Before you pick up the mph, try this warm-up from Caitlin Drap, Full Throttle Endurance Triathlon Team coach at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, Connecticut. At a slow, controlled speed, do 30 to 60 seconds of lateral shuffles in each direction, then walk or jog backward for 30 to 60 seconds (using the handrails for support throughout). "It fires up opposing muscle groups and opens up your hips and thighs, which will help you run better during your workout," says Drap.
- Create as much space as you can between your shoulders and ears.
- Keep your neck neutral (not looking down or up) and head forward. (So if you're planning to watch TV, pick a treadmill in the right spot.)
- Shorter strides and a faster cadence (how many times your feet hit the ground in one minute) will help keep you running in the middle of the revolving belt.
You set the pace of this total-body cardio machine—and the object is not to climb as many rungs as fast as possible, says Jay Blahnik, a fitness instructor in Laguna Beach, California. Climb at a controlled, steady pace for 30 seconds to two minutes, then rest for 10 seconds. "Think of it like a set of pushups."
Perfect Your Form:
- Secure the safety strap around your waist. Once you climb on the machine, the strap will pull tight and activate the ladder.
- Your power and stamina will come from your core—keep your abs, back, and butt engaged at all times.
- Intimidated? Grab a trainer, who can show you how to use it and help you get set up.