Treadmill - Dumbbell Workout

Add Weights to Your Treadmill Workout

Dumbbells and Treadmill
Dumbbells and Treadmill. George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Pump up your treadmill workout by adding intervals with dumbbells. To get ready, set a pair of 5- to 12-pound dumbbells (depending on your strength and experience) near a treadmill.

Warm-up for the Treadmill - Dumbbell Workout

Warm up on the machine with a five-minute brisk walk. Do not hold onto the machine. Swing your arms generously to get the blood going in the shoulder joints and loosen them as well.

Treadmill – Lateral Lifts

Jog/Walk Fast 1 Minute: At the five-minute mark, set the speed to 6 mph and run for one minute. If you’re new to jogging, you may want to jog at a gentler pace. If you cannot jog, set the speed for a fast walk.

Get Off the Treadmill: After the one-minute jog, slow to 3 mph and press the pause button and step off. If the machine has no pause function, just let it quietly run by itself at 3 mph. Some treadmills automatically stop after 30 seconds if nobody’s on them.

Lateral Arm Lifts: Grab the dumbbells and do 20 lateral lifts, ideally before a mirror if there are mirrors near the treadmill.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight.
  • With weights in each hand, arms at side, raise arms upward and out at your sides, keeping arms slightly bent.
  • Do not lift arms higher than parallel to the floor.
  • Lower arms to side and repeat.
  • Do not rush through these lifts. Execute control.
  • Don’t let arms hang more than one second at your side.
  • After 20 reps, immediately, without any resting, get back on the treadmill.

Get Back on the Treadmill: Set speed to 7 mph and run for one minute, or for a speed that is a fast walk for 1 minute.

Repeat this running/fast walking and lateral-lift routine until you get up to 10 mph.

If you’re in great shape, feel free to go up to 12 mph.

  • If You Can’t Run: If you’re unable to run, you can still apply this entire principle. It’s as follows: Between the 20-rep dumbbell segments, promptly get on the treadmill and do whatever it takes to challenge you for one minute. That might be a 3.5 mph walk. It might be a 3 mph jog. As long as for one minute, you are working hard.
  • Do not take rests between the running and the lifting: Your heart rate should be quite elevated each time you start a new 20-rep lifting segment.
  • Do not hold onto the treadmill

Spend 20 minutes alternating treadmill-dumbbells: See if you can do this switching back and forth between dumbbells and treadmill for 20 minutes nonstop.

Treadmill Walking With Dumbbells

After you’re done with the above routine, get a pair of 10-pound dumbbells and set them within reach of your position on the treadmill (perhaps the floor, or the foot area alongside the tread pad).

  • Set the incline to 15%, and the speed to 2.5 mph.
  • Take the dumbbells in each hand and simply walk. Go for 10 minutes.
  • If 10 pounds is too heavy, use lighter weights.
  • If you can last for only five minutes, then start out at just five and build up from there.
  • You can also slow the speed if necessary.

Challenge Your Body: The bottom line is that you must create settings that thoroughly challenge your body and leave you huffing and puffing. This will help prepare you for a real-life situation in which you must huff and puff. (Think having to hurry through an airport while carrying luggage.)

Challenge and Recovery: Do not be surprised if this incline walking with the hand weights quickly burns you out. It’s something your body is totally unaccustomed to. Do not get discouraged. It is perfectly acceptable to sustain an extremely challenging routine for only 30 seconds, and then revert to a comfortable “recovery” pace for a minute or two before resuming the next 30-second blast. This back-and-forth activity, between intense and easy, mimics real life situations that your heart is subjected to. (Think helping somebody move furniture. This is a classic example of short bursts of intense work, alternating with brief rests.)

Cool Down

After 10 minutes, set the weights down, lower incline to zero, and cool off with a moderate walk for five minutes. Follow up with five minutes of leg stretching and two cups of water.

Next: Jumping or Hopping Intervals on the Treadmill

How to Kick the Treadmill-Gripping Habit

Lorra Garrick is a certified personal trainer and certified longevity wellness specialist. She is the author of numerous articles and books on fitness.

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