Treadmills are popular not just in your local fitness center but even in households that have decided to invest in their home gym. Compared to other fitness equipment, a treadmill doesn’t look as intimidating, making it a favorite of not just beginners but even advanced fitness enthusiasts.
But have you ever wondered what muscles does treadmill work? In reality, it is more than just your legs. In this article, we’ll discuss muscles used on the treadmill while you jog, sprint, or when walking.
So, you’re wondering what muscles does treadmill work? The answer is the quads, calves, glutes, hamstrings, and even your core. Muscles used on a treadmill differ depending on your pace and your settings.
Overview of the muscles involved in treadmill exercise
1. Lower Body Muscles
So what part of the body does the treadmill work? Lower body muscles will be at the top of our list.
Lower body muscles involved during treadmill workouts include quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Quadriceps come in handy during the push phase of each stride while hamstrings act as your stabilizer and provide the force during the swing phase.
Glutes consist of the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. These are used to get the body to propel forward and stabilize the hips. Lastly, you have calves. These are the ones responsible for propulsion during the push-off phase of running.
If you’re wondering what muscles does incline treadmill work, this makes it challenging for the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and even your ankles. However, it is interesting to take a closer look at the gluteus muscles when using the incline on your treadmill. It was discovered that you need a particular angle if you wish to target your gluteus medius.
For those who are looking to strengthen their gluteus medius, the best inclination angle that increases muscle activity is at 5 degrees. In the same study, it was discovered that the gluteus medius muscle activity drops at 10 degrees. For those who don’t have an idea what the gluteus medius muscle does, it plays an important role in preventing the opposite side of your pelvis from dropping.
But does running on the road have a similar effect when you run on a treadmill? It was discovered that muscle activity on a treadmill is significantly lower compared to overground running. This means that those with injuries or those who want to take it easy for the day can hop on their treadmill and still do their cardio.
2. Core Muscles
Another group of muscles that becomes involved when you run on a treadmill is your core muscles. Core muscles are responsible for keeping your posture and balance.
Your abdominals include the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis responsible for keeping your body stable and upright while running or walking on the treadmill. In addition to this, it also activates the erector spinae muscles that help in the stability of the spine preventing excessive backward bending.
Of course, let’s not forget the heart. Among all the muscles used on the treadmill, this one can help prolong your life.
The heart benefits from cardiovascular activities in many ways. It is widely accepted by medical professionals that regular cardiovascular workouts can help lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
Regular exercise on the treadmill can strengthen the heart, improving not just its efficiency but also its endurance. If you train consistently, the heart becomes stronger and more capable in terms of pumping blood and delivering oxygen to your muscles during the activity.
However, if you're only starting, it might be a good idea if you don't go straight to high-intensity exercises. Instead, try to build from slow to moderate before transitioning to intense workouts depending on how your body is going to adapt to the exercise.
4. Additional Muscles Engaged During Intense Workouts
So what does the treadmill work on? If you perform intense treadmill workouts, you can expect all the muscles we have mentioned and more.
For high-intensity treadmill workouts, it’s common for other muscles to also become involved for additional stability.
For your upper body, you have the core and other stabilizers keeping you upright. For the lower body, stabilizers on your knees, hips, and ankles work extra to keep your balance.
The Best Treadmill We Would Recommend
The City L6 is a great choice if you're looking for a treadmill that fits in your spare room at home. It comes with lots of exciting workouts, plus, you also get a 30-day iFit Trial where you can stream classes helping you stay motivated in your workout.
It comes with a speed of 0-8 mph and a powerful 1.6 CHP2 motor that can support users up to 250 pounds. And once you’re done with your workout, you can simply fold it and store it underneath your bed or in small spaces.
photo by @colgansports
Does using the treadmill build muscle?
Does the treadmill work your abs?
Treadmill workouts offer a variety of benefits to the body. Not only does it help you burn calories if you're looking to lose weight, it can also help work various muscle groups from your legs to your core.
In addition to this, a lot of treadmills today can be adjusted in different ways from their speed to their incline matching what you want to achieve during your workouts.
What does your treadmill workout look like? Let us know in the comment section below!
- Comparison of the activity of the gluteus medius according to the angles of inclination of a treadmill with vertical load // PubMed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24648642/
- Muscular Activity of Lower Extremity Muscles // ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264129099
- Effect of aerobic exercise on blood pressure // PubMed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11926784/
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