Proper Treadmill Use for Men

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There is only one way for men to use a treadmill correctly, and that is to keep their hands off the machine.

Believe it or not, the guy who pulls his Harley into the parking lot of the gym, sports big muscles and tattoos and deadlifts 300 pounds, is still capable of concluding his workout with a sorry stint on a treadmill—sorry because his hands are holding onto the machine while he walks.

What did Cavemen do after fighting off a beast? They walked home proudly—without groping at shrubs or boulders to support their bodies. They walked for miles, jogged, ran, sprinted and jumped, all without grasping onto metal bars for support.

Modern man has fallen into the regressive habit of holding onto a treadmill while running, jogging and even just walking! That’s a huge mistake!

Outdoors, there is nothing to hold onto. So holding onto cardio equipment will not make you better at walking or jogging outdoors. Instead, the holding-on habit will create the opposite effect; it will make you less agile, less capable of walking up hills, dashing across a parking lot in the rain or briskly walking for long periods.

Your body has a system that controls balance. Holding onto a machine while walking or running will disengage this important system. Holding onto a treadmill mimics using a walker!

Whether a man uses a treadmill for cardio fitness, a warm-up before a weight workout or a warm-down after deadlifts, squats and pull-ups, it is wrong to hold on unless conducting a temporary heart rate check.

Our bodies were meant to walk upright with arms swinging. This is what men should do on a treadmill, too.

Holding on disturbs spinal alignment and causes forward posture. This is especially true in tall men, since they must adjust their posture to walk with their hands on relatively low rails.

Sometimes men will take exaggerated steps on a treadmill, believing that they are giving their quads a great workout, even though they hold on while doing this. Their cavemen ancestors would not be impressed.

If you want to work out like a caveman, keep your hands off the equipment and swing them at your sides. This way your entire body will get a workout; there will be no cheating; the hips and spine will move together in a synchronized way; and you won’t look silly holding on like the little old lady on the treadmill next to you.

Even when men use a high incline, they need to swing their arms, as they would when outdoors moving up a hill. If you get winded quickly doing this, then slow down the speed until you can sustain the pace. Or, keep the speed and do brief high incline walks/jogs, without holding on.

After that, slow down or lower the angle for a recovery walk. This switching back and forth is called interval training and it’s more effective at melting fat than steady state walking/jogging.

Holding onto a treadmill has no carry-over benefits to outdoor walking, hiking, running or play on a field or indoor court, nor does it have any value in burning fat since it significantly reduces calorie expenditure. In short, stop hanging on and let go.

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