Spice Up Your Treadmill Workout

Spice Up Your Treadmill Workout By Minna Lessig Author of Tank Top Arms, Bikini Belly, Boy Shorts Bottom

Like many folks, I do my cardio on a treadmill. But because the pounding of running makes my back hurt and tightens my hips, I created this 30-minute treadmill routine. Now, I'm passing it on to you. Some of the moves can be tricky at first, but that's a good thing, especially if your current treadmill workout feels a bit stale. As you learn this routine, feel free to walk, jog, or run instead of doing any of the moves.

Minutes 1 to 5: Warmup with Upper Body Moves

Warmup. Holding the rails or handles of your treadmill with both hands, round your upper back for a few steps. Straighten up, then lift your chest toward the ceiling for a few steps. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Single-Arm Reaches. Keeping one hand on the rail or bar, extend your other arm straight over your head as you walk. Lower it, then repeat with your other arm. Try to reach higher with each rep. Do 10 to 20 alternating reaches.

Bend Down Low. Walk briskly for 10 to 20 steps. Then bend your knees slightly and walk in this fashion at the same pace for 10 to 20 steps, keeping your upper body upright. Alternate between brisk walking and bent-knee walking. Repeat 3 to 5 times. Minutes 6 to 25: Speed Up and Change Up

Minutes 6 to 8. Fitness walk: Increase your pace to a level 4 or 5 RPE (see page 11 for the RPE scale). Walk briskly.

Minutes 9 to 10. Step-step-sashay: Step forward with your right foot, then your left foot. Then sashay: Step forward again with your right foot and hop to bring your left foot to meet your right, landing first on your left foot and then your right foot. Immediately step forward with your left foot and hop to bring your right foot to meet your left, landing first on your right foot, then your left foot. Continue to alternate sashays after each two regular steps forward. Before you try sashays on the treadmill, be sure you can do them on the floor or other nonmoving surface!

Minutes 11 to 14. Step-togethers: Think of this move as walking sideways in a straight line. Raise the incline to 3.0 (Novice) -- 6.0 (Master). Novice: Reduce the treadmill's speed to 1.8-2.0 mph. Skilled: Reduce the treadmill's speed to 2.0-2.5 mph. Master: Set the speed as you see fit. Hold the rail or bar with your left hand and turn your body to the right, so that your left shoulder is closest to the bar and your body is a quarter turn to the right. Leading with your left foot, step to the side and then bring your right foot to meet your left. Do step-togethers on one side for minutes 11 and 12, walk forward briskly for a few seconds, then switch to the other side for the remainder of minutes 13 and 14. Advanced exercisers can try hopping together instead of stepping together.

Minutes 15 to 18. Keep the treadmill set at a 3.0-6.0 incline. Side-squat walking: Facing a quarter turn to the right on the treadmill, place your hands on your thighs, bend your knees, and lower yourself into a step-together. Hold a half-squat position as you walk sideways with your left foot leading. Do side-squat walking leading with the left foot for minutes 15 and 16, walk forward briskly for a few seconds, then switch to the other side for the remainder of minutes 17 and 18.

Minutes 19 to 21. Depending on your fitness level, keep the incline up or reduce it. Walk briskly as you hold your arms straight over your head. For less of a challenge, place your hands behind your head. This less-difficult variation still forces your core to work harder and makes a nice little abs workout.

Minutes 22 to 24. Incline walking: In accordance with your fitness level, walk, jog, or run on an incline of 3, 4, or 5 to work your glutes and hamstrings.

Minute 25. Novice: Lower the incline and perform one last blast of fitness walking. Skilled and Master: Keep an incline, but reduce the treadmill's speed (to 1.8-2.5 mph for Novice and Skilled levels and up to 3.0 mph for Master). Holding the bars or rails, carefully turn 180 degrees so that your back is to the rail or bar and you are walking "backward." Hold on to the rail or bars as you walk backward -- you'll feel a burn in the front of your thighs. Carefully turn until you're facing forward. Minutes 26 to 20: Cooldown

Repeat the Warmup. Reduce the treadmill's incline. Slow your pace even more until you are walking very slowly. Shake one leg, step, step, shake the other leg, step, step. Repeat until you've shaken each leg 10 to 20 times.

Take Two Deep Breaths. Extend both arms over your head on the inhalation and lower them on the exhalation. Reprinted from: Tank Top Arms, Bikini Belly, Boy Shorts Bottom: Tighten and Tone Your Body in as Little as 10 Minutes a Day by Minna Lessig 2007 by Rodale Inc. (April 2007;$18.95US/$22.95CAN; 978-1-59486-562-6) Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling at (800) 848-4735.

Author Minna Lessig is a sought-after personal trainer and an internationally recognized fitness supermodel who has been featured on the covers and inside such magazines as Muscle and Fitness, Fit, and Women's Fitness International. The star and creator of numerous best-selling workout videos, she lives in Virginia Beach.