As the weather starts to warm up it's time to transition into one of the most important phases of training - it's time to get shredded!
You've spent the better part of the past year putting on quality muscle and building strong abs with the Core Strength Blueprint, but this time of year that strong core does you no good if it's covered up with fat.
It's time to get a return on all the time you have invested in the gym, and you want people to notice the results of your hard work when you're out at the club or hanging by the pool.
One of the most basic and easily accessible tools for conditioning and burning fat is the treadmill, but it is also one of the most dreaded.
The complaint I frequently hear from new clients is that the treadmill is just too boring and monotonous - and they are certainly right in some regard! Getting on a treadmill and just plodding along aimlessly for 30-40 minutes is not only boring but counterproductive as well.
That type of conditioning will lead to weight loss but you are also risking muscle loss. In order to burn fat and maintain - or even build - muscle you need to utilize the treadmill (or any piece of cardio equipment for that matter) for interval training.
Unless you have been living under a rock you have probably heard of interval training and its fat burning benefits, but you may be unsure of how to incorporate it into your training plan.
In this article, I'm going to show you five of my favorite treadmill routines that I use for everyone, from "average Joes” to elite athletes. These treadmill routines will melt the fat off your waist line and get you in the best cardiovascular shape of your life.
Keep in mind that the speeds listed are just estimates - you will need to adjust accordingly based on your abilities.
1. "Hill Sprint" Intervals
Start with a treadmill running at 7mph and set at 15% incline. Using the railings, carefully step onto the treadmill in mid stride and run for 30 seconds. Grab the hand rails and rest on the side for 30 seconds.
After you have done 4 intervals, lower the incline by 3% and increase your speed by 1mph. Complete 4 intervals at this height/speed and repeat the pattern 2 more times for a grand total of 16 intervals.
If you start at a lower speed, make sure to keep the same ratios (example: 15% 5mph, 12% 6mph, 9% 7mph, 6% 8mph).
2. The 2-Mile Turn-Up
|The speed changes every 1/4mi: 7/8/9/10/7/8/9/10|
Now, not every interval program has to be an even rest/run ratio. Sometimes I like to use distance as the variable for speed and the "2-Mile Turn-Up" is one of my favorites for that.
Start out at a speed that is a comfortable stride for you and then increase by 1mph after each 1/4 mile. I typically have most athletes start at 7mph and work up to 10mph.
By the end of your first mile you should be running at a pretty good speed and feel like you're ready to slow down. As the second mile begins, start over at your first speed, but do not rest or grab the handles as you slow your stride.
Repeat the speed increases every 1/4 mile again until you have finished 2 miles total.
3. The "Get Peeled"
When some of you started reading this article you probably thought,” How boring, it’s just 5 different running routines.”
Well, the "Get Peeled" is one of my favorite workouts of all time - Ever. This routine is quick, gives you an incredible upper body pump and is guaranteed to lean you up. It is also one of my go-to workouts when I'm traveling and am stuck with a barren hotel weight room.
Start with a bodyweight superset of 15 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, 10 chin-ups, and 15 narrow push-ups before moving directly to the treadmill for a 1/4 mile run/sprint.
As soon as you finish your 1/4 mile begin the bodyweight circuit again and repeat for a total of 6 rounds. I like to leave the treadmill running so there is no down time getting it restarted.
If you need to rest, do so only briefly at the conclusion of a run before you start the next round.
4. GutCheck Hill Sprint
|2-minute rest period|
|15%||10mph||5-10secs on/20secs off|
|1-minute rest period|
|15% Incline Walk||3-3.5mph||12mins.|
The GutCheck Hill Sprint is hands down the most grueling treadmill routine in existence. I only recommend using it between 2-4 times per month to build muscular endurance and mental determination.
Begin with a treadmill incline set to 15% incline at 10mph. Carefully board the treadmill already running and stay on for max time (MT). The gold standard is 1 minute or better on the max effort sprint. Do not stop until the last possible moment.
Rest on the side rails of the treadmill for 2 minutes before beginning 5 sprints for a duration of 10 seconds, with a 20-second rest between each. Rest 1 minute before walking at 3-3.5mph for 12 minutes at 15% incline.
Each time you do these sprints, try to beat your time on the first sprint from the previous workout. My best time ever is 1:32, but when I started doing this workout once a week it took me 6 weeks or so to finally break the 1 minute barrier. I have to feel really good to get in the 1:20's.
Remember to listen to your body - you may be sore the day after either of the Hill Sprint routines and need to either rest your legs or just run light to loosen them up.
5. 20-Minute Beatdown
|Rounds: 5 (20min. Total)|
I almost called this one the "60 second beat down,” but that would be misleading. Each set is a 1-minute beat down and you gotta get thru 20 of them to finish!
Start by turning on a treadmill and leaving it running at a speed faster than you would normally jog. My normal jogging speed is 8mph, so I set the treadmill to 9mph for this one and may even crank it up to 10mph towards the end.
Alternate 1-minute runs in between 1-minute sets of chine-ups and push-ups until you have done 5 sets of each exercise and 10 1-minute runs.
The key is to do as many chin ups as possible in 1 minute, even if that means resting briefly and letting go of the bar a few times. During the push-up sets my goal is to always stay in perfect position, so even if I can't do any more reps I continue to hold the "push up plank" until time runs out.
This one really lives up to its name.
6. VO2 Challenge
|12-14 minutes||17% (In theory...I've never seen anyone go this long)|
OK, so this one isn't really an interval workout other than the fact that the incline goes up every 2 minutes, but I had to include it anyway because it's such a shock to the system that every time I'm brave enough to attempt it I wake up leaner the next day.
This is very similar to the actual VO2 Max test that the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs uses to test our Team USA wrestlers.
Start with a treadmill running at 7mph (for female athletes I usually use 6mph) and set at 2% incline. The speed stays constant but every 2 minutes raise the incline by +2.5%.
Stay on as long as you can, pushing yourself to complete exhaustion. I only recommend doing this one once or twice per month. My best time on this is 11:11 (11:04 the day of the video).
So now you have no excuse for avoiding the treadmill. I’ve given you 6 routines that will push you to the limit and keep your training from getting stagnant. Pick one of these routines to do each day, either paired with your normal weightlifting routine or as a separate second workout for the day.
Attacking one of these first thing in the morning will only increase the benefits and send your metabolism soaring for the rest of the day. Like any program, the key is consistency. Don't just try one of these workouts every once in awhile. Start doing them regularly TODAY and you will be ready to show off those strong abs in no time.