Looking for a quick, efficient treadmill workout that burns fat? Self Magazine has you covered, and then some.
There are few pieces of gym equipment more versatile and effective than a treadmill. Only problem? Most of us don't exactly love hopping onto one. That's where David Siik, celebrity trainer and super instructor, comes in.
Siik is THE treadmill master. He's the author of the new book, The Ultimate Treadmill Workout: Run Right, Hurt Less, and Burn More with Treadmill Interval Training, and creator of Equinox's Precision Running class.
The elite runner reveals his top must-know tips for burning more fat, maintaining proper form, and yes, actually enjoying your treadmill workouts. He also put together a 9.5-minute treadmill interval workout (pin and print the chart below!).
Who run the world? You.
- Focus on your arm swings. The way you swing your arms matters. A lot. With the right swing, you'll maintain good form. With the wrong one, you'll risk injury and expend extra energy for nothing. "Interval training on a treadmill with a strong straight front-to-back arm swing (rather than swinging arms side to side across the centerline) stabilizes your hips, preventing long-term injury," Siik tells SELF. But even better than that, it ensures that you're engaging the muscles of both your upper and lower body. "It turns your tread workout into a mini arm workout while elevating your fat burn."
Don't let the belt do the work for you.
Resist the urge to crank up the speed and then step onto the treadmill and run for your life. "Naturally accelerating on the treadmill as it speeds up is safer, more natural, and is obviously more work for you, which over time adds up to a much bigger fat burn," explains Siik. The more effort you put in, the more benefit you get out of your run. Try shutting off the machine and attempting a minute of "deadmill runs" (where you use your body weight alone to propel the belt and break into a jog) and you'll see what he means.
Save the weights for later.
Siik says bringing hand weights on the treadmill isn't your best bet. "You'll be able to run faster, stronger, and with more dedication without weights — and that will actually result in a higher fat burn." Think of it like this: a treadmill workout should leave you out of breath, so if you feel compelled to use props, you might not be working hard enough.
Vary the incline to build strength.
Running on an incline is a great workout, but it shouldn't be your only workout. "Even though an incline can reduce pressure on your knees, if you only train on it, you'll loose the stability around your knees to handle the declines in your life that happen off the tread," explains Siik. "Balancing some incline with no incline in a workout will make you stronger and able to do more work in the long-term."
Focus on work, not mileage.
"Save the mileage for the great outdoors — that is the opposite of what the treadmill is best designed for," says Siik. "A treadmill allows you to do more work in less time because you can change the speed, incline, and duration of your run many times. Focus on the quality of the mileage you do, not the amount." This ensures you're really working yourself to the brink instead of just hitting a plateau while you clock in your goal distance.
Now put these tips into action with Siik's 10-minute treadmill interval workout:
Warm-Up: "Always start with a two to five-minute warm-up walk or jog and stretch," Siik says.
And here are some extra tips to help make sure you get the most out of this routine:
1. When running on the inclines, "keep a strong arm drive up the hill for healthy hip alignment and a bigger burn," Siik says.
2. Transition between the intervals of recovery and the intervals of effort smoothly. "Start speeding up 10 seconds early to accelerate naturally into the quicker pace," he explains.
3. And don't forget to cool-down. "Finish with a two to three minute cool-down walk and a long, dynamic stretch."
More From Self:
- Exercises That'll Change Your Butt and Life
- 7 Carbs That Can Help You Lose Weight
- Women Share Their Tips For Losing Weight and Getting Stronger