Your Complete Guide to Proper Treadmill Running Form

It goes without saying that the best way to run efficiently is to run with good technique as doing so improves your running economy and reduces injury risk.

And you should strive to develop good form both when running outdoor as well as while pounding the belt of the treadmill at your local gym.

I have already discussed in previous posts the principles of proper form.

In today’s post, I decided to change gears and zero in on the proper running form when using the treadmill. By improving your technique, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of your training including maintaining a steady pace and reducing the impact on your joints.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

The Tight Treadmill Running Form

Here a few proper treadmill’s running traits you need to develop.

Posture

Before you start pounding the belt, assume an athletic position. Keep your feet hip-width apart, feet pointing forward, core engaged, pelvis level, and spine lengthened. Having proper posture from the get-go sets you for success later on.

Keep it Up

A common mistake many make is continuously looking down their feet or the dashboard. This is undoubtedly your unnatural technique and it can result in bad form and neck and back strain. Your running experience suffers whenever you look down.

Building proper from starts from the top; keep your chin forward and head up. This will enable you to maintain proper body posture and prevent post-workout aches and pains. Imagine looking forward to the horizon.

Simulate Outdoor Running

Mimic your road technique when using the treadmill. Focus on looking forward and keeping your back straight.

Let your feet pound the belt just as you’d if running outdoor, and pay attention to your stride length, making sure not to shorten nor lengthen your stride. You can also raise the incline to two to three percent to mimic the push-off motion you tend to take when running outside.

Let Go Of The Rails

Holding on to the handles may help when fatigue starts to set in, but doing so increases injury risk and may hinder your performance.

Don’t ever hold onto the handrails when running on a treadmill. They’re there for one reason: to assist you in getting safely on and off the treadmill.

Instead, use your upper body to keep your balance instead of grabbing onto the handrails for support. This is not only good form, but it also helps tone your biceps, triceps, shoulder, and the core.

Keep in mind that your main purpose when using the treadmill is to mimic your road technique and get a session that is just as effective than an outdoor run.

Use Your Arms

Keep your elbows bent to a 90 degrees’ angle, and keep your shoulders relaxed. Then keep swinging your and with the palms facing inward throughout the workout. Do not drive your arms so hard back and forth that your body twists as you run.

This not only helps you develop good form but also build core strength and burn more calories.

Strike Right

Make sure you’re running on the treadmill the same way you’d run outdoors. Strike the belt with the ball of your feet, not your heels, well ahead of your body’s center of gravity. Also, keep your feet under your body, not behind or ahead of it.

You may have the tendency to take short, choppy strides, but do your best to run with your natural form. Slow down your pace if your form feels off.

No Forward-Leaning

Do not to slouch or curve your back—especially if you’re opting for the incline option. Instead, keep your body upright.

Although I’d recommend that you lean a bit forward when running outdoor, it’s not necessary to do so on the treadmill since the machine pulls your feet backward. Lean forward too much and you might end up with back and neck issues. And you don’t want that.

Run in the Middle

Another common mistake is gravitating to the console at the front of the belt when using the treadmill.  This not hinders your arm drive and messes with your stride, but can also force you to lose balance.

Avoid this mistake by purposefully running roughly a foot away from the console, in the middle of the treadmill.

Relax

Keeping your body relax throughout the workout is key for avoiding discomfort and injury. Therefore, make sure to breathe deeply and keep a keen eye on the way you feel throughout the training session.

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