Even though there are 24 hours in a day, it can be challenging to fit in a complete strength and cardio workout. Combining treadmill work with weights helps you get in and out of the gym more quickly on days you are short on time. If you are a steady-state cardio junkie, adding weights to your treadmill work will help you become stronger, build lean muscle mass and improve your daily function without foregoing your “runner’s” high.
Types of Workout
Incorporate weights into your treadmill workout by performing a circuit. Perform a series of eight to 12 repetitions each of strength exercises like barbell squats, dumbbell chest flyes and barbell bent over rows and then walk, jog or sprint on the treadmill for one to five minutes. Alternate the strength moves and treadmill work three times total. Move on to other strength exercises that target the triceps, legs and shoulders–adding the treadmill work between sets. Alternatively, you can hold a set of two- to five-pound dumbbells on the treadmill, suggests Women’s Health Magazine. While walking at a moderate pace, use the dumbbells to perform biceps curls for 10 repetitions and then military shoulder presses for 10 repetitions. Let the weights rest at your sides as you walk for a minute and then repeat the exercises. Perform a total of five rounds of the moves.
Combining cardio on the treadmill with weights helps you fit in a complete workout in less time. During a traditional strength training session comprised of a set of an exercise and then a minute of rest, your heart rate does not breach an aerobic zone. Using the treadmill as part of a circuit keeps your heart rate high during the entire session. According to Fitness Magazine, performing a circuit helps you burn 30 percent more calories than traditional training. Alternating between the treadmill and weights also helps keep your workout interesting.
Do not perform strength workouts for the same body parts on consecutive days. Your muscles need at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions to rest and repair. Perform treadmill workouts with weights two to three times per week on alternating days. If you are ambitious enough to work out between these sessions, choose a cardio-only routine on the treadmill, or choose another mode to challenge different muscles.
If you find using weights causes you to lose your balance, consider adding simple biceps curls and shoulder presses to a stationary bicycle workout, rather than the treadmill. You may also use the treadmill between each set of a strength exercise. For example, perform a set of biceps curls and then run on the treadmill for one minute and return to your second set of curls.
Make sure you use light weights–no more than 5 lbs.–while on the treadmill. Using weights that are too heavy may distort your gait and strain your back. Always warm up for five to 10 minutes before beginning the main portion of your routine. Do not use weights during the warm-up, simply walk or jog at an easy pace.