According to personal trainer Dustin Mark McNeer, there’s more to using a treadmill than meets the eye.
Treadmills are one of the most popular cardio machines in the gym, and it’s easy to see why. The treadmill belt assists leg turnover, which means you can run at a faster pace compared to running on the road. Plus, it’s easier on the body’s tissues and joints! You never have to worry about the weather, and you can be more relaxed by not needing to follow a route. Although running in place seems really easy, Dustin Mark McNeer, a personal trainer and certified nutritionist, reveals some common mistakes you might be making.
- Avoiding Warmups
Just like with any other physical activity, runners should start by warming up. Dustin Mark McNeer suggests walking at a slow, then brisk pace before further increasing the intensity of your workout. Most people think about warming up on a trail more than they do on a treadmill. However, Dustin Mark McNeer notes that you are more likely to crank up the speed on the belt, which requires you to loosen muscles properly. Incorporate a 5-10 minute warmup for best results.
- Staring at the Screen
Treadmills give us lots of cool metrics to look at while we run, such as speed, distance, incline, and calories burned. It’s great to check your progress every once in a while, but its best to walk and run with your head up. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that staring at your treadmill screen can encourage poor posture or cause you to hold onto the handrails. Keep your eyes forward and your head straight to burn more calories and reduce the risk of aches.
- Changing Stride
One of the most common mistakes people make on the treadmill is changing their natural stride. Dustin Mark McNeer sees it in the gym all the time! People walk too close to the front of the belt and shorten their steps. Others are always racing away from the end and overcompensate with too broad a stride. The best way to avoid changing your natural stride is by concentrating on your form. Dustin Mark McNeer recommends focusing on your back foot the most because it is the source of your power and speed.
- Forgetting Incline
Dustin Mark McNeer never recommends walking or running with the treadmill at zero incline. It is very common for runners to lean back slightly, which results in changes to posture and form. Plus, it can put more stress on your joints and knees, which negates the positive benefits of using a treadmill in the first place.
To match the effort you would typically use on a walk outside, you should bump the incline to 1 – 1.5%. It will account for wind resistance and changes in terrain that are usually experienced on a trail or sidewalk. Additionally, Dustin Mark McNeer recommends incline because it can help you burn more calories and target new muscle groups. Instead of running for cardio only, you can build strength in your glutes, hamstrings, and calves!