Set up the Treadmill at an Incline for a Workout More Like Outdoor Workout
In some ways, running on a treadmill can be worse than running outdoors. Mark’s Daily Apple explains how, along with a simple setup to help you get more out of your treadmill running: set it on an incline.
Aside from running on a flat, unchanging surface, rather than running outdoors, which forces your body to adapt, the treadmill does not engage your back chain (a muscle group that includes your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles) as much as it runs out outward:
Runners usually generate most of their strength from their back chains: the glutes and hamstrings. This is a hip extension using the gluteus muscles and hamstrings that propels the runner through the terrain. Since running on a treadmill reduces maximum hip extension, it instead promotes hip flexion, the already severely underdeveloped (from sitting, office work, and generally sedentary life) back chain gets even less attention. Why use your glutes to bring your leg back and your body forward when the treadmill does it for you?
Mark recommends setting the incline as this will engage the back chain more, citing research that showed running with a 1% rating “recreates the energy expenditure of running on a flat surface.”
Update: As pointed out in the comments, in the study cited, the difference between running on a treadmill and running outdoors with a 0% incline is only for speeds up to 7.5 mph (about an 8-minute mile).
Check out the full post for some more tips for improving your treadmill running … and why you might want to run more outdoors whenever possible.
5 Reasons to Run Outside Instead of a Treadmill | Daily Apple brand