5 Treadmill Tips for Beginners

Natalie Cecconi
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Know Your Goals

If you’ve never really exercised before, your first inclination might be to jump onto the treadmill and start running at a fast clip.

But your first goals should really be to get comfortable with the machine and make sure that you have the body mechanics to run on the belt without causing any harm to yourself. To make that happen, start off with very slow (not even one mile per hour) and very short (just a few minutes) bouts of running.

Before long you’ll be comfortable with this level of exercise and be ready to move on to the next phase.

Use the Treadmill for Interval Training and Variety

Interval training is great for running. Studies show that this form of aerobic exercise is more effective at boosting cardiovascular fitness than low impact exercises like walking.

Interval training alternates between short and fast periods of intense activity and less intense recovery periods of activity. To get the most cardiovascular benefits of your treadmill workouts, it’s important to use your treadmill appropriately and complete an effective interval training program.

Treadmill interval workouts are great if you want to address an imbalance between the two major muscle groups in the lower body… the quadriceps and hamstrings.


Quadriceps contraction bring the knee to align with the hip joint, extending the lower leg. These muscles are used during sprinting and are targeted in workouts such as hill sprints, fast running, and uphill treadmill workouts.


These muscles work to flex the knee and bring the lower leg to align with the thigh. These muscles are used when slowing down and are targeted with walking and easy treadmill workouts.

Skipping exercises are an excellent way to create a fun workout that places a focus on the hamstrings.

But it doesn’t have to be hard. You can get in shape and enjoy being on the treadmill by challenging yourself with sprint intervals coupled with brief rest periods.

Take Advantage of the Unique Features of the Treadmill

While you can do without most of the specialty features of the treadmill, there are a few features that can make a big difference in your workout.

Here are three features I highly recommend:

Automatic Incline Function. If you are brand new to the treadmill, you should use one that has the ability to change the incline automatically.

While walking or running on the treadmill, you will experience changes in incline and you don’t need the extra distraction.

The incline on your treadmill can be controlled by a computer to match the intensity of your workout.

Walking/Running Program. It is important to walk before you can run. The walking/running program allows you to increase the speed and length of your stride over time.

Descent Program. In the unfortunate event that you trip or stumble on the treadmill, it is important to have a safety mechanism to slow you down.

The drop program makes the treadmill gradually slow down every minute or so. This prevents injury and can even increase your workout time.

Heart Rate Monitor. This is a personal favorite of mine. The heart rate monitor allows the treadmill to read your pulse and adjust the speed and incline of your treadmill to ensure that you are always at the perfect level of intensity.

Watch Your Form on the Treadmill

Your form on a treadmill can make or break your workout.

If you had hip or knee pain in the past, or if you are returning from an injury, you may want to consider checking out a legit indoor cycling or spinning studio. These classes focus on form and incorporate both cardiovascular and strength training. In addition, classes are less likely to aggravate your injury or create new pain due to the fact that you will be in the experts’ care.

However, if you are looking to use the treadmill to supplement your classes, you can find appropriate levels of incline to help with hip and knee strengthening. You can also incorporate lunges into your program.

Don’t Forget Proper Running Procedures

It’s a good idea to start slowly and progress in small increments To start with low intensities (anything from 1 mph upwards), longer distances (for example, for three or four minutes, not more than 100m per session) and with shorter walking breaks.

Take a day of rest after your first few sessions and then gradually increase the intensity and duration.

Check that the treadmill belt is free of any debris or broken parts.

Always start with a gradient of 0% and increase the gradient by no more than 1% every minute. You should not continue a session on a gradient that is more than 10% unless you are experienced. A maximum of 6% gradient is absolutely fine for most people.

Make sure that the grips on the handrails are not too high or low. You should be able to maintain a stable posture with your arms close to your sides whilst still keeping your back straight.

Whenever you leave the treadmill, you should remove the key. Don’t step off the treadmill backward when it is moving. And never reach for anything or make adjustments when you are running.

Most people get injured by tripping forwards over the treadmill. Be very careful, especially when you are getting accustomed to using a treadmill.

Sign up to download this FREE TRAINING PLAN PDF

As a beginner, you might feel overwhelmed with everything that goes into exercising and training.

You might feel that there are so many rules you must follow and different exercises you must do.

You might feel that this isn’t for you and you don’t know where to start.

As someone who used to be a beginner (and sometimes still is!), I can tell you that all of these are normal feelings when starting out.

Once you get the hang of it, everything is much easier.

However, right now, you are just starting out and must set some goals for yourself if your are serious about getting leaner, stronger, and fitter.

By setting goals, you can take steps to stay on track all the way and not fall in the trap of quitting, which is common for very busy people.

So, before you enjoy this FREE 5 Treadmill Tips for Beginners PDF, make sure you get the most out of this 1-page workout and training plan.

You can do it!

Stop Sweating over Your Exercise Routine

The only thing that prevents you from seeing instant results is you.

It’s not about the amount of time that you are spending, it’s about the quality of this time.