Running on a treadmill…..No Activation of Hamstrings.

Running on a treadmill…..No Activation of Hamstrings.

While many of us love to run on a treadmill, or hit great speeds on a stationary bike (going nowhere fast) or treading the boards on a cross trainer these exercise give us no glut or hamstring activation or stimulate them to grow.

Some would argue that they are getting a great aerobic workout which is true, however when we resume running in the great outdoors we risk partial tearing of these fibres in these muscle groups. Therefore for the “ladies” there is less chance of reshaping these areas. Which, for some woman is the goal they are trying to achieve.

That shapely butt may become just a dream. You will be better served by some stair climbing, hill walking or if you are built for it, some road running.

The pitfalls for the treadmill and all other aerobic machines are a result of the way the machines operate. When looking at a stepper you will see that instead of having to contract your hamstrings and gluteus to propel your body up the stairs, it is the weight of your body that causes the machine to descend. Even if you think you are climbing up stairs when on a stepper, it is really not the same thing.

 Also when on the treadmill you are not stimulating the gluts anywhere close to the level that they need to be in order to place sufficient stress to get a response.

The other machines like the stepper and bike have the same inherent problems. When stepping forward on the stepper or pushing down on your bike pedal you do have to utilize the hamstrings and gluts. Then what happens is your other leg activates your quadriceps again. You are in fact eliminating the need for the hamstrings and gluts muscles to perform these gym bound exercises. Some cyclists that do activate their hamstrings when they pedal will be pulling up the pedal when they ride on these stationary bikes provide they are clipped in. Look at the physique of a runner, sprinter and that of a cyclist. You will see that those runners who actually train outside do have well developed quads, hams and gluteus. Cyclists on the other hand have much larger quadriceps in proportion to their hamstrings, because the main movement is done with the quads.

I am not against using machines each piece of equipment have their uses, however we need to be aware of what it is we are actually trying to achieve here when programming clients.


John Hart

“Master’s In Education” (Disability) Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

2 Responses to “Running on a treadmill…..No Activation of Hamstrings.”

  1. Shannon May 28, 2011 at 9:23 am Permalink

    Great article johny! Hmmmm, think I’ll be hitting the pavement now.

    • John June 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm Permalink

      Thanks Miss Universe great to hear from you hope your training is going well and u still look as sensational as usual :)
      John x

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