What Parts of the Body Does a Treadmill Work?


Quick Answer

According to the Houston Chronicle, treadmills primarily work the lower body muscles which include the calf muscles, the hamstrings and quadriceps in the thighs, the gluteal muscles and the hip flexors. Certain treadmill models are designed with special handles that can help to strengthen the arms, shoulders and chest.

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Full Answer

Fitness expert Jillian Michaels explains that the speed and incline features on treadmills can boost the intensity of a standard treadmill workout as well as increase cardiovascular endurance, which in turn can benefit cardiovascular health. Working out with a steeper incline also allows for increased muscle tone due to the fact that the subtle changes in the workout encourage the body to utilize additional muscle fibers.

According to About.com, interval treadmill workouts alternate high-intensity exercise with low-impact cool-down periods. It is important for runners to begin at a comfortable pace and gradually build intensity by increasing the RPE levels on the machine as their bodies become more acclimated to the routine. RPE is short for rate of perceived exertion, with a scale between 1 and 10. During high-intensity periods, the RPE level should be set no higher than 6. During the cool down period, the RPE level should be no lower than 4.

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