Making Treadmill Running Effective
There is this idea that if you just jump on the treadmill and go for a jog that is enough for a good workout. Well it's better than nothing. For those who just run on a treadmill for about 20 minutes and then feel training is not for them, this can be due to the body actually getting used to training on a treadmill, especially if you just set it to a hefty jogging pace on a flat gradient for around half an hour.
That said, treadmill training as a whole is effective, it can be effective if you train in an effective way. Incorporating treadmill running into an exercise routine that focuses on losing weight, gaining lean muscle or sports conditioning, even hypertrophy.
So how do you make treadmill running effective? One simple rule must be applied when setting up your training on a treadmill:
When setting up your treadmill session, one element, one factor of your training must change during the treadmill workout.
What does that mean? One part of the treadmill run must be different to when you start. This can be in the form of changing the speed of your treadmill at one or more points of the whole treadmill exercise. This can be in the form of changing the gradient of the treadmill during the workout, changing both the gradient and the speed, and of course incorporating intervals training.
How can this be done in practise? On a standard treadmill you should have the ability to choose exercise programmes. Programmes you should look at would be for example under the names of 'Hill', '2 speed interval', 'Random', or just putting your treadmill on manual and fiddling with the dials during your workout.
All of these programmes do it for you you, but to get the idea of changing your treadmill settings during a workout, you need to understand that it is to make your running on the treadmill harder, more challenging, so that when you eventually finish your treadmill workout you are feeling really tired, maybe slightly achy, but satisfied that your cardio workout was efficient and successful.
The body loves consistency. Your body is amazing as it adapts to its environment so quickly. This in the gym is called a plateau. This happens slowly in weights training but it happens much faster in cardio training. This means you must change your cardio routine a lot more than your resistance training. So changing your treadmill exercise to random, or to use different treadmil programmes every day, and changing it up every week you dramatically slow the body's ability to adapt to treadmill running.
One of the best things about random treadmill training where your treadmill changes the gradient and speed is that your cardio training is closer to simulating running outdoors. This means that the body will be less likely to adapt to training and sports conditioning is improved.
When you change the intensity of a cardio workout during the workout you are forcing your heart to work harder by slowing or fastening its beats-per-minute. When the heart is increasing BPM, you are burning fat and calories at a much faster rate as the heart looks for energy to speed up and then maintain the BPM. So the more you change the intensity and the less consistent the treadmill settings the more efficient your cardio workout is.
What examples can I give of this kind of treadmill workout? I'll give you a couple of examples of treadmill workouts I do every week:
Eg. 1: 11kph for 2 minutes, 15kph for 1 minute, repeat 6 times.
Eg. 2: Distance climb 1000ft, 8kph, 10% gradient, going down to 5kph for 30 ft every 250ft climbed.
Eg. 3: Distance 6km, the gradient is random, averaging 6% at 9kph, going down to 6kph for 200m every 2km.
Those sound slightly complicated on first reading but once you create and find new ways of changing your treadmill cardio training you will find new ways of challenging yourself for your own fitness goal. You can make it really simple or really tricky as long as you feel really tired afterwards. You can really personalise a treadmill workout.
Now you see there is more to a treadmill workout than maybe you were previously aware of. The treadmill can be really effective for anyone not trying to bulk up. The entirety of your body is being used when you run apart from your arms. If you have made a treadmill workout that is so difficult to complete that you have to stop well that's great! Do it again next week, improve how far you get in your treadmill workout routine and once you do you know that you are improving your overall fitness and are getting closer to acheiving your fitness and health goal.
There's so much you can do on a treadmill, as long as you acheive the one thing you really want when you step off; the feeling of an achievement, the feeling of 'oh my god i need to lie down for a bit', the feeling that you are mastering the gym on machine at a time. The treadmill is your friend for you have tamed it and mastered it.