines that allow you to walk or run indoors. They can help you improve your cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, and tone your muscles. Treadmills have various features, such as speed, incline, and decline functions, that can adjust the intensity and challenge of your workout.
What is a treadmill good for?
There are various muscles involved in treadmill workouts, and we can involve even more by adding more workouts, thereby making its purchase more beneficial.
For example, during treadmill workouts for sprinters, you use your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves to generate force and propel yourself forward. Sprinting on a treadmill also engages your core muscles, such as your abdominals and obliques, to stabilize your body and maintain balance.
Does the treadmill build muscle?
It can help you build muscle, but not as much as resistance training or weight lifting. The treadmill mainly works your lower body muscles, such as hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and calves, which can become stronger and more defined with regular workouts. The treadmill can also work your core and heart muscles, improving your posture and cardiovascular fitness.
However, the treadmill does not work your upper body muscles as much unless you use weights or handles while running. Using weights can add more intensity and challenge to your workout but can also increase the risk of injury and alter your form and biomechanics. Therefore, you should use weights with caution and proper guidance on a treadmill.
What muscles does the treadmill work on?
During treadmill running, the muscles used are mainly the following:
- Heart: The most important muscle in your body, which benefits from the cardiovascular exercise of walking or running. Your heart rate improves, your heart strengthens, and your overall health is enhanced.
- Core: The muscles between your rib cage and your hips keep your body upright and stable during your treadmill workout. Your core muscles include the abdominals, obliques, lower back, and pelvic floor.
- Hamstrings: The muscles on the back of your thighs help you push off from the deck with every stride and stabilize your gait. They also extend and contract as you bend your legs during your stride.
- Quadriceps: The four muscles on the front of your thighs help you extend your knee and propel you forward. They also transfer energy to the hamstrings and support your knee joint.
- Glutes: The muscles in your buttocks hold your pelvis level and help you lift each leg off the deck. They also assist your knee to go behind you after you push off and generate a powerful stride when you run at speed.
- Hip flexors: The muscles above your thighs help you raise your leg upward while running. They also help stabilize and prevent injuries when they are solid and flexible.
- Calves: The muscles at the back of your lower legs act as stabilizers and shock absorbers when you walk or run. They also help you push off from the toes and maintain balance.
Generally, the faster you run, the more you engage your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexors. These muscles must work harder to generate more force and power for each stride. You also increase the demand on your heart and lungs to supply oxygen and blood to the working muscles.
Muscles affected by adding an incline to the treadmill
Muscles used walking uphill, or during incline walking are more than when the treadmill is set to zero incline. The incline function of the treadmill adds more resistance and challenge to your workout, which affects different muscles depending on the degree of incline. Increasing the incline works the following muscles more:
- Glutes: The incline forces you to lift your legs higher and push harder with each step, which activates your glutes more than running on a flat surface.
- Hamstrings: The incline also increases the range of motion of your hamstrings, which have to contract more forcefully to propel you forward and upward.
- Calves: The incline puts more stress on your calves, which must work harder to stabilize your ankles and push off from the toes.
- Core: The incline challenges your core muscles more, as they have to keep your body aligned and balanced against gravity.
Muscles affected by adding decline to the treadmill
The decline function of the treadmill simulates running downhill, which affects different muscles depending on the degree of decline. The decline function works the following muscles more:
- Quadriceps: The decline forces you to control your speed and prevent yourself from falling forward, which activates your quadriceps more than running on a flat surface. They also have to absorb more impact and protect your knees from injury.
- Shins: The decline stresses your shins, which must work harder to prevent your feet from slapping down on the deck.
- Core: The decline challenges your core muscles more, as they have to keep your body aligned and balanced against gravity.
Benefits of using weights while working on a treadmill
Using weights while working on a treadmill can add more intensity and variety to your workout, but it also comes with some risks and drawbacks. Some of the benefits of using weights while working on a treadmill are:
- Burning more calories: Adding weights increases your overall weight, which makes you work harder and burn more calories than without weights.
- Building more muscle: Adding weights challenges your muscles more, which can help you build more strength and endurance in your upper and lower body.
- Improving your balance and coordination: Adding weights requires maintaining your posture and stability, which can improve your balance and coordination skills.
Some of the risks and drawbacks of using weights while working on a treadmill are:
- Increasing the risk of injury: Adding weights can stress your joints, tendons, and ligaments, increasing the risk of injury or aggravating existing conditions. You must also be careful not to drop the weights or lose your grip while running.
- Altering your form and biomechanics: Adding weights can change your natural running form and biomechanics, affecting your efficiency and performance. You may also develop bad habits or compensations that can lead to injuries or imbalances.
- Reducing your speed and range of motion: Adding weights can slow you down and limit your range of motion, reducing the benefits of running on a treadmill. You may also compromise your cardiovascular fitness and endurance by focusing too much on the weights.
Is the treadmill good exercise?
Treadmills are a popular and effective way to exercise. They can help you improve your cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, and tone your muscles. Treadmills have various features that can adjust the intensity and challenge of your workout, making them a versatile option for people of all fitness levels. A treadmill may be a good option if you want a convenient and effective way to get in shape.
Here are some additional tips for using a treadmill safely and effectively:
- Start with a low-intensity workout and gradually increase the intensity as you get stronger.
- Focus on proper form to avoid injury.
- Listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain.
- Warm up before doing any resistance training, and cool down afterward.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
By following these tips, you can safely and effectively use a treadmill to improve your health and fitness.