A 10 Minute Non-Traditional Treadmill Workout

10 minute Workouts, 15 minute Workouts

If I absolutely had no choice but to run on a treadmill, which I have been forced to do before, I have a plan.

But there are some important things I would do before, rather than just jumping on cold.  They are:

1)  I would self massage using a foam roll and lacrosse ball on my feet thoroughly.

2)  I would work my corrective exercise and pre-hab

3)  I would mobilize the hell out of my joints to deliver nutrients.

4)  I would turn on (activate) on musculature that will be engaged in my running efforts.

5)  I would work through a series of dynamically oriented stretches.

6)  I would make sure my inexpensive heart rate monitor is properly placed around my torso and the watch is reading the signal clearly.

7)  I would begin at  a slow running pace focusing on arm swing, breathing and smooth strides.

8)  I would begin jogging on the treadmill, progressively increasing the speed of the treadmill until I reached about 80-85% of my max run speed (about 5 min), then I would step off and get ready for the following workout…


Heart Rate Based Treadmill Conditioning:


  • Set the treadmill at speed and incline that requires a full stride (7.5-9.5mph @ 2.0-8.0 incline)
  • I prefer increasing incline over speed.  Reason? Increased heart rate and forced knee drive and emphasis on arm mechanics.
  • Practice stepping off a couple of times, face plants are hurt and are embarrassing.
  • Get a heart rate monitor. I use the Polar FS1, the most simple/inexpensive model they make.
  • Stay tall when you sprint.  Core engaged and vertically tall.
  • “Cheek to cheek” on arm swing (butt cheek to face cheek).



*  Complete 8-15 rounds depending on your current conditioning & peri-workout fatigue level.

  • Sprint 30 seconds.
  • Step off and rest until your heart rate recovers to 130 bpm (beats per minute).
  • Sprint 30 seconds.
  • Step off and rest until your heart rate recovers to 130 bpm (beats per minute).
  • etc…

Why so much emphasis on heart rate?

Let your heart rate monitor, your body’s natural physiology, tell you when you are ready to go again.

How hard are you working?  Let your heart rate monitor tell you.


A few words on treadmills…

I have to admit that I am not completely anti-treadmill.

What bothers me about treadmills is that they remind me of hamster wheels, and people use them like hamster wheels.  Same workout, same speed, same incline, same distance, same music, reading the same magazine… Same same same.  “Same” is the enemy of progress.  Trust that.

image credit: movnat


Also, recognize that there is an incredible difference between:

1)  Running on a treadmill where you are simply keeping up with the speed of the belt and

2)  Running on a real world landscape where you are having to put true force into the ground to create movement.

If it is nice outside, and right now it is, get your ass outside and perform a similar workout.

If you do head outside, be prepared for the intensity to be jacked up ten-fold if you are shooting for the same structured workout as I described above.  Real world sprinting is fatiguing, especially when organized as a timed effort combined shorter than normal rest periods.


Is aerobic training bad?

There is nothing wrong with aerobic training assuming you are progressing, moving toward your goals and avoiding overuse injuries.

But why not challenge yourself a bit, melt some fat, preserve the lean healthy tissue you worked so hard to develop, and increase aerobic AND anaerobic pathways all in one shot?

Did I mention how time effective this type of training is?

Here is a great visual depiction to support my case…


What is so non-traditional about my workout you ask?

Well traditionally, a)  Most people don’t use heart rate monitors (they guess) and b)  Most people coast or “relax” on the hamster wheel for a few miles for a light sweat.

That being said, my workout is non-traditional.  I am asking you to let your heart be your rest/work indicator along with requesting that you put forth an effort that is unfathomable for a lot of the population.


See you soon…


Just getting warmed up.


(P.S. As an end thought… if you are able to read any book or magazine comfortably while training, you aren’t working nearly hard enough)

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