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You gotta love treadmills. They take no special training, no extra equipment, you just hop on and go to town!
Hi everyone, Kathleen here, and today, I want to tell you more about treadmills and what they have to offer.
A treadmill workout will not only help you burn calories, it will also help you get an incredible cardio workout within a minute. Treadmills are simple to use and undoubtedly the shortest path to a healthy cardiovascular system.
If you belong to a gym, chances are that the treadmills are the most popular pieces of workout equipment, and with good reason. However, if you ask most people which muscles does a treadmill work, you will probably get a shrug or a pretty vague answer like, “the legs”.
I’m sure you know that regularly using a treadmill helps keep your body healthy, but is that it? Do you want to know exactly which muscles does the treadmill work? Keep reading, my friends, and increase your fitness knowledge base.
Table of Contents
What Muscles Does a Treadmill Target?
Since you are either running or walking on a treadmill, it’s pretty obvious that you work out your legs, but did you know that you’re also using other lower and upper body muscles? Find them all here in this list:
- Core muscles (the abdominals). While they may not get as much use during your workout routine as a set of planks will, these important muscles hold your body upright, support your spine, and connect your lower and upper body.
- Calf muscles. Both the front and back muscles of the calf get a really good workout, even if you are walking slowly..
- Quadriceps muscles. These are the ones on the front of the thighs. If you want to make your quads bigger, increase the incline on your treadmill.
- Hamstring muscles. These are located on the back of the thighs.
- Gluteus muscles. The glutes are your butt muscles, folks. The muscles in your butt are the biggest muscles in the body, and they do a lot more than just give you a place to sit. They support the spine, and, in combination with the hamstrings, allow you to move your knees, as well as give people something to admire when you’re wearing tight jeans.
- Iliotibial band muscles. These muscles are found on the outside of the thighs. Called IT bands, these muscles don’t get mentioned much but keeping them firm will help prevent a painful condition called IT Band Syndrome.
- Last, but not least, your heart! Your heart is an important muscle, even though many of us don’t think of it as such. Getting in cardiovascular exercise works the cardiac muscle and keeps it healthy and free from cardiovascular disease.
Treadmills workouts are terrific for the entire lower body muscles, the core, the cardiovascular system, and preventing high blood pressure and disease.
I’ve noticed that I’m willing to use my treadmill a lot more if it’s at home as opposed to driving to the gym to use one. I don’t mind getting on the treadmill while watching TV, or if I’ve got 10 minutes before I leave the house, I love getting in just those 10 minutes.
However, I know that space can be a problem for some. Check out these treadmills which can fold and will fit under your bed! That solves any space problem you might have.
Does a Treadmill Tone Your Stomach?
Will s treadmill work your stomach muscles?
When using a treadmill, While some of your core muscles help to keep your body upright, a treadmill doesn’t specifically work your abs enough that you would notice. What happens when you do treadmill workouts is that your abdominal muscles act like stabilizers to keep you steady and on your feet.
However, this core engagement happens every time you walk or move, and you don’t have a six-pack on that belly yet, right? Remember that you can’t spot reduce, but you can use exercise equipment, such as the treadmill, to help tone and tighten those abdominals so that when you lose fat, people will see those nice, tight abs.
You will need to keep your core engaged while you’re running or walking to see some benefit.
Alternately, you can do exercises that will work your core muscles, such as planks or burpees.
Serious runners will want a heavy-duty treadmill. Be sure to check out this list of the best treadmills for sprinting for your hard-earned buck!
When you’ve finished your treadmill exercises, get down on the floor and do an effective workout for your core muscles. This will be easier after your treadmill run since all your muscles are warm and ready to work!
Will a Treadmill Tone My Bum?
It absolutely will! Walking or running regularly on a treadmill will tone your tush. It will also improve the entire lower body, including your lower legs, upper legs, and the gluteus maximus. If you want a bigger booty, use that upward incline and feel the burn! Getting a bigger behind will take some uphill walking/running or walking lunges and uphill sprints.
When you add a high incline or even just a mild upward incline, you activate those glutes that help to propel you forward.
A nicely toned butt is just a treadmill walk away!
What Does 30 Minutes on a Treadmill Do for You?
When it comes to a treadmill workout, you should think about working smarter, not harder.
Actually, that is probably true in all aspects of life, right?
To get the most out of your treadmill, you should consider doing HIIT training. High-Intensity Interval Training means that you work (or run, in the case of a treadmill) as fast as possible for a set number of seconds (or minutes) and then slow down or even rest for another set number of seconds.
For example, after warming up, you could run at 6 MPH for 1 minute, then slow down to 3 MPH for 30 seconds, then repeat. Repeating this sequence over 20 or 30 minutes will help you shed major fat and calories, as well as build muscle.
One study found out that men who did 8-second sprints over a 20 minute period just 3 times per week for 12 weeks lost more fat and gained as much muscle as men who jogged one hour a day over 14 weeks.
With these types of overall health benefits, it only makes sense that you should practice HIIT training on your treadmill so you can get the best results in the shortest amount of time.
Even if you can’t run, or if HIIT workouts seem a bit much for you at the moment, just walk! Any exercise you do is better than none at all, especially if you want to have a healthy heart.
If you find it hard to get in exercise, try one of those under-the-desk ellipticals or those walking pads that you can use as you talk on the phone or work at a desk (assuming you have an adjustable desk). I have a friend who hates the gym, but she uses a walking pad to walk while she watches TV.
If you haven’t exercised in years, take it slow but get up off your butt! You might find these wide-track treadmills easier to use.
Walk around the block, or walk for 10 minutes. Then add one minute every other day. You can do this!
As my mama used to say, “Slow is still progress.” Get moving and you will feel better for it!
The Final Takeaway
In the end, the answer to “What muscles does a treadmill work” is short and sweet if you want to avoid all the technical names of your muscle: the lower body and the heart.
Treadmill workouts target specific muscles, including the legs, glutes, calves, and heart, to give you a terrific workout, whether you’re walking or running.
There are many benefits to exercise, but I know most people understand that while exercise is important, they don’t really pay much attention.
What they pay attention to is how they’ll feel and what could happen (and probably will happen) if they DON’T exercise. You’re destined to have cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, possibly Type II diabetes, a much higher risk of stroke, osteoporosis, joint pain, and being overweight or obese if you continue with your sedentary life.
You can avoid nearly all of the above simply by walking and running on a treadmill for at least 150 minutes each week. That’s only 25 minutes a day 6 days a week or 30 minutes a day 5 days per week.
Thirty minutes a day isn’t too much to ask, now is it?
Stay healthy and get in those 30-minutes! Your body will repay you with many long, healthy years.
Written by Kathleen Langdon – TheHealthPot.com Founder
Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES)
Kathleen, a mother of two, struggled with ongoing weight and health issues. She created this website after she turned her life around. She built Thehealthpot.com to help inspire and motivate others with their fitness goals. Read more about Kathleen here.