How to properly exercise on a treadmill - instructions for beginners

It's more than just running in place.

When you first visit the gym, the treadmill may seem like the safest place to be: you don't have to share it with others or return it to its place, like returning dumbbells or a barbell. Additionally, it is very difficult to misuse a treadmill, unlike suspension or cable trainers.

However, once you decide to start the seemingly most basic exercise - running in place - using a treadmill, you may well find that using this machine is not as easy as you expected. Modern treadmills are equipped with a ton of dials and buttons that let you customize your workout program. Therefore, by simply clicking the "quick start" button, you risk missing out on a whole world of opportunities that can make your workout even more effective.

Moreover, using only one program, you may become bored. It doesn't matter how interesting the podcast you listen to while you're on the treadmill is. It's no secret that running in place is a fairly monotonous activity, and if you use the same program every time, it becomes doubly boring.

Want to add some variety to your treadmill workouts and make them more dynamic? Well, it's time to get acquainted with all these buttons.

What tinctures should be made before classes?

The main settings of the treadmill are the speed of the belt and its inclination angle. Beginners should start at a moderate speed that mimics the speed of running or walking in everyday life. A little advice - for walking or running, set the incline angle to at least 1.5%. Working out on a flat, non-sloping surface means the machine will do all the work for you. Since the belt moves on its own, with a 0% incline, your muscles are practically not used - you are literally just putting your foot down and lifting it up again, rather than having to force yourself forward like you would on the street. At the same time, by setting the incline to 1.5%, you will force your muscles to tense up much more, and thereby make your workout much more effective.

“Set the blade angle to at least 1.5%.”

Methods for adjusting the inclination of the running belt

The functionality of the simulator increases if it is possible to change the inclination of the running belt. There are two changing methods: mechanical and electronic.

Mechanical setting

Mechanical adjustment occurs thanks to the footrest at the rear of the treadmill. 2-3 levels of footrest height allow you to manipulate the back of the canvas to create a tilt. Such tracks have a simple and lightweight design, are less susceptible to breakdown due to the lack of a special motor, and are cheaper in price. The disadvantages include:

  • low rise (no more than 10%);
  • folding the simulator to change the angle of inclination, which is inconvenient during exercise;
  • To fold the track, you need to move the canvas to the base position.

Electronic tuning

Modern exercise machines have electronic adjustment and an electric motor for this. This option complicates the design and increases the cost of the treadmill.

Increased slope gives:

  • transferring the load to the legs and buttock muscles;
  • increased energy consumption;
  • reducing training time to burn the required number of calories;
  • increased load when combining speed and inclination angle;
  • variety and endurance training.

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It is important to understand that it is wrong to immediately set the incline to 30% for jogging. It takes gradualism to get used to it and not get injured.

Which preset workout programs are best for a beginner?

Treadmill training programs are very diverse and vary from machine to machine. Distance training tends to be the most popular, as many people strive to achieve a specific goal, be it a 5K or a marathon. Interval running and incline running are also some of the most common workouts.

It is worth noting that running at a given speed and at the same pace is extremely good; it is especially suitable for those who want to run a given distance in a certain time. At the same time, sprint intervals are good for those who want to train at high intensity or increase their speed. One of the benefits of running this way is the development of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which will improve your ability to perform power movements.

Running on an incline will increase the strength of certain parts of the body and also improve overall muscular endurance. During such a run, almost all the muscles of your back body (muscles of the legs, buttocks, back and shoulders) are involved in the work.

When should you use a heart rate monitor?

Heart rate sensors and panels are very useful for tracking your heart rate at the beginning and end of a workout. While moving, it is best to measure your heart rate by attaching the sensor to your chest, wrist or forearm.

Be sure to monitor your heart rate every workout because getting into the correct heart rate zone ensures that your body is performing at your target. For example, if your goal is to increase your endurance, then your heart rate should be approximately 70-80% of your maximum value. It is this range of heart rate that will develop your ability to effectively supply oxygen to muscle tissue and rid it of carbon dioxide.

Are there ways to make your workout less boring?

Setting a goal and tracking your workout is a great way to combat boredom. For example, by connecting your tablet or phone to the treadmill, you can use the dedicated app to track all your workout data in real time and browse the web at the same time. This way of getting distracted will be very helpful for a beginner. And although connecting and setting up will take a few minutes of your time, it will take you a couple more steps closer to your goal.

