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Treading The Light Fantastic



New equipment, new opportunities

Some of you may have noticed the new treadmills recently installed in gym pods around Singapore. Don’t go thinking they’re only worth trying out when it’s too stormy to go for a run or walk. Here are your top five treadmill trials that don’t involve the obvious (running):

Walking lunges
Lunges on the spot are great for the butt, hamstrings and quads, but walking lunges are even better at activating these muscle groups. But it always seems a little attention seeking to lunge across a gym, or indeed any public space. That’s what Gym Pods are for, I hear you say, but they’re not really big enough for a 20-stride lunge. Well they are now, thanks to your treadmill.

Setting the speed to its slowest level (as with all of the exercises mentioned here, although you can experiment as you go along), begin at the midpoint of the treadmill track and step forward with the right foot. Once the foot is planted, bend both knees until your left knee is just a few centimetres from the treadmill track’s surface. As the treadmill transports your right leg back towards your torso, straighten up and stride forward with the left leg to repeat the process.

Side Shuffles
Side shuffles are crab-like movements in a semi squat position. On firm ground with your legs wider than shoulder-length apart, you would perform a halfway squat and hold. Then shuffle towards the treadmill’s data panel, while retaining the semi-squat position. By moving one foot closer to the other, then by opening up your sideways stride again, you should keep this up for 12 or so reps. I many ways, the slower the treadmill speed the better, lengthening the hold on that squat position to get through your reps.

Don’t forget to even things up but turning to face the other way so that your other leg can take the lead for the same number of pincer movements. For a tougher work out, put a resistance band above your ankles or knees to work even more areas of the lower body

Walking the plank
Assume the standard push up position with feet on the ground and hands on the treadmill track. That means you’ll be in an inclined position. As the treadmill track moves towards you, use your hands to ‘walk’ along it. Your feet will remain planted on the floor and your hands will keep your torso nice and stable by supporting you while ‘walking the plank’. Even better than the mind-numbingly torturous static plank, this will activate far more of your core, chest and oblique muscles.

Reverse shuffle
If you’ve ever tried running backwards for 30 metres, you’ll know what an excellent work out it is for your quads. Moving this way isn’t something you do every day and it’s quite startling how much of a trial your quads are put through. Now you can benefit from this wonderful movement on the treadmill. Simply turn away from the treadmill and start moving backwards. For greater resistance, hit the incline button and do the whole thing uphill. Vary the speed and incline for a host of different difficulty levels.

Hamstring blast
This is a tough one because you’re supporting your bodyweight with static arms, while your legs get a dynamic workout.

Step either side of the moving treadmill track so that you’re straddling it with your feet on the sides. Now lower yourself so that your hands are also straddling the track, such that you’re facing upwards with your legs out in front, resting firmly on those static side areas, with your butt hovering above the moving track. When you’re ready, one leg after the other, place your heel then toe on the track so that they are drawn towards your butt, before re-placing them ahead of you. Now you should be walking the treadmill as your hamstrings stretch and contract.
When you’re done, turn around and face the other way. Now the track should be pulling your feet away before you lift them and draw your heels back towards you.

Take care, this is moving equipment and it’s easy to lose your balance. Try out everything on stable terra firma first to test your strength and keep the speeds ultra-low at first, when you make your transition to the treadmill. Have fun trying these new variations on our treadmills!
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