Personal trainer Harley Pasternak collaborates with a myriad of celebrities, including Ariana Grande, Lizzo, and Jessica Simpson, among others. So when he shares workout tips on social media, it’s worth paying attention. Recently, the trainer unveiled some of his preferred advice on Instagram about how to “intelligently” exercise on a treadmill, and it’s brimming with insider tips you’ll want to remember.
In the video, Pasternak executes a range of movements on a treadmill wearing socks — something he confirmed in the caption that he only did to “demonstrate exaggeration in the various positions.” In a series of text, Pasternak recommended walking or running on your tiptoes to strengthen your calves, performing lateral shuffles to target your abductors (the muscles that assist in rotating the leg to the side) and adductors (the muscles in the inner thighs that bring the legs toward the body’s center), walking backward to enhance balance and strengthen your quadriceps, and walking uphill to focus on your hamstrings and glutes.
Interested in maximizing your next treadmill workout? Pasternak shared additional details with Shape on why these moves are so effective and how to perform them. Here’s what the celebrity trainer suggests for a clever treadmill workout.
Engage in Tiptoe Walking or Running
“Many individuals engage in flat-footed running,” says Pasternak, adding, “This is a highly inefficient way to run and puts more strain on the hips and lower back.” However, running on the tiptoes enables the lower legs to absorb the impact for the rest of the body, and it optimizes the kinetic chain, he explains. The kinetic chain refers to “the interconnected groups of body segments, linking joints, and muscles working together to perform movements and the section of the spine to which they connect,” as per Ace Fitness. Therefore, when the kinetic chain is optimized, you’re obtaining a more effective workout.
Perform a Sideways Shuffle
In everyday life and even during workouts, it’s likely that you primarily move forward and backward rather than side to side. “People dedicate so much time to forward and backward movements, neglecting lateral movements,” says Pasternak. This may not seem significant, but neglecting lateral movement can result in injuries in certain cases, as solely working dominant muscles can make them stronger while smaller muscles remain the same, as previously mentioned by Tara Laferrara, a certified personal trainer, yoga teacher, founder of the TL Method, and co-owner of Compass Fitness, as noted in Shape.
Engaging in side-to-side movements on the treadmill, like side shuffles, activates your abductors and adductors, according to Pasternak.
Walk in Reverse
While the majority of individuals walk and run on the treadmill facing forward, Pasternak suggests turning around and walking in reverse. This “enhances balance and fortifies quadriceps,” he stated in his Instagram post. It’s also an opportunity to vary your routine and give your body a fresh and unexpected movement to master.
Pasternak recommends incorporating some elevation into your treadmill workout, so that you are walking uphill on an incline. “Walking uphill engages hamstrings and glutes to a greater extent than walking on a flat surface,” he says. “It is also a fantastic way to lessen impact on your joints if you prefer running.” Strengthening these muscles is crucial, as they are part of the posterior chain, which refers to the muscles on the rear side of the body. The posterior chain consists of some of the largest muscles in the body that are used in day-to-day activities, and maintaining their strength helps guard against injuries, particularly in the knees and back, Katrina Scott, certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, and co-founder of Tone It Up, previously expressed to Shape.
Walk Uphill in Reverse
If you want to truly challenge yourself, Pasternak suggests walking in reverse while going uphill. “Commence with an incline of four or five degrees and gradually increase it to seven or eight degrees,” he says. “This is an excellent method for developing VMO strength and isolating your quadriceps.” In case you are unfamiliar, VMO refers to the vastus medialis oblique muscle, which is situated inside the front of your thighs.
To incorporate an intelligent treadmill workout into your routine, you may also want to take note of some common errors that Pasternak advises against. One of his pet peeves is observing individuals gripping the handrail of the treadmill while walking at a steep incline. “It’s somewhat counterintuitive,” he says, as it diminishes the effort required from the lower body. Pasternak also discourages the use of wrist and ankle weights. “They have an adverse impact on your body’s natural mechanics and result in a dislocating effect on your joints,” he says.
Whether you desire to push yourself a tad harder or are simply seeking something new to try, Pasternak’s techniques will undoubtedly inject some excitement into your next treadmill session.
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