Treadmills have long been one of the most simplistic exercise machines, making them versatile for a number of different workout styles and intensities.
Whether you’re looking for a low-impact, laid back cardio exercise, or something a little more intense, a treadmill can easily offer both ends of the spectrum.
High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a relatively new exercise technique that has exploded in popularity over the last several years.
Everyone from professional athletes to even astronauts have turned to HIIT for faster gains in their workouts, along with better stamina and cardio health. There are many different ways to do HIIT, and that certainly includes a treadmill as part of the equation.
This quick guide will walk you through the benefits of HIIT, and also a few different HIIT treadmill exercise routines you can do yourself, whether you’re a beginner, or advanced in your workout progress.
As the name suggests, HIIT is not for your off-days. At its core, HIIT is a cardiovascular exercise technique that utilizes low-intensity workouts that are alternated with short periods of maximum intensity.
Overall, the workouts are somewhat short in length (often around 20-25 minutes,) but when done correctly, they can provide your body with a very beneficial exercise regimen that is often more effective than hours of other types at one intensity.
This bodes well for those that may not have a lot of time for exercise, and also for those looking to boost their cardio, stamina, and general strength in between regular workout sessions.
There are a ton of advantages with HIIT, but we’ll keep it short and to the point.
In general, HIIT boosts your maximum oxygen intake capacity, which in turn increases your endurance and stamina. It also increases your body's effectiveness at oxidizing fats.
And as mentioned earlier, it’s also more efficient. According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, two weeks of HIIT improves your aerobic capacity just as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training does.
It’s also worth mentioning that HIIT stimulates the production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450 percent for 24 hours following the workout.
There are many different ways one can do HIIT, and that can include both inside and outside activities, such as biking, running, and even rowing. The treadmill is one of the best ways to incorporate HIIT into your weekly workouts.
Doing HIIT on a treadmill has some distinct benefits. For one, you get to workout in the comfort of your home gym, or whenever the treadmill is located.
Also, treadmills are incredibly versatile, and usually have numerous settings you can use that go beyond just speed. The simplistic nature of a treadmill also makes the training safer in most aspects, with less injury risk.
Running is one of the oldest and most fundamental exercises, after all, so incorporating a treadmill into HIIT makes perfect sense. Depending on your workout routine, a treadmill can be used for certain portions of the HIIT, adding some variety to your training.
Below are some great examples of HIIT exercises on a treadmill. We’ll start with an ideal workout for beginners who are just getting into HIIT and end with a higher level of routine for experts and advanced athletes.
Warning: If cardio exercise is new to you, do not begin HIIT until you’ve done two consistent months of standard cardio exercises with moderate intensity. HIIT may be inappropriate for people with certain cardiac conditions, so always consult your doctor before starting a new regimen.
Step 1 - Begin by walking or jogging at a slow pace. This helps get the blood flowing to your muscles, getting your body ready for what’s next. This should last for about 10 minutes.
Step 2 - Increase your speed to a maximum for next 30 seconds.
Step 3 - Decrease your speed to a light jog or fast-paced walk for exactly two minutes. (Your recovery time should be equal to three to five times the duration of the high-intensity portion.) For those that pushed it as hard as they possibly could, this will likely mean walking.
Step 4 - Begin to alternate the high-intensity segments with low-intensity segments for 20 to 30 minutes, back and forth.
Note: Incorporate HIIT into your workouts two times per week, but never on consecutive days. You must provide your muscles to rest at least 48 hours between sessions so they can repair and grow stronger.
Note: This exercise will require a treadmill with an incline.
Step 1 - Begin by walking at a normal pace for 3-5 minutes to get warmed up, and allow your blood to get flowing.
Step 2 - Begin sprinting at full speed for 30 seconds on, and 30 seconds off. Do this for 5 minutes, with the treadmill set to .05 incline.
Step 3 - Set the treadmill incline to 15.0. Begin doing climbing runs, for 5-10 minutes, taking two 30 second walking breaks. Your speed should be a little above a jogging pace when climbing.
Step 4 - Return the treadmill to 0.5 inclines. Begin doing sprints with the 30 seconds on/30 seconds off routine, this time for 10-15 minutes.
Step 5 - Set the incline back to 15.0, and repeat step 3 with the climbing runs, this time at a faster pace. During the final 30 second, increase speed to the maximum you can handle.
Step 6 - Return the incline to .05, and walk for 3-5 minutes to cool down.
Treadmills are an ideal way to work in HIIT a few times a week. Whether you are just starting out or looking for a way to reach new peaks with your performance, HIIT treadmill workouts are the perfect solution.
The above exercises are just two of many different ways you can do HIIT, so feel free to experiment with what you feel is comfortable, or even combine the treadmill training alongside some of your other favorite workouts. Good luck!