5 surprising ways to use the treadmill

There's a reason it's nicknamed the "dreadmill." Though reliable, the cardio machine can quickly make for a dull, one-dimensional workout. But according to group fitness instructor and full-time treadmill coach David Siik, this machine is what you make of it, and a little creativity is all you need to take your treadmill session from boring to body-changing.

Watch the video to see him demonstrate these moves during a late-night rooftop session, and follow the tips below to integrate them into your own repertoire.

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1. Side Shuffles

"I recommend people keep their speed between 2.5-4.0. Going too slow actually makes it more difficult. Starting out in a fast walk, grab onto the front of the treadmill with your left hand and turn clockwise into the shuffle. Hold on until you feel comfortable, and eventually you'll be able to go hands-free, which is better for your form. Just keep your shoulders up, pushing off with the leg on the back of the treadmill. It's also important to do both sides the same amount of time as the push-off leg does more of the work."

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2. Plank With Push-Offs

"On a Woodway treadmill, get into Dynamic Mode. Push the On button, but before doing anything hold down the + and the – speed buttons simultaneously until the treadmill flashes and beeps (you will feel the belt disengage). You are then ready to start. With your feet on the floor behind the treadmill, get into a plank with your elbows on treadmill, or get into a straight-arm plank with hands on treadmill (this will be a slight incline plank). Then get up onto your hands if not already (into a push-up position with feet still on floor) and begin pushing the treadmill forward, like a bear crawl. Be sure to keep the length of push very small and compact.

This is a very advanced exercise and requires good shoulder strength and stability. An easier way to do this is to drop to your knees, put one hand on side of treadmill and simply push the treadmill forward five times with one hand, then switch and push off with other hand five times. First-timers should try it this way. You can alternate between a short set of push-off crawls and stationary incline plank."

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3. Mountain Climbers

"Set the treadmill to Dynamic Mode. This is the reverse position from the plank set above. Your feet are set about in the middle of the treadmill with your hands on the floor in a push-up position. Make sure your arms are straight down underneath your shoulders. Gripping the belt with your toes, begin mountain climbing, pushing the treadmill away from you."

4. Pike

"Set the treadmill to Dynamic Mode. Again, this is the reverse position from the plank set. Your feet are set about in the middle of the treadmill with your hands on the floor in a push-up position. Make sure your arms are straight down underneath your shoulders. Gripping with your toes, simply pull the treadmill backwards as your hips raise, eventually rising to top and into pike position. If you have good stability and strength you can hold at the top for a few seconds and gently return to first position (pushing the treadmill forward as your body straightens back out). This is also a great opportunity to do a few decline pushups after you return to straight arm plank."

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5. Self-Propelled Sprints

"Get into Dynamic Mode again. Add a little incline of 3-8 percent, grip the handles in the middle of the treadmill and begin running while pushing/holding onto the treadmill. Be sure to keep your shoulders up and your body closer to the front of treadmill (instead of extending your arms and compromising your back). I recommend a person does only 30 seconds or less of sprinting, then walk it out and repeat as desired. They're very difficult and simulate pushing a sled, as you must push you own body weight. An important thing to remember is that the steeper the incline, the easier you actually make it (gravity helps you move the treadmill). The most difficult way to do this is on a 0 percent incline."

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