Attack the treadmill and work hard at maintaining a high level of intensity for big gains.
– Set the running machine to an incline of between 2 degrees and 10 degrees (8 degrees seems to be optimal). Your target body position is somewhere between prone and upright.
– Hold the crossbar and gradually increase the speed until your pace is such that you can push hard against the running belt through 90 percent of your stride (the last 10 percent being when you lift your foot to step forward).
– Keep your arms almost straight and focus on the connection between the force you put through your legs and the pressure you can feel as your hands are pushed against the crossbar.
– Work in this way for the duration of the interval, then slow down to recover, before speeding up again for the next interval.
This move isn’t a mainstream activity and you’ll probably never be taught it in a gym induction. Start slowly and build up the speed. If the running machine seems to be dragging you along then it’s moving much too fast. Aim for a speed at which you can generate intensity, but do so by pushing rather than a result of what usually occurs on a running machine, which is that you aim to keep up with the belt.
On a non-motor running machine, such as the Matrix S drive, you can let your head drop below the height of your hands, but I think it’s unrealistic to attempt this on a motorized machine. Instead, rather than assuming a double-handed Superman pose, keep looking up at the running machine’s console since this will encourage you to keep your chest raised up just enough to keep the force on the hands and minimize the risk of falling on your face on the running belt.
I’ve been using the new generation of running machines that don’t have a motor (self-powered running machines), the best of which has a function called ‘sled mode’, which offers a phenomenal level of intensity. This is possible because the machines have such awesome braking systems that you have to generate up to 118kg (260lb) of force just to move the belt. A conventional motorized running machine isn’t going to be able to deliver that kind of experience, but you can still use one to create the desired cardiac intensity and muscle fatigue.
Why this made the HIIT list
Sprinting is without a doubt a skill, and it may be that you have no desire (or feel you are too big or overweight) to accomplish the level of ability required to control yourself on a fast-moving running belt. This is where the ‘push model’ comes into play. It’s not as good as sprinting, but it’s certainly no slouch. This seems like as good a time as any to roll out my favorite mantra as it sums up every exercise in the Previous articles: ‘If you’re moving you’re improving, but if you also happen to be pushing, pulling, twisting or jumping then you are probably improving more than the guy who isn’t!’.
Sample push models