Treadmill Workout Fail (NOT GOOD!)

Trade in your treadmill workout and build ripped, athletic muscle here

Treadmill workouts are by far the most popular workouts done in gyms and home every day. While they may help you to burn some excess calories and lose some fat, they come at the expense of some pretty significant negatives. In this video, I show you the number one problem with relying heavily on treadmill workouts to get in shape.

Treadmills are not able to mimic the muscular demands of running outdoors because of the activity of the belt. The motorized belt passively takes your hips into extension, nullifying the need for the glutes and hamstring muscles to do that work for you. When you run outside, your body has to use both the hamstrings and glutes to propel your body through stance phase to initiate the next swing of the leg to move your body forward.

If you spend the majority of your cardio workouts running on a treadmill, you will no doubt have an underdeveloped posterior chain (namely the glutes and hamstring muscles) that will cause imbalances in your function when you go do other exercises that require balanced strength in your legs.

It is not uncommon for people that run on the treadmill and do mostly treadmill workouts to see more hamstring strains and injuries than those that run mostly outside. In comparing running on a treadmill vs running outside, this is actually just one of the major differences. I did a complete video covering two others that are just as important.

If you want to build stronger legs while getting ripped and burning fat, it’s time you look elsewhere than the treadmill for your work outs. If you want to lose weight but build muscle at the same time, then check out the burst training workouts in the ATHLEAN-X Training System available at

For more treadmill workout fails and problems with relying heavily on treadmills for your fat burning workouts, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at

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22 Comments

  • Kenny32176 says:

    Thanks almost bought one

  • It was bit different for me. I had better timing in half marathon by training on a treadmill compared to training outside on road plus less impact on my knees. Surely I will try the motor off option for warm up before running with motor on, thanks.

  • I run with a high incline and running outdoors is easier at times

  • netauri123 says:

    I'm good with physics
    when you give a step in the treadmill, there is a force in a diagonal direction in the forward leg which can be divided in two components, one pointing upward, and the other pointing backward. That force goes trough your leg and end up in your upper body.

    As physics says: F=ma (force = mass times acceleration)

    The upward force component is compensated by the force of gravity, so your body doens't move vertically

    Now, if there's a backward force component in your upper body there's also an acceleration there, which will move your upper body backwards in the treadmill. That means that you'll have to use your glutes and your hamstrings to compensate that.

    But, because of air resistance, the glutes and the hamstrings will be less used in a treadmill

  • CHARANRAJ J says:

    I don't no why this video as less view
    Compared to other videos of athlean x
    It's important for all threadmill users

  • Four years later and I came back to rewatch this video to make sure I understood it correctly. Somehow these videos "stick" with me

  • You are best fitness trainer in the world.

  • Can you elaborate on the 7 min mile comment, I do run under 7 min miles but I dont understand what time has to do with the functionality of the exercise. I treadmill run a lot in the winter, just looking to get the most out of my time.
    Also what if you strapped a band around your waist or hips and to pull you rearward, would that help with the lack of hamstring engagement?

  • treadmills are bad for knees

  • Hey Jeff. I know this video is old. But taking a chance to ask. What do you think about the curved treadmill with no motor?

    Im preparing for a police entry pt test.

  • Sy Do says:

    Tredmill blows. Either way

  • OGLow Brown says:

    DUDE!! ur videos are fucking AWESOME,
    Seriously, it can't be even more clear.

    Been following u now for 3 weeks.

  • idk..i use max incline and my glutes/hams and calves take a beating. So much so that i cant pull the same deadlift numbers on a day where i do cardio in the AM. For me anyway, my posterior chain gets hammered.

  • ever since I took up running 3-4 years ago, I never attempted an outdoor jog.  I was under the misconception that a treadmill is just as good until I saw this video.

    thanks Jeff

  • Well, my treadmill is a manual one, no power at all.  it is also inclined, and has a resistance dial.  It takes my legs a lot of effort to keep it going at all, if I stop, it stops almost instantly.  So…. Is that ok?  I know my leg workouts kill me if I hit the treadmill first.

  • I like this guy, because he knows what he's talking about. And it doesn't really take a genius to realize that you're not pushing your foot off the ground when you're on a treadmill at each step, as opposite to running on the ground.
    I'll try to incorporate actual running to my workouts instead of the treadmill. Thanks, Jeff.

  • Howard Jones says:

    A little anecdotal evidence.  I've been in the military for 18 years which for 18 years I've been forced to run distances and speeds well beyond wht I would consider comfortable or conduscive to joint health but all this running is in essence to prepare for physical fitness test which a component of is a time mile and a half run.  I've trained on treadmills for my test and gone out and had a fair amount of success.  Around 11:30 mile and a half.  When I began training outdoors and running on solid surfaces all the time my time was reduced by almost 2 minutes.  Being the curious individual that I am I decided to use progressive increase on the treadmill again and then take my test. Low and behold 11:21.  Then on the ground, back to 10s.  I then decided to put some of the guys in my unit through the same gauntlet and the results were identical.  Without becoming technical the treadmill does remove some of the stress on the muscles for running.  It is assisting with your forward motion albeit ever so slightly but enough over a long enough period of time to have a noteable effect on time.  Proof is in the pudding and if you disagree feel free to but I'll put up one of my ground runners to your treadmill runners any day and you will lose.  If thats not enough anecdotal prrof then go ask any marathon WINNER where they spen the majority of their time training.  I'll venture to say that 9 out of 10 times he or she will not say treadmill

  • I walk on the tread mill, grade at 14 or 15, speed varies between 3 to 6.5 once I'm ready to fail at high speed I drop the speed and incline for 1 minute… then back up I go. when I'm done my work out I feel it, I'm drenched in sweat, my legs done. one can argue till your blue in the face… just get out and get busy, work it, walk, run, weights no matter just do …. I love the words "I do today what others won't so tomorrow I can do what others cant"  

  • Alex Jasso says:

    I think it depends how long you're able to do each exercise. When I run outdoors I always do interval training (1 min run 1 min walk) because I can't run for 30 min nonstop. But when I'm on a treadmill I'm able to go past 45 min nonstop.

  • IA says:

    People are over-complicating things. The simple fact of the matter is anyone who runs 1 mile on a tread mill and 1 mile outside will notice a difference in the workout afterwards. Anyone who thinks a treadmill is an equivalent or as good needs to do a 6 minute mile pace on a treadmill and a 6 minute mile pace outside. Over the winter I've utilized a treadmill and have had some gains in my 1.5 mile run time. But that's only cause the alternative was not running at all due to poor weather.

    Jeff I'd like to see a vid on improving cardio/ muscular endurance as a whole.

  • Wavychris says:

    The things he's saying is somewhat true , and I agree with him . When I run on a treadmill , I usually do 2 miles and half or maybe 3 miles and I'm not that tired . But when started running outside , I'm gassed by half a mile . Like wtf lol