20 Treadmill Exercises that Aren't Running

Because anything beats jogging to nowhere.

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There's literally nothing more boring than running on a treadmill. (N.O.T.H.I.N.G!) But you don't have to swear off the whole machine. Instead, put the treadmill to better use with some unconventional and surprisingly fun treadmill exercises, demonstrated by Anna Kaiser, celebrity trainer to famously fit stars like Shakira, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Sofia Vergara, and the founder of AKTread, a new dance-based treadmill workout at AKT InMotion, a fitness studio in Manhattan.

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To Get Some Cardio:

1. Side Shuffle

How to do it: Set the treadmill speed to 4.0 miles per hour and start walking forward on the band. Place your left hand on the front handle and your right hand on the right railing. After stepping forward with the left foot, turn your entire body and both feet to face the right side of the treadmill. Take a large side-step toward the front of the machine with your left foot, and press into your palms to help you hop up with both feet as the band moves underfoot. Land on your right foot, and continue shuffling for up to 60 seconds. Then turn to face the left side with your left hand on the railing and your right hand on the front handle, and shuffle for up to 60 more seconds.

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2. Backward High Knees

How to do it: For this treadmill exercise, set the speed to 3.0 miles per hour and straddle the band with your back to the monitor. Put one hand on each railing. Pressing into your palms, extend your arms as you drive your right knee up to hip height. Then hop on the band with your left foot, bending your arms as your foot comes down. Immediately press into your palms and extend your arms as you drive your left knee to hip height, and hop to your right foot, bending your arms as your foot lands on the band. Continue alternating feet for 30 to 60 seconds.

To Work Your Legs and Butt:

3. Side Lunges

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How to do it: Set the treadmill speed to 0.5 mile per hour and start walking forward on the band. Place your left hand on the front handle and your right hand on the right railing. After stepping forward with the left foot, turn your entire body and both feet to face the right side of the treadmill. Keeping your right leg straight and your left knee behind your left toes, bend your left knee and sit back into a side lunge. Press into your left heel to stand as you simultaneously step your right foot over your left foot. Then step your left foot out toward the front of the machine to come back to your starting stance. Continue for 30 seconds, then face the left side of the treadmill, and continue for 30 more seconds. The moving band forces you to keep up the pace.

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2. Alternating Sumo Squats

How to do it: Set the treadmill speed to 0.5 mile per hour and start walking forward on the band. As you step forward with your left foot, place your right and left hand on right railing. Pivot on your heels to turn your entire body toward the right side of the treadmill. With both feet turned slightly outward, bend your knees to sit your butt back into a deep squat. From this position, press up through your heels to come back to standing position, immediately stepping your back foot toward the front of the machine (as if you're walking forward). Next, place your left and right hand on the left railing as you pivot on your heels to face the left side of the treadmill. Complete another squat, then step your back foot toward the front of the machine and rotate back to the right side. Continue alternating sides for 30 to 60 seconds.

5. Plank Forward Climb

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How to do it: Start with the treadmill turned off. Place both palms on the plastic casing at the front of the treadmill. Without standing up, step forward with your right foot, and press into your right toes as you extend the leg to push the band backward. Step forward with your left foot, and press into the left toes to push the band backward. Continue climbing forward, engaging your abs to control the speed of the band. (Just hop both feet out to the edges if you need a break.) [how long should you do this for?]

6. One-Legged Push-Ups with Knee to Elbow

How to do them: Start with the treadmill turned off. Place both palms on the front handle of the treadmill, and take a few steps backward. Keeping your body in one straight line from the top of your head to your heels, engage your core to prevent your feet from pushing the band backward. Next, bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the front bar as you simultaneously drive the right knee out to the side and toward the outer edge of the treadmill railing. (The railing gives your knee a target, which helps you angle your knee-ins to isolate your butt.) Press up through your palms to extend the elbows as you extend your leg out behind you and complete one rep. Shoot for 10 reps, then switch sides. Repeat the entire set up to three times on each side.

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To Work Your Arms and Upper Body:

7. Plank Backward Crawl

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How to do it: Start with the treadmill turned off. Stand on the band with your back facing the monitor. Get into a plank position by placing both palms on the band and both feet on the plastic casing at the front of the machine. Keeping your legs extended and knees locked, press into your palms to push the band forward and away from your body. As you push, lift your left palm and place it under your left shoulder, then lift your right palm and place it under your right shoulder. Continue to walk your palms backward and push forward to keep the band moving for 30 to 60 seconds. (If you need a break, stop pushing to slow the band, and step your hands out to the sides of the band or gently drop your knees — but only after the band stops moving.)

8. Railing Pull-Ups

How to do them: Start with the treadmill turned off, and sit down on the center of the band with your back facing the monitor, your knees bent, and the soles of your feet on the band. With both hands, grab onto the railings with your palms facing each other. Press into your heels and lift your butt up off the band, squeezing your butt to keep your feet stable and prevent the band from moving forward. Lean backward so your chest is parallel to the ground. Without dropping your hips, bend your elbows to bring your chest up toward the railing, then extend your arms with control. That's one rep. Complete eight to 10 reps, and repeat the treadmill exercise up to three times.

