Fact or fiction: using treadmill handrails will negatively affect your cardio workout? Fact. 

We get it. Fatigue and steep inclines make it all too easy to reach out and grab those handles. But the truth is, treadmill handrails were designed as a safety measure, not armrests. Here are two reasons why you should resist the urge to hang on during your next cardio workout.

Cardio 101: Resist the Urge to Hang On

Treadmills are such a simple piece of equipment to operate that we often forget to use best practices. However, if you want to prevent injury and get the most out of your cardio workout it’s vital that you just say no to handrail holding. Here’s why:

  1. Reduced workout quality. Plain and simple: holding onto treadmill handles will sabotage calorie burn. Leaning on cardio equipment inadvertently takes weight off your lower body, making your workout easier. By reducing the amount of effort required to perform the exercise you reduce the amount of calories burned. Keep your hands off the handles to maximize your treadmill workout.

  2. Increased injuries. Holding onto treadmill handrails also creates improper body mechanics. The natural tendency is to lean forward when holding on, and this bad posture can lead to injury.

If you find it difficult to break the habit of hanging on you could be going too fast. You’re better off slowing to a pace that allows you to perform the cardio exercise safely, without holding on. 

Instead of leaning on handrails make it your goal to get your arms pumping. Doing so will not only prevent injury and increase calorie burn, it also gets your upper body involved in the workout. A plus, for sure!

Of course, if you become lightheaded during a cardio workout, by all means grab the handrails! That’s what they were designed for.