Setting a clear goal is another way to prevent yourself from getting bored. Often, people who use the “quick start” option do not last even a couple of workouts on the treadmill. Even the simplest goal, such as running a race in a certain time or running a certain distance, will force you to focus on achieving the result. And by creating your own training plan, you are sure to become a winner.

How is running on a machine different from running outside?

The physical fitness requirements for indoor running are often lower than for outdoor running. This is because the treadmill can run continuously, at a set pace, and without changing the speed or incline. Also, treadmills simply physically cannot change the direction of your movement, and this will reduce the risk of injury. In addition, running on a machine requires less energy from you. However, these benefits may come at a disadvantage because when you run on a machine, your body gets into a rhythm and relaxes because you don't have to overcome the natural obstacles you encounter when running outdoors.

Are there any treadmill etiquette rules that must be followed?

Certainly! First, if you sound like a herd of elephants while running on the treadmill, it can most often be explained by poor running technique. Running or stomping too loudly could also mean your machine has the wrong incline. No matter your weight, height or fitness level, technique can always be improved, just try to make your movements more efficient and your steps softer.

Secondly, keep your equipment clean. Nobody wants to run on surfaces that are slippery with sweat. Always wipe down the handles, display and belt after use.

How to care for your treadmill

To ensure that the simulator is always in working, good condition, it must be properly cared for. The canvas must be kept clean. Dust and dirt should not accumulate on it. Also, before training, it is recommended to periodically tighten it and lubricate the treadmill mechanism.

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During training, the cardio machine must be installed on a level place so that there are no distortions on the surface. To prevent corrosion, after training, you must constantly remove your sweat from the surface of the exercise machine with a dry cloth. At least once a week you need to wipe the surface of the display and handles of the simulator with a damp cloth. When cleaning the machine, do not use cleaning agents or detergents.

The treadmill should not be stored in a cold room or garage. Also, such exercise equipment should not be stored on poorly insulated balconies. This is due to the fact that with sudden changes in air temperature, condensation forms on the surface of electronic equipment, which can damage it. When storing the exercise machine in a cold, unheated or poorly insulated room, it is recommended to pack it securely and tightly.

Three Tips to Avoid Embarrassing Treadmill Injuries

After all, there is nothing more depressing to self-esteem than falling from the exercise machine.

The treadmill is perhaps the best exercise machine for weight loss. Most often, people get acquainted with this miracle machine in the autumn-winter period, when the length of daylight and weather conditions do not allow jogging in the open air and people do fitness at home or in gyms.

But cardio workouts on the warm, dry, high-speed treadmill can sometimes pose a risk of injury. Due to the unnatural narrow position of the body, exercisers may experience tension in the thigh muscles responsible for flexion/extension of the legs, as well as pain in the heel tendons and shins.

So, before you press the "Start" button on your treadmill, remember these simple tips that will help you avoid awkward falls and nasty injuries.

1. Choose the mode difficulty correctly

You've probably seen those guys in the gym who increase the speed of the treadmill belt and try to keep up with it, moving faster and faster, while their stomping echoes throughout the room. They don't look like they're having fun. If anything, their hips, knees and hamstrings certainly aren't having any fun: running like this can lead to a lot of pain in these areas because your stride lengthens and your feet land much further than your body would be comfortable with. Don't be like those guys. Focus on maintaining proper, natural strides, or even reduce the pace of the track to a comfortable level where you won't overexert yourself.

Don't practice on autopilot

The treadmill belt is a flat, even surface with a uniform coating (unless you dump a bag of gravel on it, of course). A treadmill is the exact opposite of uneven, winding or hilly streets and paths, which require your body to work harder against natural obstacles when running. Unfortunately, this monotony comes with a risk of injury, since maintaining the same speed constantly stresses the same muscle groups. You can avoid this by periodically changing the speed and nature of your workout. Don't run at the same pace all the time, but try to set an interval of movement of the belt, at which the speed will first increase slightly and then decrease again. Slowing down your running speed will help your muscles rest and recover.

Resist the urge to end your workout early

Most treadmill injuries are caused by poor running technique. You can save a lot of money on a trip to the hospital by learning what movements you may be doing incorrectly. Yes, running on a machine is not the most fun activity, but don't let boredom overcome you - just keep doing it and soon you will learn how to do it right and how to do it wrong. After all, practice is the path to perfection.

So how can you overcome boredom and not leave the path ahead of time? First of all, remember to change your workout periodically, as mentioned above. You can also invite a friend along for some much-needed stimulation, plus there's now a competitive element to your workout. Among other things, you can entertain yourself by listening to music while working out on the treadmill. Studies have shown that listening to music during exercise reduces feelings of fatigue and increases satisfaction from exercise.

