7 Treadmill Hacks to Keep Your Workout Interesting

These treadmill techniques are trainer-approved.

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The treadmill may be your go-to machine at the gym, but let’s be honest: It’s not always the most exciting. Cueing up your favorite cardio music or tuning into a must-listen podcast can certainly help, but there are other ways to shake up your routine you’re probably not trying.

To make the treadmill more interesting (and, more importantly, more challenging), certified trainer Robert Warren of Crunch Fitness in New York City suggests these variations.

  1. Treadmill hack: Weighted walking lunges
    Grab some weights and take forward lunges while the treadmill is set on a low speed (0.5-1.0 mph).

  2. Treadmill hack: Backward hill climb (with bicep curl)
    On a lower speed and a high incline, walk on the treadmill backward. To make this even more challenging, grab a pair of dumbbells and do the backward hill climb while performing bicep curls.

  3. Treadmill hack: Side shuffle
    Instead of running forward, face sideways on the treadmill belt and do a standard side shuffle.

  4. Treadmill hack: High-knee skip
    Skip instead of jog, and lift your knees as high as possible toward your chest. Pump your arms to drive the momentum of your legs.

  5. Treadmill hack: Walking plank
    With the treadmill set to 0.5-1.0 mph, get in plank position with your feet on the ground behind the treadmill and your hands directly on the treadmill belt. Use your hands to “walk” on the treadmill belt. Engage your core muscles and keep the rest of your body still and square to the floor.

  6. Treadmill hack: Mountain climbers
    Turn off the treadmill. Put your hands on the treadmill belt and your feet on the floor behind the treadmill, in the same position as the walking plank. Alternate bringing your legs to your chest, as if climbing. Keep the rest of the body engaged in a high plank position.

  7. Treadmill hack: Plank push
    With the treadmill off, stand in a high plank position with your feet on the floor behind the treadmill and your hands directly on the treadmill belt. Use your hands to push the belt forward, in the opposite direction that it usually runs. This is nearly the same as the walking plank in #5, but you are pushing the belt in the opposite direction, so it utilizes a different set of muscles in your arm.

Next time you find yourself getting bored on the treadmill, try one of these variations to spice things up and keep your workout more challenging than a mindless run.

P.S. If you’re really into cardio but want a break from the treadmill, you’ll want to try this 9-minute cardio routine that you can do almost anywhere (no treadmill needed!).