T Nation


How easy is it to use a treadmill to train for sprinting? Do they go fast enough?

i don’t think you can sprint on a treadmill. most only go to 10 mph. some maybe up to 12 mph. a good sprint should be much more than that.

In addition to the max speed problem, you’re going to be spent before you even reach max speed, as most treadmills don’t react to speed changes fast enough to allow sprinting.

Are you fucking kidding me? You will get nothing out of sprint training on a treadmill. The only muscle that gets a work out on that piece of shit machine is the soas(the muscle that lifts your leg six inches). Get your ass out on the soft sand at the beach or pull a cart or drag a tire but DO NOT USE THE TREADMILL.

Sprint training on a treadmill is difficult, not as effective, and dangerous. Most commercial treadmills only go 10mph and the best industrial treadmills go 15mph at top speed. It is scary, dangerous and stupid to use the treadmill at those speeds and it is difficult to control at those speeds. It is also impossible to do good sprint/jog or walk intervals on a treadmill because the lag time to get up to speed is not good.

If you want to do sprint work on a treadmill. Set it at 10mph and 10-15% grade. Run for 30-60 seconds and then jump off and walk for 30-60 seconds and repeat. That is the only decent method that I've been able to do with treadmill sprint training.

A special treadmill is needed that will allow you to go fast enough. Check out Cris Carter’s FAST website and the Frappier Acceleration website.

I find sprint training to be highly effective because you have to overcome the inertia (resistance to change in movement) of your own body. On a treadmill, this is not an issue as the ground is moving and you…are not. Besides, they don’t go fast enough and you will look like a fag, i suggest going to the track bro. ~PorchDawg

Thanks everyone for the opinions.

I have to agree with Dawg on the Porch. With the surface moving, it pretty much does most of the work for you. So I doubt that you get much benefit from sprinting on a treadmill.

Here is a suggestion. Put the treadmill on the highest incline therefore you don’t have to go as fast but it will feel like a sprint.

I’ve got a different view (and experience). I use a commercial treadmill that goes to 10 mph, and OK I’m not in the greatest shape, and it’s not all-out sprinting, but but for me 30-60 seconds at 10 mpg gets my heart well into the 90% of max range. (I use small a gradient as well). (yesterday, e.g., I did 30 seconds at 10 mph and 90 seconds at 5 or 6, for about 15 minutes).

It takes about 10 seconds to get up to spead, and about 5 to 10 to slow down, and I find that’s OK. (I count that as part of the rest time).

As far as those who say that the treadmill doesn't create the same sort of workout because you don't have to overcome your body's inertia to accelerate, I don't think that's right. (Little digression: think of the (non-accelerating) frame of reference that is moving 5 mph backwards, i.e. with the treadmill surface. You have to accelerate relative to that frame of reference, and that's all that matters. Or think of it this way: if you literally jumped up and down on a treadmill, that is did not push forward (relative to the treadmill surface) you would in fact go backward relative to the gym. Or, would it matter if your whole outside track were on a giant truck moving 10 miles per hour backwards relative to your running direction?)

I know, outside running is harder, maybe because of lack of wind resistance inside? That’s why I add the gradient.

I guess if you really need to sprint all-out to get the benefit from the interval workouts, then treadmills won’t work.

I took cjack’s advice. That works well enough for the winter. I’m adding powerlifts throughout this season to add more strength for an explosive start.

Doing that incline thing makes it feel like I’m training for a 1500 meter insted of 50 yd. dash…but I could always be a distance runner.

I posted a question on my other “Gym Membership” message post about how to calculate calories burned during sprint training. Any ideas? I don’t imagine it’s the same as distance because of the rate of acceleration and short duration.

You failed physics didn’t you? And there is definitely no common sense in you.

Well, I didn’t fail physics (though my first degree is in applied math, not physics per se). And of course common sense on these basic things can be a bit misleading (ask Aristotle).

I admit I’m not 100% sure about this, and would welcome some intelligent rebuttal. But I think basic principle called Gallilean (sp?)equivalence is relevant: it says something like that the laws of motion are invariant when viewed from any non-accelerating frame of reference. That is, you can look at what’s going on on a treadmill from the point of view of the gym floor or of the treadmill floor, both are equally valid. (Of course, when you sprint really fast, special relativity comes into play, and this no longer holds. But I’m not that fast.) I’m not going to bother to repeat the rest of my explanation, but it still makes sense to me. Maybe your common sense is strongly influenced by the wind, which might in fact be somewhat important.