What Muscles Does A Treadmill Work?

Treadmill Running


By Simon Gould

Treadmills are great at working out the lower body. The act of walking and running uses the lower body most while sprinting uses the arms as well. It's a great fat burner and incorporates many of the leg muscles. Here we'll go through which muscles are worked out during walking and running and which muscles the incline enhances.

Walking and running

Walking and running uses all the leg muscles. First is the hamstring, these are the back of your thighs and as you stride you need to use these muscles. Then there are the quadriceps and these are in the front of your thighs. These are big muscles and help propel you forward and keep you going whatever speed you choose to do.

The calves which is the back of the lower leg get a good workout. When you push up after landing whether walking or running you use your calves. The glutes which are the muscles in your butt, these get a workout but not so much as the rest of the leg. Using the incline can help you work all your muscles in a different way.

Aerobic and anaerobic

There are 2 different ways of working your muscles. Aerobic exercise is what you do when you're running or walking and it's a steady pace. This works out your body well in that maintaining this intensity helps you burn calories and lose weight. You can maintain this intensity for a long period. This is the intensity you'd run a 10k or half marathon at.

Anaerobic exercise increases muscles mass. This is what weight lifting and brief high intensity training does. This helps you in many ways. It increases the amount of calories burned when not exercising because you're body needs energy to build up the muscle you used. It's good to get this type of workout in once or twice a week.

The incline helps you get anaerobic exercise and this uses more of some muscles than others. The incline set at 10% gives you a tough workout and is certainly not one you could do for a long period. Walking uphill which is what the incline does means you use more of your butt muscles, your quadriceps and calves.


Walking and running on an incline or not works out your muscles pretty well. Sprinting uses the core and the arms as well, note that sprinting on a treadmill is not the easier thing to do and only recommended for experienced treadmill users. If you're looking to get in shape then running on a treadmill is ideal, it will make you lose weight like no other exercise.

If you're looking to gain muscle then you're better off lifting weights with your legs to sculpt the lower body. If you're looking to tone your lower body and lose the weight around the frame then walking and running will do it. Nothing works the lower body muscles like a treadmill. So walk and run freely and enjoy it because it holds many benefits.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? See my top 3 recommended treadmills for 2021

Meet The Author

Simon Gould

I'm Simon Gould. I've been around treadmills my whole life. From running on them at an early age to working in treadmill dept's of national stores. I've run outside and I've run on treadmills and I prefer running on treadmills. I still run on one nearly every day and love it.

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