Although treadmills are hugely popular cardio workout machines, they tend to become monotonous over time. For that, some even refer to it as a moving belt that leads to nowhere! However, treadmill training should not be that boring!
Thanks to the different treadmill workouts you can perform using this equipment, you can easily keep your exercise routine interesting. But, which of these workouts can be considered effective?
Worry not! In this guide, I've listed some of the best effective treadmill workouts you can try out to keep your indoor training enjoyable. So, continue reading this blog post to learn different treadmill workouts that will help to increase your time on a treadmill.
7 Best Effective Treadmill Workouts for Every Type of Runner
Performing start & stop sprints or using a steady pace on a treadmill for 20 minutes provides an effective workout. Besides, the claims that performing vigorously intense 20-min exercises thrice a week is adequate to maintain your heart health.
1. Treadmill Interval Workout (HIIT)
High-Intensity Interval Training is an effective treadmill exercise for burning calories in a short period. Besides, many studies, including detailed research conducted in 2017, have backed this claim. In essence, it involves alternating rest and intervals/ sets of high-intensity workouts. Therefore, working extra hard for a short period and resting between the exercises will burn a considerable amount of calories. For that, it's considered one of the best treadmill workout routines for weight loss.
Besides, the body tries to return to the normal resting state after a HIIT treadmill workout. In the process, it metabolizes body fat to release energy. Similarly, this improves your fitness and boosts your heart rate.
That said, here's how you can perform HIIT treadmill workouts;
- Set the treadmill at 0% incline and walk/ jog for 5 min to warm up.
- Increase the treadmill speed to 9-10mph and run at a fast pace for 30 seconds
- Next, walk at 3-4mph for 1 min to recover
- Repeat the above 3 steps 5 - 10 times
- As you come towards the end of your workout session, walk for 5 min at 2mph to cool down.
Generally speaking, the rest intervals should be two times as long as your high-intensity intervals. However, you can add more minutes to each high-intensity interval for a more advanced workout. As an alternative, you can alternate between sprinting and jogging.
2. Treadmill Endurance Workout
Over the past years, endurance training has been abandoned by most trainers. But, surprisingly, it's still very effective, especially when it comes to running treadmill workouts performed at a steady pace. As the name suggests, these easy treadmill workouts build overall endurance. Also, you can perform the day after a more challenging training session like interval training or treadmill 5k training for active recovery.
Now that you've got an idea of what endurance training is, here is how you can do it on a treadmill;
- Jog/ walk at a leisurely pace for 5 to 10 min to warm up.
- Run for 1 minute at 1 to 2mph above a steady-state speed.
- Next, jog or walk at a moderate speed for 1 min until your heart rate recovers.
- Alternate recovery and run intervals until you feel fatigued.
- Lastly, finish your workout by jogging/ walking at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes to cool down.
3. Treadmill Sprint Workout
Sprint workout doesn't take a lot of time, yet it will leave you sweating by the end of the session. The training involves going at your maximum speed during the short sprint intervals. Then take longer rest periods to recover and catch your breath. This will break up the monotony of your regular treadmill workout and enhance your anaerobic capacity and power.
To do this training routine, follow these steps;
- Set your machine's incline level at 1%. Then start by jogging/ walking at a comfortable pace for 5 - 10 min to warm up.
- Sprint at your max-out speed for 15 seconds. In most cases, the heart rate reaches 85 - 90% of your maximum during this 15-second sprint.
- Recover with 1-2 min of moderate walking/ jogging until your heart rate comes back to normal (usually 120 - 130 beats/ minutes).
- Repeat these steps 9 more times, alternating recovery and spring intervals for 20 - 30 min.
- Finish the workout with a 5-min cooldown, which involves jogging/ walking at a comfortable pace.
4. Effective Treadmill Workout for Beginners
If you are new to treadmill running, this routine will help you develop your fitness. Although it involves walking intervals between each set, it will gradually build up your pace. Even better, this makes it a great treadmill workout for women and other users.
Moving on, here are the exercises to do on the treadmill with this workout;
- As always, start by jogging or walking on the treadmill for 5 min to warm-up
- Increase your treadmill speed to 3mph and jog for 2 minutes
- Walk for 1 minute to recover
- Raise the speed level by 1mph and jog for 2 minutes. So, if the last interval speed was 3mph, it should now be 4 mph.
- Walk for 1 min to recover
- Then increase the speed by 1mph again from the last interval and jog for 1.5 min.
- Alternate between run and walk intervals, increasing the speed after every interval but reducing the interval duration. Repeat this step until you reach a treadmill speed of 7 mph.
- For the last interval, run at the same speed for 45 seconds and walk for 1 minute to recover.
- Like with other treadmill workouts, jog or walk for 5 minutes at a leisurely pace to cool down.
