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Can You Use Dumbbells on a Treadmill?

You can get even more out of your treadmill workout if you add dumbbells to your regimen. Due to the increased swinging motion of your arms while holding dumbbells, you add intensity to the workout and derive greater cardiovascular benefits. Use a light-weight pair of dumbbells -- no more than 3 pounds -- to protect the joints of your shoulders, elbows and wrists.

  1. Adjust your treadmill's speed to its lowest setting. When you use dumbbells, you're unable to quickly grab the treadmill's safety bars in the event of a fall. It's best to start slow to avoid an accidental fall.

  2. Hold evenly weighted dumbbells in each hand. Start with 1/4- or 1/2-pound dumbbells. You can add more weight later as you get used to jogging with dumbbells, but anything heavier than 1/2-pound poses safety hazards for a beginner.

  3. Bend your elbows at a 45- to 90-degree angle as is comfortable for your jogging pace. Don't over-think the bending angle, just slightly bend your elbow in whatever motion feels natural.

  4. Swing your left arm forward in unison with your right leg, and vice versa. Swinging the opposite arm of your leg extension promotes a natural jogging gait.

  5. Get off the treadmill if you are too winded to carry on a brief 30-second conversation. Dumbbells make the workout more intense, and you will tire faster. Take regular breaks to prevent exhaustion.


    Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.

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Things Needed

  • Two dumbbells, 1/4 to 3 pounds

About the Author

Richard Kalinowski began writing professionally in 2006. He also works as a website programmer and graphic designer for several clients. Kalinowski holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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