8 Exercises You Can Do On The Treadmill That Aren't Running


See ya never, treadmill boredom. (Photo: Shutterstock)

I always thought treadmills were for running. But lately, as I’ve been running on mine and counting the minutes until I can turn off the blasted device, I’ve seen more and more women performing lunges, side shuffles, and other exercises on theirs that are typically reserved for the gym floor. Sure, the women look pretty funny—but pretty badass, too. I mean, their workout moves seem killer—and the ladies definitely don’t seem as bored as I feel.

So I tapped certified strength and conditioning specialist Mike Donavanik for the best treadmill exercises you can perform 1) without running and 2) without breaking your neck. The moves will strengthen your entire body and get your heart rate up to burn crazy calories. Try performing these exercises—which Donavanik demos in the videos below—before, after, or even instead of your regular run.

1. Walking Lunges
Doing walking lunges across your gym floor is next to impossible. There’s never enough room, and that girl on her cell phone has zero clue she’s standing right in your way. Performing them on a treadmill removes the obstacles so that you can focus on the move and get the most from every leg-burning lunge.
To do: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and turn the treadmill’s speed up to 3 mph (you can tweak this as necessary). Keeping your hands clasped together at chest level, step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees. Then, rise up and bring your back foot forward so that you move forward, alternating legs with each step. To focus on your glutes and hamstrings, set the treadmill to an incline of five percent.

2. Side Shuffles
Side shuffles work both your inner and outer thighs, while also toning you calves and doubling as a cardio exercise.
To do: Stand sideways on the treadmill with your knees slightly bent, and bring the speed up to between 3 and 5.5 mph. Perform quick and rapid side shuffles, making sure to land softly on the balls of your feet. Switch sides.

3. Low (Squat) Side Shuffles
This exercise works your hard-to-hit glute medius—basically, your side butt. Nice.
To do: Stand sideways on the treadmill, and get into a quarter-squat position, keeping your chest up and core braced. Bring the speed up to 1 to 2 mph. Staying in the quarter-squat position, step toward the front of the treadmill with your closest leg, and then follow with your opposite leg. Switch sides.

4. Walking Plank
And you thought the traditional plank was rough. This variation works the front of your shoulders like no other, while forcing your stabilizers to work harder than ever.
To do: Set the treadmill to 1 to 2 mph, then walk behind the treadmill and get into a plank position, with your hands on the side of the treadmill base. Keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels, place your hands on the treadmill band and walk your hands forward for the duration of the exercise.

5. Reverse Mountain Climbers
While a traditional mountain climber will work your entire body, this variation places more emphasis on kicking your legs back, as opposed to driving your knees in. That’s good news if you’re trying to sculpt your backside.
To do: Set the treadmill to 1 to 2 mph, then walk behind the treadmill and get into a plank position, facing away from the machine. Your feet should be on the sides of the treadmill base and your hands on the floor. When you’re ready, bring your feet onto the treadmill, and drive one knee into your chest as the other leg extends back. Switch legs for the duration of the exercise.

6. Crab Walk
You probably haven’t done a crab walk since grade school gym, but it’s still a great exercise. Do it on a treadmill, and it will work your hamstrings, glutes, triceps, and core like crazy.
To do: Set the treadmill to 1 to 2 mph, then walk behind the treadmill and get into a crab position. Place your hands on the side of the treadmill base, facing away from the treadmill and with your back facing the ground. Keeping your feet flat on the floor and your hips elevated, place your hands on the treadmill belt and walk your hands forward.

[Insert crab walk video:


7. Treadmill Push
Pushing a weighted sled is a seriously challenging exercise. By turning off your treadmill and running forward on it, you can mimic that motion. However! Not all treadmill belts can move when the treadmill is turned off. So if you have trouble moving the belt, stop trying and move on to a different exercise.
To do: Stop the treadmill, and pull the emergency tag. Stand on the treadmill, and gripping the handles with both hands and keeping your elbows slightly bent, drive your legs forward so that you push the treadmill belt back with your feet.

[Insert treadmill push video: http://youtu.be/MNKEspuSKGw]

8. Incline Pushups
You’ll never have to scour the gym for a free bench to perform incline pushups again.
To do: Turn the treadmill off, and stand on the side base of the treadmill, with your hands on the top of the treadmill’s handles. Your body should form a straight line from your heels to your head. Bend your elbows to perform a pushup, bringing your chest all the way down to touch the bars/console of the treadmill. Pause, then push back up. To focus on your triceps, keep your elbows tighter to the sides of your body.

[Insert incline pushups video: http://youtu.be/JFWqUZbtlkM]

By K. Aleisha Fetters

More from Women’s Health:

The New Treadmill Workout You HAVE to Try

7 Treadmill Mistakes You Might Be Making

The Completely Inadvisable But Totally Awesome Treadmill Dance You Need to See