How to Stop Holding Handrails on Treadmill Machine

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Have you too been holding the handrails of your treadmill just because they are there? Apologies for this reality check, but you have been doing so wrong to your body all this time. Holding the handrails while exercising on your treadmill kind of kills the power of your workout.

Treadmill Handrails Can Ruin Your Workout

They can ruin your posture and body alignment. They also never give the real running feel. They decrease the calorie burning rate.

Why You Shouldn’t Hold Treadmill Handrails

There are several reasons as to why gripping the handrails reduces the effectiveness of your workout:

  • Trust me when I say this, It turns walking into ‘make-believe walking’ and running into ‘fake-running’. 

“It’s a bad habit that takes away all of the benefits of running or walking.” — Matt Nolan, an instructor at Barry᾽s Bootcamp.

  • The calorie burn is reduced as you will not have to put in the same amount of energy as compared to running or walking freely.
  • The effect of incline is reduced.
Young Woman Jogging on Treadmill
Young Woman Jogging on Treadmill — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

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Ways to Stop Holding Treadmill Handrails for Good

Unless there is a medical reason that requires you to hold on to the rails, or you are just a nervous beginner, there is no point in using the handrails. In fact, you would feel that your workouts are getting better when you are performing them without using the treadmill handrails.

Treadmill handrails are there for support only. They do not help you get a better workout. But many people believe that holding handrails can help them stay on the machine for longer. That is simply not the case.

Here is how you can avoid using them:

Slow Your Treadmill Down

Set your treadmill at a slower speed than that at which you used to exercise while holding the handrails. This will help maintain your balance and in no way, lessens the result of your workout. Running on the machine with your hands all free will give an equal or even better result than putting all your weight on the handrails. It is better to start at a very slow speed and then accelerate as you become more and more comfortable with free running.


Maintain a Good Posture

The most important thing to be kept in mind while running on a treadmill machine is to maintain a posture that you adopt while running on the ground. Your body should be upright and not leaning. Raise yourself from your hips. Do not look down, keep your head straight up as if a string is attached to it. Your abdominal muscles should be kept tight and hip muscles tucked in. Arthritis Foundation suggests that you relax your arms at your sides and allow them to swing naturally as they do when you are walking on the ground. This posture allows you to not only walk or run properly but also breathe fully.

Hold on, if you are thinking of watching a video or reading a book while working out, keep the screen or book on the right level so that you maintain the right posture.

Tip:  Don’t worry if you are not able to maintain a healthy posture while running in the beginning. You will get better at it with time. So, just stay consistent and keep working out on the treadmill machine. 

Our body can adapt to changes and running on a treadmill is also a motion that it can easily adapt with time.

Keep Treadmill Incline to Lower Angle

It is better that you keep the incline at zero or somewhere near zero when you start walking on the treadmill machine without holding railings. You should start slow and then slowly increase the speed so that you have enough time to balance. This will give you more time to be able to maintain your balance even at higher inclines. Once you are used to a steady walk without the rails, you can conveniently vary the pace and incline according to your desired workout intensity.


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Still Afraid of Falling? Use the Safety Cord Instead

If you are afraid to fall, we have an alternative for you. Use the safety cord. It will stop the treadmill immediately if you stumble or fall, preventing you from injury.

Safety Cord with Magnet

Make sure that you attach the safety cord with the magnet to your collar or at least your clothes. So, if you accidentally fall or get far from the treadmill railings, the magnet will come off and it will stop the treadmill machine for good.

By and large, to get the most benefit from your workouts, you will have to stop holding onto handrails. 

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Isn’t it better to let things go sometimes? 

Practice Helps Maintain Balance

Don’t rush it. As you practice more often by running on the treadmill without handrails, you will be able to go faster and use incline levels. It will be because you will start to develop better balance and ability over days and weeks. However, it is suggested that you use the handrails in inevitable and unavoidable situations such as medical requirements, in case of any incident, or as a beginner.

How To Maintain Balance On Treadmill Machine?

You start with 1 minute sprint instead of an 8 minute sprint.

You should have incremental sprints. In the first spring, you should have

  • 1 minute sprint – Do 100 meters to 200 meters
  • 2 minute sprint – Do 200 meters to 300 meters
  • 3 minute sprint – Do 300 meters to 400 meters

This makes it total 6 minute sprint on the treadmill.

Now, it is easier to stop holding the rails for a single minute instead of for the whole 3-minute sprint.

Try it for two weeks and soon you will be able to workout without holding rails of the treadmill machine.


Treadmill Workout Infographics To Do Without Holding Treadmill Rails

Here are a few good infographics about how to get started with Treadmill Workouts if you are a total beginner.

Running for Beginners: Increasing Pace – The Real Life

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In this infographic by real life, you break your treadmill workouts in to Walk-Run-Sprint. This way you start slow, start easy, and then have a small sprint.

It builds your stamina and helps you maintain balance on the treadmill machine without making you dizzy

Member App | Treadmill workout beginner, Workout apps, Treadmill ...

This treadmill workout infographic by FitSense also works in the same way. They have replaced the Walk-Run-Sprint to Walk-Jog-Run-Cool Down.

The workout is of 25 minutes and it is great for beginners and professionals alike. of course you can reduce the time in the beginning and gradually increase it once you are comfortable on the treadmill machine.

Also, make sure that you don’t hold the treadmill hand rails while working out.


FAQs for Holding Treadmill Machine

  • What if I fall from the treadmill without holding the railings?

You need to have the safety cord attached with you. When you fall, or when you get away from the treadmill LCD panel, the connection will cut off immediately. It means you will be able to safely get off the treadmill machine without hurting yourself.

  • Can I get more stamina if I stop holding treadmill handrails?

Yes! You will get more stamina if you run on the treadmill machine without the support. Treadmill handrails act as a support and they stop you from going over the limits. 

Just start slow and soon you will feel that you have more stamina and endurance. 

  • Can Holding Treadmill Rails Impact Calorie Burn Rate?

Yes it can. When you hold the treadmill rails you are shifting weight from your feet to the holding rails. So, in short, you are doing less work than what you would have done when you had not held the rails. It leads to lower calorie burn rate because the workout is not effective.
Best way to burn more calories is by not holding the treadmill rails at all.

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