Treadmill Incline Effect on Back?

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    Treadmill Incline Effect on Back?

    I use a treadmill for cardiovascular exercise on a pretty regular basis, and while I do enjoy it and find it effective, there was something that I was wondering about. I pretty much always put it on an incline, nothing too high, just level 1, and I've noticed that at certain points during my workout, especially later on, I tend to feel it in my lower back a bit. Not really in a way that I ever felt was particularly concerning or painful, just something that got my attention, in fact I'm guessing it's probably more along the lines of the muscles just being used. This hasn't really lasted past the workouts either, which I suppose might be because I always stretch after them, but it could also be minor enough that I wouldn't get any soreness anyway. Still though, I was just wondering if this was normal or not. I think it should also be noted that I do put the treadmill on a relatively high speed (last time I did it on Friday I was going at 7.7 miles an hour, and I usually increase the speed by 0.1 each time I do a new workout) and I also have pretty short legs (I'm not that tall at about 5'7, and even for my height they're proportionally short lol), so I might also be making large strides to keep up with the speed, and I'm guessing both of these factors might come into play here as well. Would just running on the treadmill at a high speed without the incline maybe be a better idea for a workout?

    #2
    You might want to try running on a regular surface to see if the feeling persists. Treadmills are a good alternate to not running at all, I have trained on them a lot in my life and sometimes still do, but training on a non controlled surface seems to work better for me.

    I am not an expert on the physiology of the movement at all, but I think that by removing variables from the running equation that you are able to move your body is a slightly different way, and therefore this could be causing the strain.

    Removing the incline could help, but training in running is best when mixing up everything - surface, speed, distance, route, elevation gain - so keeping in some runs with a treadmill on a surface would be good, but not to do it exclusively.

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      #3
      I think the issue might be coming from your form and not the incline itself, do you hit the threadmill with your heel or the ball of your feet ?

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        #4
        Ryuji Hmmmm, I'm honestly not sure, because I never really paid all that much attention to that. I'm guessing the ball of my foot though. But I'll check the next time I use the treadmill to be sure and get back to you about it.

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          #5
          Joseph MacDonald one other thing you may wish to consider... do you keep the treadmill at the same incline the whole time? I wonder if this is the beginning of a repetitive strain injury.

          Even on steep or long inclines, the terrain in nature is never exactly the same gradient for very long. Maybe try changing the incline during the workout (possibly even include short downhill sections if your treadmill will let you).

          Height shouldn't be a factor.

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            #6
            CaptainCanuck Oh, I've run outside plenty of times before and I still do sometimes when the weather is nice, and I've never gotten the feeling then, probably because I'm never running up or downhill for more than a few minutes. Oh yeah, they are for sure. I usually use one when the weather gets in the way of running outside, or I just want to go to the gym that day for something to do. That's funny, because I find that I'm actually the opposite way, since I always found the treadmill to be a bit more effective due to the settings that I can change and advance the difficulty.

            That would make sense.

            Yeah, I removed the incline when I was on the treadmill this Tuesday just as an experiment, and I didn't feel anything in my back. Granted I only did about 15 minutes, but still, the speed was pretty high, and I think it was enough time to be able to judge. That sounds like a good idea. I mostly tend to stick to running outside, although I do mix up my routes and occasionally use a treadmill or even running on the spot when the weather doesn't cooperate like I mentioned before.

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              #7
              Fair enough, everyone has their own preferences. I run outside as much as is possible, even going in -40 temp. I do have a treadmill at home but I use it only if I want to do a run and have no other options (which basically means I am watching the kids by myself)

              You should get some trail shoes and do some of the trails in the National Park. I would love to have those nearby.

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                #8
                Martyn Yeah, I do keep it on the same incline of 1.0 the whole time. As for the repetitive strain injury, I'm not sure, because I've only been doing this once a week lately at most, so it's not something I'm exposed to all the time.

                That's a good idea, but not really my thing personally. I think I would prefer to remove it then honestly.

                I didn't think it was specifically, I just figured maybe the length of my legs and how that related to my strides could have had an impact.

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