Five Things To Do On A Treadmill Besides Run On It [Plus: Ultimate Treadmill Fails!] Featured

Authors: TheGreatFitnessExperiment



Treadmills are not just expensive sweater drying racks. It turns out these moving sidewalks to nowhere have many uses. You can run on them – especially satisfying since their front panel doubles a sweat splatter screen so not only can you see how far you’ve run but also how hard you’ve had to work to get there. You can also walk on them, an activity made even more enjoyable by a pair of headphones, an individual TV screen and low expectations of daytime programming. You cannot, however, sit on them. At least not while they’re turned on. It will eject you faster than you can say That latest Law & Order SVU about the Chris Brown and Rihanna debacle has got to be the most ridiculous episode they’ve ever aired. Because it was right?? I learned that the hard way today when Gym Buddy Allison and I decided to amp up the fun (and the weird looks) by using our dreadmills for something other than shin splints and sweaty elbows.

It all started with this “Shredmill” video that reader Colleen sent me ( I love you Colleen!) along with a challenge that the Gym Buddies and I try it:

(If you are reading this through e-mail or a reader, click through to my site to see the video)

Which we did. And then because we’re, you know, us (read: total dorks) we had to add on to it. We actually did the running portion first, to get it out of the way. We’ve learned from doing Tabatas that anything involving sprinting needs to be done as quickly as possible or you’ll find a way to talk yourself out of doing it. I don’t have a picture of that because we were running too hard to snap one but here’s me pretending to go flying off the back! The lady next to me was not amused. At all.

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But we quickly learned there’s more than one way to end up on your butt on the carpet and you don’t even have to use your feet for this first one!

1. Treadmill Planks:

photo 1 (1)

Start by turning on the treadmill to 1 mile per hour. Yes, super slow. If your treadmill has a lower setting you might want to try it on that one first. Get into a plank position at the end of the ‘mill with your hands on the sides (off the belt). When you’re ready, move your hands one at a time onto the belt. Now walk your hands while maintaining your plank position. For one minute.

(The girl in the video sticks a plyo box under her feet to maintain a straight plank form. We didn’t have a plyo box handy and so instead we decided to have Allison hold up my feet wheelbarrow-race style. I so wish we could have got a picture of that but alas we were too paranoid of getting busted by one of the personal trainers and getting our butts banned from the equipment. Again.) You’ll really feel this in your core and arms but also surprisingly a lot in your glutes. Or maybe I just clench when I’m nervous. (just me?)

2. Treadmill Bear Crawl

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With the treadmill still running at 1 mph, get into a pike position with your weight on your hands and your feet on the sides. Step carefully (!!) onto the treadmill and walk your feet towards you. Repeat these bear crawls for one minute. This one’s not too bad once you get a feel for the motion. On the video I think she calls it a mountain climber but to me it felt like the opposite motion of a mountain climber. Whatever you call it, just expect it to feel really weird at first. You’ll feel this one in your core, shoulders and arms again with added work for your legs.

3. Treadmill Crab Walks

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With the treadmill still on 1 mph, crouch at the end of the ‘mill. Lean backward and place both hands on the belt, walking them away from you, crabwalk style. Again, one minute of pain. You’ll feel it in your shoulders, arms, abs and tongue, apparently. For the record, I thought this one was by far the hardest of the bunch. It’s really easy for your hands to get out from underneath you and then your instinct will be to sit down to catch yourself. DON’T DO IT. Human skid mark, that’s me. (Seriously, I have road rash on my right cheek now.)

4. Treadmill Push
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Now turn the treadmill OFF. Brace your hands at the top and push hard enough with your legs to move the belt under your own power. “Run” on it this way for one minute. If you can make it that long. This one burns out your quads fast! Kind of like sled pulls. But without the sled. Or the pulling.

5. Walking Backwards.
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Turn the treadmill back on to a reasonably slow pace – we picked 3 mph – and then turn yourself around (and that’s what it’s all about! *clap, clap*) You’d think this would be as easy as walking backwards on the ground. Well it isn’t! My only tip is to hold on to the handrails until you’re certain of your balance.

One last tip: We learned very quickly during the plank walks that treadmills are made for shoes and all the little grippy nubbins (that’s the official name right?) will tear the crap out of your hands. My fix was to walk on my knuckles (seriously) but then Allison pointed out we have weight lifting gloves. Her solution was way better (as they usually are) although Chuck Norris would have done it my way. Just saying.

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Do you have any fun not-running treadmill moves that you do? Anyone else going to try this? (Seriously do it – it’s fun! And it’s a good workout!) Has anyone else ever sat down/fallen off/gotten ejected by a treadmill?

P.S. Lest you think I’m a total narcissist, I tried hard to get Allison to be in the pics with me but she refused. I hadn’t planned on doing this today and so the pictures were a surprise to both of us (hence my complete lack of makeup or non-bumpy ponytail. I’m lucky I was wearing matching clothes). Huge props to her for doing it with me anyhow though!

And because nothing is funnier than watching other people fall down, I’ll leave you with this, the Ultimate Treadmill Fails:

Written with love by Charlotte Hilton Andersen for The Great Fitness Experiment (c) 2011. If you enjoyed this, please check out my new book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying EverythingFive Things To Do On A Treadmill Besides Run On It [Plus: Ultimate Treadmill Fails!] for more of my crazy antics and uncomfortable over-shares!

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