The advantage of treadmills

When making a choice, it is necessary to pay attention to the facts, since unsupported arguments can lead to an incorrect interpretation of reality. Therefore, in order for your idea of ​​treadmills to be objective, we suggest considering the main advantages:

  • Jogging anytime. You can train regardless of weather conditions and time of day.
  • Safety. The paths have a safe surface that is as smooth as in a stadium. Therefore, the chance of injury is extremely low.
  • Load variability. By exercising on a treadmill, you can increase your speed using special modes. On the one hand, nothing prevents you from increasing your pace when running outside. The difference lies in the “forced” pace, since the machine will not reduce the speed when the athlete gets tired.
  • Changing the angle of inclination. Most treadmills have an incline feature that allows you to simulate running uphill.
  • Functional data counting. More advanced tracks are capable of counting heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Tempo indicator. Changes in tempo can be observed by looking at the monitor. It will show your speed, pace per kilometer and total running time.
  • Functional tests. Functional testing can be performed using a running machine. Typically, such tests are carried out in laboratory conditions with special equipment. The simulator eliminates the need for researchers to run after an athlete around the stadium.
  • Gradual transition to walking. It is physiologically correct to complete cardio exercises by gradually reducing the pace. Unfortunately, the recommendation is not always followed. The treadmill will not allow you to break this rule, since the program provides for a slow decrease in pace. The only way to violate this recommendation is to jump off the path (I don’t recommend it).

Nothing is perfect, and a treadmill is no exception. Therefore, the disadvantages include three points:

  1. Lack of fresh air. If a climate control system is installed in the gym or at home, then the air is cool, but not fresh.
  2. No natural obstacles. Despite the safety of the track, from the point of view of the chance of injury, such a run can hardly be called interesting. Still, obstacles complement the runs.
  3. The monotony of the landscape. No matter how much you run along the automatic track, you will remain in one place. The incorrigible disadvantage of the simulator is the change of scenery.

Quantitatively, the pros outweigh the cons. But only one point can be the deciding factor.

Treadmill training programs

Add some variety to your indoor running program with one of these workout routines.

Some people absolutely love treadmills and choose this machine for exercise. Others, on the contrary, hate these cardio machines with all their hearts and try to avoid them. Luckily, for those treadmill enthusiasts, we've got seven new ways to make the most of your time on this cool machine. Plus, we'll tell you about four fun workout programs you can use to add variety to your routine. In turn, treadmill haters will also find a lot of useful information in this article: we will talk about a variety of treadmill workouts that will burn a lot of calories in less than 20 minutes.

Interval training for beginners

A simple but effective interval training is a workout in which sets are performed at different speed intervals. Such training implies that after each subsequent “effort” you will return to your starting speed and rest for some time. A suitable base speed for a beginner is 5 km/h. However, you can freely adjust the starting speed to suit your fitness level or how you feel, as long as you feel comfortable. You'll eventually need to run 10 km/h faster than this baseline, so make sure you can maintain your maximum pace for at least one minute. Don’t worry, since the load on the body will not increase immediately, but gradually, you will be fully prepared for such an “epic” denouement.

First, drive at your base speed for one minute, then increase your speed by 1 km/h. Maintain this speed for another minute and then return to the starting point. For your next “effort”, increase the speed by 2 km/h, and after a minute, return to the base speed for 60 seconds and again increase the speed by 3 km/h for the next push. Continue this pattern for 20 minutes, gradually increasing the pace with each new burst.

10-Minute Treadmill Workout Programs

You should definitely try one of these interval workouts put together by strength and conditioning coach Jamie Lloyd. The peculiarity of these workouts is that they mix the speed of the machine belt and its inclination. If these programs seem too easy to you, then combine two of them into one 20-minute workout.

Before you start running, be sure to warm up your ligaments and muscles by doing a couple of dynamic stretches and an easy five-minute jog. You don't want to injure yourself, right?

To set the desired speed and incline, simply follow the instructions provided in the training program. Usually the speed on treadmills is measured in km/h and the incline is set in %, so just set the required values ​​​​on the control panel of the machine. Or, if you're already up to speed, adjust the speed to suit your fitness level.

Workout 1

For this workout, you need to set the incline angle to a constant 2%. Change the speed every minute, starting from 5 to 7.5 km/h, for 10 minutes.

