Archive for Sunday, March 27, 2005

How to spice up treadmill workouts

March 27, 2005


— Washington -- OK, you bought a treadmill a few months back and here it is, late March, and, your routine is stale. That once-sleek, addictive toy has become the Dreadmill. Here's your ticket off the plateau:

  • Circuit breaker. A treadmill workout needn't glue you to the rubber belt, says Mark Fenton, host of the PBS series "America's Walking" and author of "Walk it Off: The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss and Fitness." Try this: Warm up with five minutes of light walking, then walk for two minutes at a slightly quicker-than-normal pace.

Now, jump (carefully) off the treadmill and do 30 seconds of chest presses (push-ups or lifting dumbbells while lying on your back). Hop back on the 'mill for two minutes, then get off again and do 40 seconds (20 seconds each side) of a pulling exercise, like one-handed dumbbell lifts with one knee on a bench. Keep alternating walking stints with strength training, working in shoulder presses, pull downs (chin-up bar or an exercise band), biceps and triceps; then cool down.

"Do this whole thing twice, and you've got a great 45-minute workout, hitting all the major muscle groups" and getting all the cardio work you need, Fenton says.

  • Mountaineering. Fenton also advocates "the mountain." After warming up, add a 2 percent grade to your incline for two minutes, then bump it up to 4 percent, then up to 8 percent, back down to 4, to 2 and, finally, level again. At 3.5 miles per hour, adding a 5- to 8-percent grade can boost caloric expenditure by 15 to 25 percent compared with flat ground, Fenton says.
  • Telaerobics. For tube-watching 'millers, Scott Quill, an associate editor of Men's Health magazine, suggests using the TV to time intervals.

"Say you're watching one of the (NCAA) basketball games. Whenever the clock stops (time-outs, foul shots), bump up your pace to about 80 percent effort. When the game's in progress, dial down" to your normal pace. You can make it work for any show, Quill says.

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