Don't Dread The Tread

The idea of 20 minutes on a treadmill may make you groan, but it doesn't have to be that way! Turn your treadmill workout into a calorie-torching full-body routine by adding intermittent bouts of strength training.

20 minute treadmill workout

Even the busiest, on-the-go woman can carve 20 minutes out of her day to fit in a workout. With this routine, all you need is access to a treadmill, a resistance band and a medicine ball or dumbbell. During the walking or running segments, you'll be using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale to gauge your intensity level. Just keep in mind that an RPE of one is equivalent to sitting still, while an RPE of 10 is a full-out sprint.

20-minute treadmill routine

When running or walking, set the incline of the treadmill to a minimum of one to mimic the feel of running outdoors. This workout includes 12 total minutes of walking or running and eight total minutes of full-body strength-training exercises.

  • 0:00-3:00: Treadmill walk or run — gradually increase your intensity level from a 4 to 6 RPE
  • 3:01-3:30: Split squat with right foot on treadmill, holding a medicine ball or dumbbell
  • 3:31-4:30: Resistance band row
  • 4:31-5:00: Split squat with left foot on treadmill, holding a medicine ball or dumbbell
  • 5:01-6:00: Treadmill walk or run at RPE 7
  • 6:01-7:00: Treadmill walk or run at RPE 8
  • 7:01-7:30: One-legged lunge, right foot on treadmill
  • 7:31-8:00: One-legged lunge, left foot on treadmill
  • 8:01-9:00: V-sit bicycle on treadmill
  • 9:01-10:00: Treadmill walk or run at RPE 8
  • 10:01-11:00: Treadmill walk or run at RPE 7
  • 11:01-12:00: Treadmill push-up
  • 12:01-12:30: Resistance band shoulder press
  • 12:31-13:00: Resistance band overhead triceps extension
  • 13:01-14:00:Treadmill walk or run at RPE 9
  • 14:01-15:00: Treadmill walk or run at RPE 5
  • 15:01-15:30: One-legged bridge, left foot on treadmill
  • 15:31-16:00: One-legged bridge, right foot on treadmill
  • 16:01-17:00: Resistance band row
  • 17:00 - 20:00: Treadmill walk or run — start at RPE 7 and gradually decrease intensity to RPE 4
Tip: The treadmill belt will move, even if the treadmill is off, so use the foot supports along the sides of the treadmill as your balance points whenever possible.

Exercises

Between walking or running intervals, turn the treadmill off and perform these exercises, using the treadmill as a fitness tool.

Split squat

Plant one foot on the ground and carefully place your other foot on the treadmill belt, keeping most of your weight on the foot that's planted on the ground. Holding a medicine ball or dumbbell in front of your chest, perform a squat. Switch sides after 30 seconds.

Split squat

Resistance band row

Wrap a resistance band around the handle bars of the treadmill and hold the handles in each hand. Stand toward the back of the treadmill with your feet planted on the side rails and pull the resistance band to your body in a row movement, focusing the origination of the movement in your back.

Resistant band row

One-legged lunge

Stand behind the treadmill with your back to the machine. Place one foot on the edge of the side rail, with your other foot planted on the ground. Perform a series of lunges in this position before switching sides.

One legged lunge

V-sit bicycle

This exercise will challenge your core. Sit on the back edge of the treadmill with your body in a V-formation. Keeping your torso angled slightly backward, extend one leg fully, bring it back to your body, then extend the opposite leg. Continue alternating for the duration of the exercise.

V sit bicycle

Treadmill pushup

Plant your hands on the outside foot railing of the treadmill, your legs extended behind you. Perform a series of pushups in this position. Drop your knees to the floor to perform a modified pushup, if needed.

Treadmill pushup

Resistance band shoulder press

With the resistance band wrapped around the handle bars of the treadmill, plant your feet on the outer rails and grasp the resistance band handles in each hand, bringing them up to shoulder-height. Press the band up over your head to perform each repetition.

Resistance band shoulder press

Resistance band overhead triceps extension

With the resistance band wrapped around the handle bars of the treadmill, plant your feet on the outer rails and grasp the resistance band handles in each hand, extending your arms fully over your head. Lower the resistance band directly behind your head, keeping your elbows close to your ears before extending your arms back to the starting position.

Overhead trices extension

One-legged bridge

Lie on the ground behind the treadmill, planting one of your feet on one of the outer rails of the treadmill, extending your other leg fully. Lift your hips off the ground, pressing them up until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Lower your hips back toward the ground and repeat for the duration of the exercise before switching sides.

one legged bridge

More on healthy living

Pre-workout foods that burn more fat
Post-workout snacks that fuel afterburn
Stand up straight! Stretches that improve posture

Photo credits: Lance Williams, Girls Gone Sporty

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