Workout 2

Get ready, the inclination of the canvas in this workout is quite high. Start by running at 6 km/h on a 7% incline for 1 minute, then slow down to 5 km/h on a 1% incline for a minute and a half to recover. Repeat the cycle 4 times.

Workout 3

Tilt angle – 1%. Start at 8 km/h for 2 minutes 30 seconds, then slow down to 5.5 km/h for 2 minutes 30 seconds. Repeat for 10 minutes.

Workout 4

It's time to forget about tilt and focus on speed. Set the incline to 0% and run at a constant speed (14-18 km/h, depending on your ability) for 1 minute, then run for 1 minute 30 seconds at 6 km/h. Repeat these cycles 4 times. When trying to calculate your top speed, be extremely careful not to overdo it and fly off the back of the treadmill.

Workout 5

Having to change your treadmill settings every minute can be quite annoying, but at least it will take your mind off your aching feet.

0-1 min7 km/h, incline 2%
1-2:30 min5 km/h, incline 0.5%
2:30-3:30 min6.6 km/h, incline 3%
3:30-5 min5 km/h, incline 0.5%
5-6 min6.5 km/h, incline 4%
6-7:30 min5 km/h, incline 0.5%
7:30-8:30 min6 km/h, incline 5%
8:30-10 min5 km/h, incline 0.5%

Workout 6

In this workout, the incline gets steeper every minute, but fortunately the speed drops just as quickly.

1 min10 km/h, incline 1%
2 minutes9.5 km/h, incline 2%
3 min9 km/h, incline 3%
4 min8.5 km/h, incline 4%
5 minutes8 km/h, incline 5%
6 min7.5 km/h, incline 6%
7 min7 km/h, incline 7%
8 min6.5 km/h, incline 8%
9 min5.5 km/h, incline 9%
10 min5 km/h, incline 10%

Preset treadmill workout programs

Typically, treadmill programs offer the following types of workouts:


An interval program is a short, intense run or sprint followed by a short run at a slower pace during which your muscles rest and recover. These cycles can be repeated as many times as you like, but aim for at least 20 minutes of this workout. An interval running program is suitable for those people who engage in sports that require short bursts of energy, such as football, rugby, hockey, etc.

"The Hills"

This running program is very similar to an interval program because it also gives you a more intense workout, but instead of changing the speed of the belt, it changes the incline. If you run a lot outdoors, then the hill program will definitely appeal to you because it will help you cope better with running on hilly terrain, as well as improve your speed on flat ground.

Weight loss program

The name of this program speaks for itself. The weight loss program is designed to get your body into its optimal "fat burning zone," which is about 65% of your maximum heart rate. The trainer calculates this value based on your age and weight, so make sure you enter this data correctly, otherwise the workout may not be effective. Some machines may also ask you to wear a heart rate monitor.

Physical fitness test

The Fitness Test program does exactly what you think it will do - it measures your current fitness level. The treadmill gradually complicates this test, increasing either the speed of the belt, or its inclination angle, or both of these parameters at the same time. This program is worth completing once every month or two months to ensure that you are gradually improving your results.

Types of treadmills and their features

There are different types of treadmills and if you are not sure which treadmill to choose for home use, you need to first familiarize yourself with the features of all types of treadmills.

The basic elements of the simulator are a frame and a running surface . The frame serving as a support is made of steel or aluminum. Based on the principle of operation, treadmills are divided into:


Should you choose a manual treadmill for home use? The track surface rotates due to the action of the trainee’s legs; no power source is required; the design is lightweight.

The main disadvantages of this simulator are the lack of shock absorption, a small set of functions, and the movement of the belt in jerks. Diseases of the veins or joints exclude training on such tracks due to the lack of shock absorption. This type is the most affordable for home use.


When choosing a magnetic treadmill, consider the following points. The running belt is attracted by a system of magnets that control movement and braking, giving a smooth ride; no power source is needed.

Such tracks also have no depreciation; in terms of cost and functions they are practically no different from the first type.


Is it better to choose an electric treadmill for home use? The canvas of such simulators is moved by an electric motor controlled by a microcomputer. Through the display, the speed of movement, the inclination of the belt are adjusted, and the training program is set.

Electric treadmills offer good shock absorption, but they are large, heavy, and dependent on a power source. Two groups of electrical tracks are suitable for home use:

  • economy, with basic electronics and engine power up to 1.5 hp;
  • amateur ones with engine power up to 2 hp. and electronic control.


If your choice fell on folding treadmills for home use, you need to take into account that there are separate folding (compact) treadmills, which can be electrical or mechanical. The compact exercise machine is easy to store. Folding electric exercise machines retain all functions.


