5 reasons why treadmills and ellipticals suck...

Treadmills suck

Written by Mike Geary

Now that I pissed off all of the treadmill and elliptical worshipers... let me say that if you truly enjoy mindlessly pumping away on a treadmill or elliptical (or exercise bike for that matter too), then by all means, keep doing what you enjoy, because enjoying your exercise is one of the most important aspects to sticking with any exercise program...

Treadmills suck

However, don't say that I didn't warn you that you were wasting your time with all that mindless cardio machine boredom.

If I haven't mentioned it before, I don't believe in cardio machines, and to be quite honest, I don't think I've personally used a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike for at least the last 7-8 years or so.

As a matter of fact, I don't even use cardio machines anymore for warmups before a workout (did before occasionally)... Nowadays, I prefer to do dumbbell or kettlebell snatches and swings mixed with bodyweight exercises as the perfect full body warmup at the beginning of my workouts.

Why do I have such hatred for cardio machines? Well, here goes:

  1. Boooooring!
  2. Mindless steady state exercise while watching tv or reading creates a mind/body disconnect resulting in poor results
  3. I've seen studies that indicated that treadmill running may be less effective than outdoor running for various reasons such as stride abnormalities on treadmills vs natural running, slightly less caloric burn compared to outdoor running, etc.
  4. (although I never recommend just "jogging" anyway... variable intensity walks/runs or sprints are so much more effective, training your heart rate in a much wider range instead of just the same pace the whole time).

  5. They're ridiculously expensive and a waste of money for people that workout at home... there's so many better things for home workouts you could have spent your money on rather than wasting it on a treadmill, bike, or ellip.

    The perfect home gym setup is MUCH cheaper... there's no reason you need anything other than a jump rope, bodyweight exercises, a few dumbbells, stability ball, maybe a few kettlebells (if you want to get fancy), and perhaps high tension bands for some more variety.

  6. Treadmills and ellipticals are just a very ineffective way to workout compared to other options. Why should you do treadmill or elliptical workouts when you can get better results by doing more interesting forms of training that actually stimulate a fat-burning hormonal response and stimulate your metabolism to a greater extent.

So what are the alternatives to treadmills and ellips? Some of my favorites:

  • jumping rope - great mind/body connection (try speed jumping, crosses, double jumps once you get skilled at it)
  • bodyweight training - bw squats, pushups, lunges, jumps, bear crawls, mountain climbers and jumpers, planks, and the list goes on and on
  • kettlebell training - nothing will get your heart pounding like high repetition KB swings and snatches or clean & presses (can be done with dumbbells too, but I prefer KBs)
  • outdoor wind sprinting (the ultimate for a rock hard ripped body... just look at the chiseled powerful bodies of world class sprinters, and compare that to the weakling withered physique of a typical marathoner... nuff said!)
  • hill sprinting (yet another classic for a rock hard powerful body)
  • rowing machine (ok, I don't really lump this in as a "cardio" machine like treadmills and ellips... I think the rowing machine is actually a great full body workout that actually uses resistance)
  • sprint style swimming (a more muscular workout than steady state distance swimming... I actually love the upper body pump I get from sprint style swimming) - this is the same concept as sprinting vs jogging but in a pool instead
  • heavy bag punching/kicking workout, speed bag, rebound bag... all great forms of training and much more interesting than boring cardio machines (requires an intense mind/body connection)
  • shadow boxing... awesome workout, but if you're shy, this is best done at home since you'll get some crazy stares doing this at a typical gym from people who think they're "too cool" for stuff like that.
Average: 3.6 (12 votes)
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Hmm ... run on a spinning

v3ck's picture

Hmm ... run on a spinning belt for a couple thousand dollars or run on the ground for free? That is a very tough decision.

Ok, I completely agree with

deployedsgt's picture

Ok, I completely agree with your opinion that treadmills, elipticals, and stationary bikes suck. I just have one question, and that is how do build the endurance system? Basically, I have to do situps, pushups and run a mile and half every year for a physical fitness test in the Air Force. Though a mile and half is not a long distance to run; if I want to get faster I have to be able to endure the strain on my body. Should I not do similar exercises the increase my endurance and can I do that with the exercises above and receive the same result?

Sprinting is not for

justin's picture

Sprinting is not for endurance, you work different muscle fibers when you sprint then when you do long distance training.

I would recommend running out doors. Plan out a route that meets your 1.5 mile, or even a bit further. Practice it a few times a week and time yourself, for improvement.

whats the difference between

nick hults's picture

whats the difference between outdoor wind sprinting and tredmill sprinting?

So what do you do when its

Wileydeuce's picture

So what do you do when its about 115 outside too hot to run?

I have this passion for

dorothyJ's picture

I have this passion for working out. I'd like to lose weight in a way that I get to enjoy it and do it myself where I can say to myself that I did it on my own. It feels good to have done something for myself and I can say that I have accomplished something that I have been wanting to do. The ElliptiGO is a hybrid bicycle elliptical. Intended by an Ironman who could no longer run due to an injury, the ElliptiGO has been gaining interest. The gadget is an elliptical machine that works like a bicycle. The ElliptiGO has eight gears and works much like a bicycle. An ElliptiGO could be ridden just about anywhere you would ride a bicycle.

I Agree. Just a traditional

jillian_g's picture

I Agree. Just a traditional running at the park will do. Running is still the best exercise there is. It's been proven for so many years already. I also have some tips on my website on how to optimize your running, click here.

Based on experience, jogging

jillian_g's picture

Based on experience, jogging and running will beat those machines in the gym. It is always nice to smell fresh air when you jog in the park , with your brand new nike running shoes then meet your friends and new people there.

Treadmill and elliptical

anthonyh's picture

Treadmill and elliptical workouts are far too boring for most people to look forward to.Couple that with how ineffective they are and you are never going to build a successful weight loss program around them.
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Treadmills and elliptical

Derlierprossy's picture

Treadmills and elliptical machines are just a very ineffective way to workout compared to other options. Why should you do treadmill or elliptical workouts when you can get better results by doing more interesting forms of training that actually stimulate a fat-burning hormonal response and stimulate your metabolism to a greater extent.

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Treadmills and elliptical

Derlierprossy's picture

Treadmills and elliptical machines are just a very ineffective way to workout compared to other options. Why should you do treadmill or elliptical workouts when you can get better results by doing more interesting forms of training that actually stimulate a fat-burning hormonal response and stimulate your metabolism to a greater extent.

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As a thing of fact, I don't

lblotusbong288's picture

As a thing of fact, I don't yet use cardio machines anymore for warmups before a workout (did before occasionally)... Nowadays, I raise to do dope or kettlebell snatches and swings integrated with bodyweight exercises as the perfect whole body warmup at the beginning of my workouts.

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A treadmill is an exercise

Derlierprossy's picture

A treadmill is an exercise machine for running or walking while staying in one place. The word treadmill traditionally refers to a type of mill which was operated by a person or animal treading steps of a wheel to grind grain (see treadwheel.)digital photo frame

Very true dude! I enjoyed

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Very true dude! I enjoyed this little bit impression about treadmills and ellipticals suck.... Keep it up though!
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