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Are Deadmills Bad For The Treadmill? Should You Do Them?

Published by Kieran
Last Updated on November 3, 2021

Can I Do Deadmills On a Treadmill Or Will It Damage The Machine

If you are bored with your typical treadmill workout and want to push yourself further, you might have come across deadmill sprints which can be a great exercise to burn fat and use 100% of your effort.

Deadmills is effectively like an interval sprint and requires you to push the belt of your treadmill with your legs without it being turned on, which is very difficult.

So you might be wondering, is this okay for my treadmill? Well, there is no actual evidence that this can damage your treadmill, although you might want to take some caution and only do deadmills on old treadmills which have no use anymore, using the belt of a treadmill without a motor has the potential to cause some misalignment issues which could damage the machine.

You should also only do deadmills if you feel fit enough or capable, they are not for beginners or people with joint issues.

We have put together a short guide below to explain more about deadmills, the benefits of doing them and some example workouts for you to try on your treadmill if you are interested in giving them a go.

What Is a Deadmill?

As we mentioned above, deadmill sprints require you to sprint on the treadmill and move the belt when it's turned off, these sprints tend to be done in intervals as it is very hard, and are not to be done for more than 30 seconds at a time (unless you can handle it).

How To Do Deadmill Sprints

To do deadmill sprints on your treadmill you simply need to turn your treadmill off, lean your front body and arms against the front of the machine and start turning the belt with your lower legs, build-up momentum till you can turn the belt and sprint, do this for as many seconds as you can then rest and repeat.

How Many Calories Can I Burn With Deadmills & How Do I Make It Harder?

The number of calories you can burn by doing deadmill sprints is dependent on your current weight and fitness level, for example, someone who is unfit and weighs a lot will burn much more calories than someone lighter doing these sprints.

But just know, deadmills are not easy, thus burns a lot of calories when done in interval periods.

If you want to progress with your deadmill workouts and make them harder then you could try upping the incline of your treadmill before you unplug it, so as you performing the sprints uphill.

You could also increase the sprinting period and decrease the resting period, as well as adding more intervals if needed.

Will It Not Damage My Treadmill?

There is a 50/50 chance deadmills could damage your treadmill as it can put stress on your treadmill's motor as well as potentially cause the belt to become misaligned to the machine.

Doing deadmills on a treadmill should be done at your own risk, and preferably on an old treadmill that you don't care for anymore.

Who Should Not Try Deadmills?

First of all, anyone who is not comfortable doing this to the motor of their treadmill should not try it, it's not worth risking an expensive piece of equipment for some sprints.

You should also not try deadmills if you have joint issues as it can be very high impact and taxing on your lower body, beginners may also struggle with deadmills.

What Are The Benefits Of Deadmills?

If your wondering whether you should try deadmills or not and just stick to your normal interval sprints on the treadmill, we have got some surprising benefits of doing these sprints below which you may not have considered.

  • They can help you lose weight - Interval training is known to help you lose weight and shed the pounds as it shocks your body into using more energy to support high-intensity intervals of training.
  • Great for building lower body strength - To move the 'dead' belt of your treadmill requires a huge amount of lower body strength and is great for building muscles in your legs.
  • Increases endurance - To support yourself during deadmills you will need a high level of endurance to keep you going, doing this over time can help you build greater endurance.
  • They make a great finisher - After a normal session on your treadmill or even weight lifting, finishing off with deadmills is a great way to end a session and can keep you burning fat long after your workout.
  • Allow you to use 100% of your effort - There is no support from the motor when doing these sprints, meaning the effort you put in is 100% you, allowing you to push yourself.

Deadmill Workouts To Try On Your Treadmill

If you have decided you would like to try out some deadmills on your treadmill to see if you've got what it takes, we have put together some different workouts below for you to give a try.

Always warm-up well before doing any of these workouts otherwise your legs will likely lock-up.

For The Beginners

If it is your first time trying out deadmill sprints then you should start with this beginner workout.

  • Turn off your treadmill and lean on it with your front body and hands.
  • Push forward and run as hard as you can for 15 seconds.
  • Stand still and walk for 40 seconds to rest.
  • Repeat 7-8 times.

For The Advanced

For the fitter ones, give this workout a try and see if your legs can handle it!

  • 20 seconds sprint.
  • 30-second rest.
  • Repeat around 8-9 times.

Fully Body Workout With Deadmills

If you are interested in incorporating your deadmills into a full-body workout then read the below.

  • 3-minute warm-up walk on deadmill.
  • 10 push-ups & 10 sit-ups.
  • 20 squats.
  • 3 minutes walk again.
  • 20 push-ups.
  • One minute plank.
  • 30-second sprint on deadmill.
  • 40 lunges (20 on each side).
  • 30-second sprint.

Another Beginner

For another beginner deadmill workout you can try out this one below.

  • 15-second sprint.
  • 30-second rest.
  • Repeat 8 times.

Frequently Asked Questions About Doing Deadmills On a Treadmill

Aren't deadmills bad for the motor of your treadmill?

Deadmills are not proven to be bad for your treadmill, but it is understandably concerning you might put stress on the motor while turning the belt when it is off, this can be worrying if your treadmill is expensive, so it might be best to give deadmills as miss on your treadmill if you think it could damage the machine.

In some cases the track has also been reported to jump out of treadmills when being used for deadmills, so keep this in mind.

Can you do deadmills on any kind of treadmill? 

Yes, you can do a deadmill sprint on any kind of treadmill as long as it is turned off, do check with a gym or the owner of the treadmill first however as some people are not keen on this being performed on their machine.

How do you keep the incline when turning off the treadmill?

Some incline systems will automatically lower as you turn the treadmill off, to stop this you just unplug the treadmill straight from the wall.

What muscles can deadmills help strengthen?

Deadmills can help strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and quads in your legs.

Last Words

Overall, deadmills on your treadmill should only be performed if you don't mind the risk of damaging your machine's motor or belt, for example, if you have an old treadmill that isn't used much anymore.

If you do decide to deadmills on your machine make sure you wear the right footwear for added grip when leaning into the machine and go easy as a beginner.

Happy sprinting!

About the author
Published by Kieran
A star athlete during his school days, Kieran quickly excelled at sports and in particular; football. Kieran's true passion lies in home exercise equipment, and so was was built as a source for all of Kieran's thoughts to be put down on a medium. Here he guides you through various nuances of working out at home, tips, guides, reviews and more.The only other thing Kieran enjoys more than working out, is writing about it.
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