Adding a treadmill into your circuit style workouts provides a convenient option that can improve the quality of your training. Including a treadmill in your training program provides a greater range of options to make running more convenient, to increase the level of feedback you receive so that you can push harder during tough workouts, and to provide a lower impact alternative to outdoor runs for active recovery.
Here are a few ways to incorporate your treadmill for training and recovery, especially for doing circuit training style workouts at home.
Warm-ups and Cool Downs:
If you’re using an online app or pulling workouts from a website, you’ve probably noticed that most workouts are less than half an hour in duration. Since they are intense, it’s important to round them out with an appropriate warm-up and recovery, as well as some strength and mobility work most days.
Using a treadmill for your warm-up, provides a lower impact option that is often more convenient than running outside. Use your warm-up to concentrate on your form by engaging your core and releasing tension from your upper body … good practice to increase your efficiency and reduce your risk of injury later in the workout.
The treadmill also provides a convenient way to cool down with some light jogging or walking at the end of your workout. Because you can concentrate on your recovery rather than covering a set route or pace, you can pace your cool-down according to your needs on that day.
Many circuit training style workouts incorporate runs for short distances of a mile or less. Without a properly measured running track and immediate access to your running route, you’ll lose time and accuracy in judging your performance in these workouts. The console of most treadmills provides immediate feedback on the distance covered and your pace, allowing you to accurately gauge your performance on your daily workout, as well as to respond to that feedback in increasing or decreasing your pace and effort level.
It’s easy to get excited about the strength training and skills involved in circuit workouts, often to the deficit of cardiovascular performance. You can use a treadmill on active recovery days to build cardiovascular and muscular endurance that will carry you through endurance workouts. The integrated heart rate feedback provides the option to maintain training in an aerobic training zone to ensure that you focus on recovery and avoid overtraining. The cushioned running track also allows you to reduce the risk of impact injuries compared to running on pavement and trails.
If you’re ready to get started, be sure to choose the right treadmill. For running workouts, you’ll want to choose a treadmill that can stand up to the task, especially if you’re a larger runner. The Horizon Fitness Elite T9 offers a powerful 2.75 CHP motor and a larger than average running surface. If space is at a premium in your home gym, this treadmill also folds out of the way, giving you more room for burpees and kettlebell swings. The infinity belt provides a lower maintenance option that will keep your treadmill running smooth without the need for lube for 21,000 miles.
Here’s a sample workout that includes strength, cardio, and mobility. The fast pace of the circuits makes the treadmill an efficient tool to ensure that you don’t lose time between laps.
The Ultimate Workout with Treadmill
- Easy jog for 800 meters. Concentrate on relaxing the upper body, engaging the core, and working at a comfortable pace.
- Foam roll calves, quads, and hamstrings.
- Stretch in pigeon and down dog for 1 minute each (each side for pigeon).
- 25 medicine ball thrusters (you can substitute these for the wall-balls in the workout as well), choice of weight at 75% perceived effort.
- Back Squats to below parallel depth. 3 rounds of ten at 60% of personal max. Using a Dynamax ball as a target to squat to, bring your butt lower than your knees for each repetition. If scaling, these can also be completed without weight or holding a kettle bell in front of your chest to allow you to concentrate on depth and maintaining an upright position.
Ten minutes, as many rounds as possible of the following…
- 2 reps shoulder to overhead using dumbbells.
- Run 400 meters.
- 10 wall balls (may substitute Dynamax ball thrusters).
- 20 calorie row.
- Walk at on the treadmill at a slow pace for five minutes.
- Stretch quads, hamstrings, calves, and shoulders.
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.