The Best 6 Strength Exercises You Can Do on a Treadmill

Do you really think that the treadmill is only for running? Then think again. In fact, contrary to popular belief, you can actually use the treadmill for way more than just running.

Enter strength exercises

There are plenty of strength and agility exercises you can do on the treadmill that can help you get stronger, run faster and protect your body against common running injury. You can do lunges, side shuffle, mountain climbers and other exercises that usually reserved for the gym floor.

So today, I’m sharing with you some of best exercises you can perform on the treadmill without running or breaking your neck, God forbid.

Nevertheless, before we jump to the workout, a word of caution. The exercises I’m sharing with you below are a bit advanced. So please be careful and stay within your fitness level; otherwise, you will be only bringing pain, injury, or complete embarrassment upon yourself.


Strength Exercises You Can Do on a Treadmill

The exercises below will increase your heart rate and target almost every major muscle group in your body, burning mad calories and building muscles, without the need for weights or switching machines (except for a treadmill).

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds to one full minute, then move to the next exercise with minimum rest. Take a 1-minute recovery break between each circuit, repeating the whole circuit three to four times.

The Warm-up

I hate to sound like a broken record, but you should never skip a warm-up, regardless of the exercise routine you are planning on doing.

As a result, start this treadmill routine with a decent warm-up. Jog slowly for 5 to 10 minutes, then do full body dynamic exercises to increase your heart rate and fire up your muscles.

Check out my dynamic warm-up here.

1. Mountain Climber

Muscles Targeted: The entire core and shoulders.

With the machine set to dynamic mode, assume a plank position with hands firmly on the floor and feet set about in the middle of the treadmill. Keep your arms straight and core engaged the entire time.

Next, grip the belt with your toes, then slowly start running with your legs, pushing the treadmill belt away from you in a mountain climbing motion (by driving one to your chest as your other leg extends backwards).

Do this for one full minute then move to the next exercise.

2. Treadmill Walking Lunges

Muscle Targeted: Glutes, quads and calves.

Set the treadmill at a speed of 1.5 to 2.0 mph, then while holding the side raise for balance, take an exaggerated step forward with your right leg, bending both knees to a 90-degree angle. Then rise up, and bring your left leg forward and continue lunging for one full minute then move to the next exercise.

Make sure to keep your body centered between your legs, back flat and chest up throughout the exercise.

3. Side Shuffles

Muscle Targeted: Inner and outer thighs, and calves.

Begin by standing sideways on the treadmill with your back straight and knees slightly bent.

Next, while holding onto the railings if you need more support, set the speed to 3.0 to 4.0 mph and start performing rapid and quick side shuffles, landing on the balls of your feet the entire time.

Continue for one minute, then switch sides and repeat on the other side.

4. Walking Plank

Muscles Targeted: The entire core, and the shoulders.

Start by setting the treadmill to 1 to 2 mph, then get behind the machine and assume a plank position, with core engaged and legs stretched behind you with the hands, palms down, on the sides of the treadmill base.

Next, once you are set, place your hands onto the moving belt and start walking your hands while keeping the plank position. Continue “walking” with your hand for one full minute, then move to the next exercise of the circuit.

5. Low Squat Side Shuffles

Muscles Targeted: The glutes, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and the core.

Just like side shuffle exercise, but this time assume a quarter-squat position, keeping your back flat, core engaged, and chest up the entire time.

Next, opt for a speed of 2.0 to 3.0 mph, then while staying in the quarter squat position, start performing quick side shuffles without bringing feet closer than hips width distance.

Continue for one minute, then switch sides.

6. Treadmill Bear Crawl

Muscles Targeted: The core, shoulders and legs.

Set the treadmill at a speed of 1.0 to 2.0 mph, then assume a pike position with most of your weight on your hands, feet on the sides of the treadmill base.

Next, while being extra careful, step your feet onto the moving belt and start walking your feet towards you.

Continue bear walking for one minute, then stop, rest for one minute to two minutes, then repeat the whole circuit two to three times.

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