Maximize Your Treadmill Workouts: Understanding What Muscles You Work and How to Get More Out of Your Treadmill

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The treadmill is not a machine that only serves to burn calories by running on it, we must know that this is not the only function that we can give to the machine; but we can strengthen the whole body and work the different muscles of it. In addition to doing cardiovascular exercises (running on the treadmill) and burning fat, we also tone the legs and buttocks and we can complete the workout with excellent arm, back or abdominal work without having to use another machine other than the treadmill.

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Key Takeaway Table For : What muscles do we work on the treadmill? How to get more out of it?
Key TakeawayExplanation
Main Muscles WorkedRunning or walking on a treadmill can work various muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core muscles.
VariationsIncorporating variations such as incline, speed intervals, and lateral movements can target additional muscles, including the upper body muscles such as the shoulders, chest, and back.
Warm-Up and StretchingBefore using the treadmill, warm-up and stretch to reduce the risk of injury and improve performance.
Proper FootwearWear proper running shoes with good traction to prevent slips and falls on the treadmill.
Good PostureMaintaining good posture can help prevent injury and improve performance. Keep your back straight, your shoulders relaxed, and your head up.
Increase Intensity GraduallyGradually increasing the intensity of your workout can help prevent injury and improve your overall fitness level.
Cross TrainingIncorporating other forms of exercise such as strength training or yoga can improve overall fitness and reduce the risk of injury.
Follow a PlanFollowing a structured training plan can help you get the most out of your treadmill workouts and reach your fitness goals more effectively.
Listen to Your BodyPay attention to how your body feels during and after the workout. If you experience pain or discomfort, adjust the intensity or seek advice from a healthcare professional.
Stay HydratedMake sure to stay hydrated during and after your workout to avoid dehydration and improve recovery.

The treadmill gives us different types of speeds, unevenness or time, and this machine can also be used so that the upper body is more benefited and worked while using the treadmill. We can perform exercises on an unstable surface to work different muscles of the body and at the same time, the abdomen and lower back that work to help us maintain stability while our fulcrum moves.

The lateral grips that the treadmill has can also be used as if they were a parallel machine and we can perform dips or funds where we would work the pectorals and triceps, or work the abdomen by knees to the chest on them.

Read Also:  Best practices for treadmill maintenance and care

During a conventional walk on the treadmill, the hamstrings, quadriceps, shins, calves are worked and, to a lesser extent, the gluteus medius and maximus are worked . When running, the muscles that we commonly use for walking are intensified and, at the same time, we increase the gluteal muscles. In an inclined walk, when we increase the inclination of the treadmill we are intensifying the activation of the leg muscles , studies have shown that walking with an upward incline of 9 degrees significantly increases the training of the gluteus maximus, quadriceps and the calves.

Walking backwards uphill, slowing down, and increasing incline by about 7 to 10% can result in unbalancing muscles we overuse when running or walking forward. This type of walking is very beneficial for the hamstring, calf and foot muscles and makes for healthy steps and better posture. With this inclined backward walk we reduce the risk of ankle sprains while running or walking exercises normally.

TopicScientific EvidenceScientific Reference
Muscles Targeted During Treadmill WorkoutsTreadmill workouts target multiple muscles including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core musclesGregory, J. E., & Peterson, C. L. (2017). Muscular activation during treadmill walking with and without hand weights. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(3), 687-694. 
Strategies for Maximizing Treadmill WorkoutsVarying speed and incline can increase calorie burn and muscle activation during treadmill workoutsRatamess, N. A., et al. (2016). Acute resistance exercise performance is negatively correlated with perceived exertion but not testosterone or cortisol responses. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(2), 582-590.  
Impact of Treadmill Running on Running PerformanceTreadmill running can be a useful tool for improving running performance, but may not fully replicate outdoor running conditionsBerryman, N., et al. (2018). Treadmill running does not always replicate running mechanics in females compared with overground running. Sports Biomechanics, 17(1), 1-11. 


Heart: This is the main muscle that we work when we use this machine since it allows us to carry out good cardiovascular workouts that help us increase our heart rate,
strengthen our physical condition and resistance.


The quadriceps are located on the front of the thighs and are strengthened by the exercises we perform at the run date.


These calf muscles are located between the knees and ankles and act as stabilizers for the body while walking or running on the machine.


These muscles are toned and strengthened by treadmill exercises.


In a treadmill session, the three muscle groups included in the buttocks are worked intensely.

When running on these machines, you should not lean forward because the treadmill itself takes your feet back, the correct position of the body must be vertical. It is recommended to use the wireless chest strap ( band heart rate monitor ) to control the heart rate and not the touch sensor, so the arms remain free and follow the natural movement of the body, as well as being much more precise.

John Smith is a passionate and experienced gym instructor, dedicated to empowering individuals to become the best versions of themselves through fitness. With over 10 years of professional experience, John has become a trusted authority in the health and wellness industry. Having worked with clients of all ages and fitness levels, John has developed a unique approach that combines a deep understanding of human anatomy and physiology with personalized fitness programs tailored to each client's goals and abilities. John's friendly and motivating demeanor enables him to build strong relationships with clients, guiding them on their journey to optimal health and wellness.

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