What Muscles Does Treadmill Work? Science and Facts

They could be big and difficult to place, but a treadmill is definitely one of the best pieces of exercise equipment you can own.


Let me explain: 

Treadmills engage muscles throughout your entire body; toning them along as you burn calories. And to top it off, it also works your cardiovascular system – keeping your heart healthy and in shape!

It can be adjusted to tons of different needs, either you desire a healthy walk, or you want to jog, run – or even sprint, a solid treadmill will serve you well!

The truth is:

No matter what you use your treadmill for, your muscles are being worked out.

Read on and find out exactly what muscles a treadmill work the most. Some of the science might even surprise you!

What Muscles Does a Treadmill Work?

I get it. Before checking out the best treadmill for home use you want to know why on earth you should be considering one of them, right?

Well, let’s look at 7 of the most notable muscles running on a treadmill will positively affect:

Your Heart

As you know, your heart is by far the most important muscle in your body.

Luckily, when you work out on a treadmill, the heart will get its fair share of a beating!

The treadmill will generally exercise your entire cardiovascular system:

  • Your heart rate is improved,
  • your heart becomes strengthened
  • and your overall health is improved.

Sounds good, or what?

Research shows that running on a treadmill can give you the same intensity workout as a run on the road. Runners exert the same amount of effort whether they run on a treadmill or run on a track.

Reference: health.clevelandclinic.org – How to Get Your Best Heart Workout on a Treadmill

The Important Core Muscle

When you run or walk, the ‘core’ muscles keep your body erect.

The core muscle is located in the area between your rib cage and your hips, working as the armed steel in a concrete construction.

During a treadmill workout, these important muscles will constantly work keeping your body upright and firm!

PRO TIP: Try flexing your abdomens while doing your morning stroll or jog. Yeah, it might seem hard keeping your core tight while doing your exercise – but the fact is that by doing this you will massively increase the effect your workout will have on your core muscle! 


The gastrocnemius and soleus are located at the back of your calves.

These muscles act as stabilizers when you walk or run. NB! It is important that you stretch them on a regular basis!


Whether you are walking or sprinting, your calves will become strengthened when you work out on a treadmill.

To “up the calves game”:

Increase your treadmill incline.

Try walking on an upward incline of 9 degrees and feel how your calve muscles become activated.

Quadriceps: The Front of Your Thighs

The quadriceps is located on the front of the thighs.

They do most of the work in both walking and running.

When you exercise on a treadmill, your quads will constantly be working.

As with your calves, you get a good extra impact by increasing the incline on your treadmill

Hamstrings: The Back of Your Thighs

Have you ever been caught up with muscle pulls around your thighs?

It can be really painful -especially if it forced you to drop out of a game or competition.

Your hamstrings are the muscles located at the back of your thighs and they require regular working out to keep clear from injuries.

Lucky you:

Whenever you exercise on a treadmill, your hamstrings are worked out. Increase the incline to increase the load on the muscles. With time you will see results shown as both added acceleration and agility.

The Glutes, aka Your Butt

When you run, some of your muscles provide the propulsion.

The glutes are a three-part muscle group located in the buttocks. They include the:

  • Gluteus maximum,
  • gluteus medius and
  • gluteus minimus.

Together they are called the gluteus muscles and they work together with the hamstrings to provide needed support to help lift your knee off the belt.

These butt muscles are worked intensely when you walk or run on a treadmill!

Iliotibial (IT) Band: The Outside of Your Thighs

These muscles are positioned on the outside of the thigh.

Whenever you run on a treadmill, they act as a stabilizer to your legs. The level surface of the treadmill helps to work out this tough fiber around the thighs.

Strengthening the iliotibial band is essential for keeping you away from the IT band syndrome – a painful injury you do not want to get!

Final Words: Now You Know What Muscles Does Treadmill Work

So, now you can see the beauty of a treadmill exercise – right?

It works out major muscles throughout your whole body, making your body both stronger and healthier!

When you walk or run in an incline or decline mode, muscles around your hips, thighs, calves, legs, and ankles are worked out and strengthened even more than they will while working out on a level surface.

Want to add a new element to the workout?

You can work out your upper body muscles as well by using a set of dumbbells while doing your jog!

Getting yourself a treadmill to your home gym will definitely be an investment worth considering.

Not sure if a treadmill is for you? No worries! There are tons of brilliant exercise equipment available, whether you want to build muscle or do cardio! Check out my ultimate guide on at home cardio equipment for a truck lorry of alternatives!

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