For the youngest athletes, there are children's treadmills for home use, which are small in size and have a bright appearance. They can be used by children from two years of age and use a simple control system.

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To decide which treadmill to choose for home use, evaluate your existing conditions and needs: for some, a compact mechanical exercise machine is suitable, for others, only an electric one with good shock absorption is suitable.

Training on mechanical tracks

Mechanical treadmills without a motor are gaining increasing popularity in the sports environment.

These machines can be used not only for high-intensity sprinting, but also for other workouts that improve your overall endurance level.

Using a mechanical treadmill is very simple: thanks to the design features, the closer you move to the beginning of the belt, the faster it will move, and accordingly, your running will also speed up. To reduce your speed, all you have to do is slow down your pace. This means you can literally adjust your speed on the fly, just like real outdoor running.

While it's incredibly easy to get started on a manual treadmill, working out on one can be very challenging. For example, Woodway manufacturers claim that running on their machines burns 30% more calories than running on conventional treadmills.

The advantage of this machine is that you can get a great workout in a short period of time. You can see this for yourself by trying one of the four training programs presented below. Each of these workouts is designed to develop different skills - speed, strength, endurance and agility. In addition, any of these workouts can be done even during your lunch break, because they will not take up much of your time.

To develop speed

Workout time: 15 minutes (including a 5-minute warm-up and a 2-minute cool-down with off- or low-resistance jogging).

Perform 4 sets of running at moderate speed with high resistance for 20 seconds, alternating with 4 sets of running with no resistance for 40 seconds.

To develop strength

Workout time: 15 minutes (including a 5-minute warm-up and a 2-minute cool-down with off- or low-resistance jogging).

Run at medium speed and with high resistance for 20 seconds, alternate with 40 seconds of jogging with no resistance. Repeat this pattern 8 times.

To develop endurance

Workout time: 17 minutes (including a 5-minute warm-up and a 2-minute cool-down with off- or low-resistance jogging).

Perform 4 sets of low-resistance jogging for 40 seconds and 4 sets of low-resistance jogging for 40 seconds, alternating between the two.

Recommendations for beginners

  1. The first and most important rule concerns safety: in order not to harm your health, be sure to consult your doctor before starting exercise. Not every beginner can independently calculate the load and choose the right intensity and duration of training. Meanwhile, this is a necessary condition for achieving results. If you have diseases of the musculoskeletal system, you need to start by walking at a slow pace, gradually increasing the load.
  2. Train only in special sports shoes. Don't underestimate this point: the shock-absorbing properties of good running shoes guarantee protection from injury and help maintain a healthy spine.
  3. Do not hold onto the handrails while exercising. Yes, it is convenient at high speeds. But they should only be used during warm-up. If you constantly maintain your balance using the handrails, your technique will deteriorate - your body will lean forward too much.
  4. Be sure to monitor your pulse. Starting from the age of twenty, maximum heart rate values ​​are calculated using the formula: 220 minus your age. At a heart rate of 70-85% of the maximum, active lung function and fat burning begin.
  5. Active movement causes the body to sweat and lose moisture intensively. To prevent dehydration and increased stress on your heart, be sure to drink water during your workout.
  6. Be sure to stretch and warm up before getting on the treadmill. This will prepare the muscles and protect the joints from injury. Start each session by walking at a slow pace. After training, you need to stretch all the muscles well - high-quality stretching will speed up the recovery process.
  7. Don't forget the safety key when using the treadmill - the red clip is connected to the control panel. It must be attached to clothing in such a way that it does not interfere during training.
  8. Remember that you cannot suddenly stop exercising. Even if you are very tired, do not stop immediately after an intense run or try to sit down or lie down. First you need to slow down and walk at a slow pace for a few minutes. Wait until your heart rate returns to normal before stopping movement completely.
  9. Don’t run if you’re tired, haven’t gotten enough sleep, or are sick—it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get results from such a workout, but it can easily harm your health. If you feel suddenly unwell during exercise, stop immediately. Dizziness, nausea, breathing problems, pain in joints, ligaments or spine should be a reason to consult a doctor.
  10. Stay motivated and determined to succeed. Sometimes it seems that cardio is tiring and boring. To create your mood during training, play your favorite tracks in headphones, watch videos from your tablet, listen to audio books. Invite your relatives or friends to work out together - time will fly by in a cheerful company, and you will be guaranteed a positive attitude. Sometimes, to stay motivated, it can even be helpful to change locations and look for a different gym.
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