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Workout Wednesday: The Treadmill Ladder Workout


The treadmill is a daily workout staple for a number of people, while other people swear they’d never step foot on one, even if they had to. Seen as an indoor alternative to outdoor running, treadmills definitely have their advantages, but they also have disadvantages.

Advantages of Using a Treadmill

While using a treadmill provides the very obvious advantage of consistency and steady environment that come from being able to run indoors, there are a number of other advantages as well.

  • They offer a great sense of safety and security. Many people worry about running alone and running in unfamiliar, unlit, or high-traffic areas. Treadmills allow for a good run in the safety of an indoor environment.
  • Treadmills eliminate excuses to avoid running. Running outside can present a number of challenges, including inclement weather, low lighting, uneven surfaces (which can sometimes result in injury), and even pollution from high traffic areas. Using a treadmill helps keep you running without having to worry about the items mentioned above.
  • The impact of running can be reduced. Running outdoors on uneven surfaces can be hard on your body (especially your joints), which may lead to injuries. A treadmill can offer the comfort of a stable and even running surface.
  • You have total control of the conditions. Using a treadmill gives you full control over incline, speed, and, ultimately, the amount of calories you burn on every run.

Disadvantages of Using a Treadmill

As with any fitness machine and routine, using a treadmill also has disadvantages, too. Let’s take a look at them.

  • Using a treadmill every day can get boring very quickly.  If you’re anything like me, you love a change of scenery every so often. Running on a treadmill every day doesn’t give you that change like running outdoors would. You’re in the same spot every time you run.
  • Treadmills can hurt your wallet. Whether you pay for a monthly gym membership, or are making monthly payments on your own treadmill, it can all add up to be pretty expensive. Running outside is absolute free, plus you’re getting a change of scenery and plenty of fresh air.
  • You might not burn as many calories. Because running outside presents a much great chance of uneven surfaces and inclines, you’re much more likely to burn a higher amount of calories. Many treadmills lack the uneven surfaces that you’d typically find outdoors.
  • The availability of handrails can hurt your workout. Treadmills typically have handrails attached to them. Many people hold onto them while running, which prevents the natural arm motion that occurs when running. This has an affect on your running posture, body alignment, the way you run, and may also reduce the number of calories you burn.

This Week’s Workout

I use a treadmill every so often, more so in the winter when it gets to be pretty cold and treacherous outside. I’ve posted workouts that can be done inside, outside, and at the gym, but haven’t really done much more the treadmill crowd. This week’s workout is for all of you.

From Fitbie.com and My Fitness Pal comes the Treadmill Ladder Workout, a combination of a classic speed drill and a healthy run on a treadmill.

The basic premise here is that your interval is gradually increased by a couple minutes. You have recovery time, then your intervals are decreased. It’s a lot different than running at the same pace for a set amount of time.

Ladder Structures

This workout delivers a whole host of freedom. You can structure your ladder workout in any way you’d like! Below are two great examples from Fitbie and My Fitness Pal.


  • 1-mile warm up
  • 2 minutes at a pace of your choice (a fast speed is recommended, but try not to go all out just yet)
  • 2-3 minutes at a slower recovery pace
  • 4-minutes at a pickup speed
  • 4-5 minutes at a slower recovery pace
  • 6-minute pickup speed
  • 6-7 minutes at a slower recovery speed

Advanced (Start as laid out above, then continue below):

  • 6 minutes at a pickup speed
  • 6-7 minutes at a slower recovery pace
  • 4 minutes at a pickup speed
  • 4-5 minutes at a slower recovery pace
  • 2 minutes at a pickup speed
  • 2-3 minutes at a slower recovery pace
  • 1-mile cool down

Cool-Down & Recovery

As stated above, the cool-down activity for this week will be a slow 1-mile run (and you can run less, if you choose to). Don’t overdo it. A slow jog is the perfect pace to help your body return to normal.

Because this week involves a lot of running, make sure you drink extra water and replenish your body’s electrolytes. Need recovery supplement ideas? Some of my favorites are below:

Do you regularly use a treadmill as a part of your fitness routine? Do you change it up at all? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below!

Featured Image Credit: E’lisa Campbell via Flickr.com.