10 Best Ideas for a Treadmill Workout

10 Best Ideas for a Treadmill Workout

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The treadmill is a great tool to use when you can not exercise outside.

You might enjoy running outdoors -- but when winter hits, a treadmill is a warm and dry alternative. The treadmill can be incorporated into a variety of workouts, and a nice dynamic is that you're always in control. One of the shortcomings of a treadmill, however, is the monotony of the exercise and its usual environment. Utilize the machine's ability to manipulate speed and incline to maintain interest.

Progression Run

In a progression run you start your workout slowly and finish faster than when you began. To perform a progression run start at an easy pace then slowly increase your pace throughout the workout; every two to five minutes increase your speed by 1 mph. Stop progressing your speed when you have met your goal pace.

Chorus Sprints

To do this exercise you have to be listening to music. Run at an easy pace, the speed you feel the most comfortable running for a long distance. Start running at an easy pace; when the chorus of a song begins bump your speed up to a sprint -- return back to your easy pace once the chorus is completed. For example: If your tempo is 6.5 then move to 8.0 for the chorus.

Race Simulation

Some treadmills offer simulations of famous races, like the Boston Marathon, mimicking the topography on the treadmill. If your treadmill does not have preset courses, you can use a famous race's elevation map to time your hills to mimic the course. You can also do this for a local race you have entered to prepare yourself for race day.

Speed Intervals

The idea is to run at an easy pace for three minutes then three minutes at a pace that is 10 seconds faster per mile, known as your interval speed. Alternate every three minutes between slower and faster speed for the entire workout. Keep in mind it takes a few seconds for the machine to reach your interval speed, so start timing after you have reached the targeted pace.

Sitcom Tempo Run

This exercise requires that you watch your favorite TV show while on the treadmill. After warming up, move your speed to a tempo pace. A tempo pace should only be a few notches quicker than your easy pace. During commercials bring yourself to a jog; when the show returns resume to your tempo pace. Do this for the entire show.

Hill Repeats

Start by running two minutes at a zero incline at an easy pace then alternate to one minute at a 4 percent incline, repeat this alternation of inclines throughout the entire workout. As you build up stamina, gradually increase your incline. This will give your cardiovascular system a challenge without the increased stress on your legs due to the slower pace.

Cardio Variation

Take four index cards and write down the speeds of your fastest run, easy run, brisk walk and leisurely walk. One speed per card. Place the cards on the control panel. Pick a card after warming up. Perform the speed listed on the card for three minutes, then grab a new card and complete that pace. Continue switching cards every three minutes until you have met your allotted time.

Pace Booster

Once you have warmed up with light cardio activity, increase your speed to a tempo pace for 30 seconds then alternate to walking for 30 seconds. Continue this 30/30 ratio and try to increase your speed slightly with each successive run segment. Do as many cycles as you can within your workout.

Short Circuits

This workout will combine aerobic and anaerobic activity and raise your heart rate. After warming up with light cardio activity, begin walking at a brisk pace. Walk for two minutes then safely and quickly step off the machine and complete 30 seconds of strength training and then get back on the treadmill. Pick three strength training exercises and cycle through each exercise for three sets each. Focus on squats, lunges and jump squats.


Set the treadmill to a slow pace, between 2.5 mph and 4.5 mph and stand sideways; hold onto the bar and perform a side shuffle for 30 seconds before switching to the other side. Try doing these during your easy pace when interval training. This treadmill workout is effective at raising your heart rate and working the calves.