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9. Incline Push-Ups

How to do them: Start with the treadmill turned off. Place both palms on the front handle of the treadmill, and take a few steps backward. Keeping your body in one straight line from the top of your head to your heels and engaging your core to prevent your feet from pushing the band backward, bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the front bar. Press up through your palms to extend the elbows and complete one rep. Shoot for 10 reps, and repeat the entire set up to three times.

To Work Your Core:

10. Plank Jacks

How to do them: Start with the treadmill turned off. Place both palms on the plastic casing at the front of the treadmill. Step both feet back into plank position with your feet together and your knees slightly bent. From this position, hop your feet out to the stable edges of the treadmill. Immediately hop your feet back together to the center of the band. Continue hopping in and out for 30 to 60 seconds.

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11. Knee Raises

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How to do them: Begin with the treadmill off. Stand on the band between the railings with your back facing the monitor and one hand on the top of each railing. Pressing into your palms, extend your elbows to lift your feet up off the ground. Cross your ankles and open your knees out to the sides (like you're cross-legged in the air). Without unlocking your ankles, engage your core to drive both knees in toward your chest. Lower your knees with control to complete one rep. Complete up to 10 reps, and repeat the set up to three times.

12. Single Leg Raises

How to do them: With the treadmill turned off, sit down on the center of the band with your back facing the monitor. With both hands, grab onto the railings with your palms facing each other. Extend both legs straight out in front of you, and point your toes as you lean back to balance on your sit bones and lift both legs at least 1 inch above the band. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, bring your left leg straight up to point your toes toward the ceiling. With control, lower the left leg, then repeat the motion on the opposite side to complete one rep. Continue to alternate for up to 10 reps. Repeat the entire set up to three times.

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13. Windshield Wiper Extensions

How to do them: With the treadmill turned off, sit down on the center of the band with your back facing the monitor. With both hands, grab on to the railings with your palms facing each other. Bend your knees and lift the soles of your feet off the ground, balancing on your sit bones. From this position, engage your abs as you extend both legs straight out to the left. Bring the knees back in toward your chest, then extend both legs out to the right. Bring the knees back in with control to complete one rep. Continue alternating sides for up to 10 reps. Repeat the entire set up to three times.

To Stretch It Out:

14. Anchored Front Lunge

How to do it: With the treadmill off, stand with your back to the monitor and your heels near the plastic casing. Place both palms facing down on the handle. Take a large step forward with your left foot and bend the left knee to lower into a front lunge. Keeping your hips square to the back corners of the treadmill, lean forward, open up your chest, and hold for as long as you'd like. Then reverse feet and repeat.

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What it does: Opens up the chest and hip flexors.

15. Lower Back Stretch

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How to do it: Start with the treadmill turned off. Place both palms facing down on the front handle of the treadmill, and take a few steps backward. Next, lock your elbows and bend your knees to sit your hips backward as you curve your back and drop your head forward. Drive your hips backward to deepen the stretch.

What it does: Releases the tension in your spine.

16. Leg Up

How to do it: With the treadmill off, stand in the center of the band facing the monitor. Bring your right heel up to the left railing. With your left hand, reach forward toward the right heel. Hold for as long as you'd like, then repeat on the opposite site.

What it does: Stretches your IT band (the ligament that runs along the outside of your thigh to your shin).

17. Heel Hangers

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How to do them: With the treadmill off, stand on the edge of the treadmill (not the band) with one hand on the railing and both heels hanging off. Drop one heel and hold for as long as you want. Then switch sides and hold.

What it does: Seriously stretches the calves.

18. Star Stretch

How to do it: With the treadmill off, stand toward the back of the treadmill and face the monitor. Take a large step forward with your right leg. Next, place your left palm on the ground near your right foot, and place your right palm on the right railing. Keeping your heels down and your spine long, press into your right palm to twist your upper body toward the right.

What it does: Stretches the legs and opens the chest.

19. Figure-4 Stretch

How to do it: With the treadmill off, stand between the railings with your back facing the monitor. Place your forearms on the railings and cross your left ankle over your right knee. Then, bend your right knee to sit your hips backward. Hold for as long as you'd like, then repeat on the opposite side.

What it does: Stretches your butt and releases tightness in your hips.

20. Quad Stretch

How to do it: With the treadmill off, stand between the railings and turn to face the right railing. Next, kick your right heel back to your butt, and place the top of your right foot on top of the left railing. Place both palms on top of the right railing, and square your hip to deepen the stretch. Hold for as long as you'd like, then switch sides.

What it does: Stretches the front of the thighs and totally opens up your hips.

Get Anna's Look: Classic Swoosh Cooling Sports Bra, NIKE, $40; Blue Cougar Leggings, PHEEL, $98; Purple Sneakers ADIDAS, $180.

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