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A treadmill will activate a number of muscles in your hips, thighs and lower legs.
Chris Clinton/Photodisc/Getty Images
A treadmill machine allows you to walk or run over a set distance without the need for lots of space. It's a great way to give yourself a cardiovascular workout, the intensity of which is in your hands. Further, a treadmill activates a number of key muscles in your thigh, midsection, calves and butt, helping you to shape and tone while building a strong core and powerful legs.
A Flexible Approach
When you move your hips forward while using a treadmill to walk or run, you engage your hip flexors. These include your pectineus, tensor fasciae latae and iliopsoas muscles. The other major group of muscles used are the ones in your thigh, specifically your sartorius, adductor longus and brevis. Also engaged are your quadriceps, a group of muscles located at the front of your thighs.
Firm Butts and Thighs Win the Prize
As your hips tilt backward after every step you take on the treadmill, your butt and the back of your thighs will feel the burn. The muscle that gets the workout in your butt is called your gluteus maximus. The muscles activated in the back of your thighs are the long head of your biceps femoris, your semimembranosus and your semitendinosus. Finally, there are a pair of hip flexor muscles at the tops of your inner thighs that also work, and these are called your adductor magnus.
The Two-legged Calf
As you move your feet to walk, jog or run on a treadmill, your ankle is used, which means that the muscles in your calfs get a workout. Specific muscles include your gastrocnemius and soleus. There are also a number of deeper muscles and flexors such as your tibialis posterior and plantaris muscles, and your digitotium longus and hallucis posterior flexors.
Putting Your Back Into It
Your side and back muscles give you support as you walk, jog or run. Your obliques -- or side muscles -- psoas and iliacus hip flexors, and muscles deep in your back called the quadratus lumborum, will all be activated. The activated muscles that support your back and trunk include your iliocastalis thoracis and lumborum, and your rotatores and multifidus muscles.
Protecting Your Shin
Final groups of muscles activated include your gluteus minimus and medius during a hip movement called hip abduction, which are at the outer top area where your butt meets your thigh. A number of muscles covering your shin are also engaged, which include your peroneus tertius, tibialis anterior, extensor helices longus and extension digitorum longus.