Walkers Full-Body Treadmill Workout Guide

Cassie Shortsleeve
by Cassie Shortsleeve
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Walkers Full-Body Treadmill Workout Guide

With the rise of at-home workouts, the treadmill is hip again. While walking is a solid form of cardiovascular exercise to improve your physical and mental health, if all you do is the same ol’ workout, you’ll get—well—the same ol’ results.

A regular walking routine is great cardiovascular exercise and a way to improve your physical and mental health. More than 53 million people own treadmills, and the number is rising thanks to the popularity of at-home workouts. There’s a lot you can do with a treadmill, and it doesn’t have to be boring.

Incorporating full-body exercises into your walks not only boosts the benefits (Think: building strength, avoiding injuries, increasing stamina and speed), but also helps you have more fun, says Amanda Nurse, an elite runner and coach based in Boston.

While it’s important to include other tools (such as free weights and resistance bands) in your overall exercise plan to fully challenge every muscle group, you can get a quality workout using only a treadmill and a little creativity, says Janet Hamilton, certified strength and conditioning specialist and run coach based in Atlanta.

For starters, try this 40-minute treadmill routine designed by Nurse, who regularly trains athletes of all levels. While you can do this at a walking pace, you can also choose to progress the intensity by working up to a jog or run. “This plan is designed to work all parts of your body, find your legs when you’re tired, feel full-body fatigue to help stimulate end-of-race feel and improve your cadence and form,” says Nurse. Short blasts of cardio mixed with strength-training allow you to push harder at paces you wouldn’t usually be able to hit with longer endurance workouts. It also adds variety to keep your body and mind engaged.

Be prepared for a mix of exercises with an element of explosiveness to increase speed, single-leg exercises to activate and power up leg muscles, and holds like planks to build stability and muscle.

Walkers Full-Body Treadmill Workout Guide

Warmup: For floor exercises, dumbbells are optional.

Round 1: Beside the treadmill, complete each exercise for 30 seconds. Repeat for 2 sets of 3 minutes total.

  • Bodyweight squats
  • Butt kicks
  • High knees

Round 2: Complete each exercise for 30 seconds. Finish 1 set for 90 seconds total.

  • Jumping jacks
  • Skip jogs
  • Table tops

Next, hop on the treadmill and progress from walking to jogging (or your best pace) for 5 minutes total.

Treadmill Set 1: Progression Workout on Flat Road, Incline 1.0.

  • 1 minute warm up
  • 1 minute RPE 4
  • 1 minute RPE 5
  • 1 minute RPE 6
  • 1 minute cool down RPE 3

Floor Set 1 

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds. Repeat for 3 sets total.

  • Squat to shoulder press (5–8-pound weights optional)
  • Plank with shoulder taps
  • Jump lunges

Treadmill Set 2: Hill Climb 

  • 1 minute warm up at RPE 3, incline 1.0
  • 1 minute RPE 5, incline 2.0
  • 1 minute RPE 5, incline 3.0
  • 1 minute RPE 5, incline 4.0
  • 1 minute cool down RPE 3, incline 1.0

Repeat Floor Set 1

Repeat Treadmill Set 1

Floor Set 2

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds. Repeat for 3 sets total.

  • Tricep dips
  • Foot fires
  • Burpees

Repeat Treadmill Set 2

Repeat Floor Set 2 

Treadmill Set 3: Progression Workout on Flat Road, Incline 1.0

  • 1 minute warm up RPE 3
  • Complete 6 sets of 30-second hard efforts at RPE 8 followed by 30 seconds at RPE 4
  • 1 minute cool down RPE 3

Floor Set 3

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds.

  • Side lunges with row
  • Plank
  • Side plank (30 seconds per side)

Cool down with stretches of your choice

THE EXERCISES

Bodyweight squatsPlace your feet about shoulder-width apart and roll your shoulders back and down. Breathe in, send your hips backward, and bend your knees into a squatting position while keeping your chest and shoulders upright and your back straight. Breathe out as you push back up from your heels.

Butt kicksJog in place while kicking toward your butt with your heels.

High Knees

High kneesJog in place while lifting your knees to a 90-degree angle with the floor.

Jumping jacks: Stand up straight and jump while fanning arms and legs out, then jump back into your starting position.

Skip jogs: Standing in place, spring off one foot while your other knee drives up and your arms swing. Then, switch to your other foot.

Table tops: Get on your hands and knees with your back parallel to the ground. Extend your right hand forward and your left foot back like a tabletop, then return to your starting position. Repeat with your left hand and right foot.

Squat to shoulder pressBend your arms to hold your dumbbells just above your shoulders. Lower into a squat. As you push back up, extend your arms and then lower them back down into your starting position.

Plank with shoulder taps: Get in a plank position with your hands on the ground. Lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder while keeping your body as straight as possible, then return to your starting position. Repeat with your left hand and right shoulder.

Jump lungesStand upright, step forward with your right foot, and bend both your right and left knees to 90-degree angles. Spring up and switch legs in midair, then repeat.

Tricep dips: Lean back onto the treadmill with your hands on the handlebars or side of the treadmill and lower yourself down toward the floor by bending your arms. Lift yourself back up and repeat the movement.

Foot fires: Stand beside the treadmill and quickly tap the top of it with your feet one at a time (like soccer ball taps).

BurpeesGet into a plank position on the ground and complete a pushup. Jump your feet forward underneath your body into a squat position, press your feet to the floor and engage your glutes to jump (or stand) upward while driving your arms up. Squat back down to the floor and jump (or step) back into a plank position.

Side lunges with row: Stand upright, holding dumbbells in your hands. Lunge to your right, lift the dumbbells to your chest and lower them. Then, return to your starting position. Repeat on your left side.

Plank

PlankGet on your elbows with your wrists on the ground, extend your legs back to balance on your toes, and push yourself into a position parallel to the ground with your shoulders engaged, abs clenched, and your back straight.

Side plankLie on your side with your legs straight and shoulders and hips stacked. Prop yourself up on one elbow and the side of your foot, making sure not to let your hip sink.

To become more active, try setting a simple goal to increase (and track) your daily steps. Go to “Plans” in the MyFitnessPal app and choose a 28-day step plan to learn tips to boost your activity.

About the Author

Cassie Shortsleeve
Cassie Shortsleeve

Cassie Shortsleeve is a Boston-based freelance writer and editor. She has worked on staff at both Shape and Men’s Health and contributes regularly to a slew of national print and digital publications such as Women’s Health, Condé Nast Traveler, and Furthermore for Equinox. With a degree in English and creative writing from the College of the Holy Cross, she has a passion for reporting on all things health, lifestyle, and travel.

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