Fitness / Running

How to Transform the Treadmill Into a Full-Body Workout

Take your treadmill workout to the next level with these tips.

Many people stick to a treadmill workout because it’s simple and familiar. Although working out on the treadmill is a great source of cardio, it leaves some of your muscles underutilized.

Luckily, you can still use your favorite piece of gym equipment while kicking your workout up a notch to get a full body treadmill workout. All you have to do is make a few tweaks to your usual routine.

“The treadmill is the most used piece of equipment in any gym and often is one of the first pieces of equipment someone would buy when building a home gym,” says personal trainer Dan Capizzuto. “However, most people only use it to walk or run, missing out on its true potential to be used as a full body workout. Walking or running is simply not enough to get the ideal body that most people want. Aside from diet and nutrition, exercises using many muscle groups will burn the most calories and help you feel, move, and look better.”

Using a treadmill for cardio is great, but using a treadmill for cardio and strength is even better. Aaptiv has treadmill workouts we’ve just released in the app. Check them out.

Here are five ways to transform your routine into a full body treadmill workout.

Hand-Walking Planks

This full body treadmill workout will work your abs, obliques, shoulders, and triceps. Start by facing forward in a plank position, with your hands on the belt and your feet either on the floor at the back of the machine or on the sides at the very edge. “Starting the treadmill belt at 0.5 mph and 0 percent incline, walk your hands forward while maintaining a plank position,” Capizzuto says. “Do this for approximately 20 seconds. If it is too easy, either do it for longer or make the speed faster. Increasing the speed will burn those shoulders much faster.”


Enhance your usual treadmill workout by engaging in some dips, which work your upper body. Stop the treadmill first, and put your hands at the side support bars. Lift your feet off the treadmill. Bend your knees, lower your body to the point where your feet almost touch the treadmill, and then return to starting position. “This targets the shoulders, chest, and triceps,” Capizzuto says.

Walking Backward

Switch it up to get a full body treadmill workout by simply facing the other way. “Face backward, and put the treadmill at an incline of at least 5 percent and a speed of 1.5 mph,” Capizzuto says. “Feel free to have your hands on the support bars, or walk freely. Increase the speed or incline to make it harder.” Walking backward helps target your quads.

Bent-Knee Lifts

Bent-knee lifts are another treadmill workout you can do facing backward but with the belt stopped. “Put your hands at the side support bars,” Capizzuto says. “Lift your feet up. Bring one knee up, and then alternate.” To make this harder, kick outward rather than downward. “This targets the abs as well as arms by holding yourself up,” he says.


To get your glutes and quads working, try doing crossovers. Place one foot at each end of the treadmill, and face one side. With the machine going, cross one leg over the other. “Doing this at an incline will add to the difficulty,” Capizzuto says. “Start around 1.5 mph, and increase speed and incline to make it harder. Do this for 20-30 seconds, and then flip around to the other side.”

If your treadmill workout typically involves just walking or running, you may want to add in some of these full body exercises for a complete routine.

Our treadmill workouts are led by top trainers so you won’t have to worry about it being boring. View the classes in the app by downloading it today.

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