5. 45 Minute Treadmill Workout
The 45-min treadmill workout routine comprises 3 sessions. That is the warm-up part, the exercise, and the cooldown session. However, the main workout session will be divided into 3 different intervals. More importantly, those intervals will be broken down into 1 or 2-min bursts of different intensities.
• Warm-up session
Before you get into the actual exercise, perform a 5-minute interval warm-up session. This plays an essential role in preparing the body for the workout. Better still, you can utilize this time to find the emergency stop, incline & speed buttons on your treadmill.
• Workout session
The workout session features 3 sets of intervals that become harder but shorter. Typically, the first interval takes 12 minutes, the 2nd session takes 11 minutes, and the 3rd interval takes 10 minutes.
Once you're done with the workout session, don't jump off the treadmill belt yet! Instead, slow walk on the machine for 5 minutes as you concentrate on your breath. Also, lower the incline and speed to bring down the heart rate slowly. You can also check your heart rate, calories burned or distance traveled on a treadmill workout app. Now, finish the workout routine by stretching your muscles for 2 minutes.
6. Treadmill Hill Workouts
Adding hills to your treadmill workout routine tends to make it more challenging. Consequently, the body is forced to work harder, hence burning more calories. Moreover, it builds more lean muscle mass by activating more muscles. On the same note, it improves your running form and efficiency and strengthens the entire body.
Generally speaking, the average speed of jogging on a treadmill is 4 - 6 mph. However, you can increase that speed in hill workouts or add more time to make the exercise harder. In addition, you should increase the incline level by 0.5% every minute until you reach a 4 -5% incline. Afterward, work in reverse until you get to the cooldown session.
That aside, here is how to perform an effective hill workout on a treadmill;
- Walk on the treadmill for 5 min at 2 mph at 0% incline/ flat level to warm up.
- Raise the machine's incline level to 1% and jog at 4-6 mph for 60 seconds.
- Increase the machine's incline by 1% after every minute. Repeat this process until the treadmill reaches an 8-10% incline.
- Next, perform a recovery jog or walk for 1 minute. Then start reducing the incline by 1% every minute. Continue with this training until you get to 0-1% incline.
- Lastly, cool down by walking on the machine for 5 minutes at 2 mph.
7. Pyramid Workout
Treadmill pyramid workouts combine walking and running intervals, helping to burn a lot of calories. Moreover, it will help you get used to the increasing effort by building endurance. However, like any other treadmill workout, you need to warm up before the training begins. You can achieve this by raising the incline by1%, followed by brisk walking or easy jogging for 3 minutes.
Once you've done that, proceed with these intervals;
- Run at a medium pace for 30 seconds and walk for 30 seconds
- Run at a medium pace for 1 min and walk for 1 min
- Run at a medium pace for 2 min and walk for 1 min
- Run at a medium pace for 3 min and walk for 1 min
- Run at a medium pace for 4 min and walk for 1 min
- Run at a hard pace for 3 min and walk for 1 min
- Run at a hard pace for 2 min and walk for 1 min
- Run at a hard pace for 1 min and walk for 1 min
- Run at a hard pace for 30 sec and walk for 30 sec
- Brisk walk or jog at a leisurely pace for 2 minutes to cool down
Using a treadmill for cardiovascular training is an excellent way of losing weight, burning calories, and several other health benefits. However, despite the growing popularity of these machines, they tend to become monotonous over time. For that reason, it's good to combine your regular workout with effective treadmill workouts from time to time. This will keep your routine more enjoyable, thus helping you attain your health & fitness goals.
Thankfully, we've listed some of the most effective treadmill workouts anyone can try above. So, go through them and select the perfect routine that will suit your fitness needs. Alternatively, consult a certified personal trainer to help you develop a customized treadmill training program.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s the best treadmill cardio workout?
HIIT is considered the most effective cardio exercise you can do on the treadmill. Thanks to its ability to burn a lot of calories, helping to reduce body fat in a short time. Moreover, it has other health benefits like enhancing insulin sensitivity and maintaining the level of your blood sugar.
2. How long should a good treadmill work out last?
A good treadmill workout can involve low-intensity walking for 40 minutes or a moderate-intensity exercise like light jogging for 30 minutes.
3. Can I perform treadmill workouts every day?
You can walk on a treadmill every day of the week. However, other workouts like running should be done for about 30 minutes to 1 hour most days of the week to minimize health risks.
4. What is the best speed for beginners when training on a treadmill?
A good treadmill walking speed for beginners is around 2 to 4 mph. At the same time, their jogging speed can be between 4 and 5.5 mph. However, each treadmill user has their preferred speed, regardless of their experience level. So, feel free to choose a speed that works best for you, even if you're a beginner.
5. Is a 20-min workout on a treadmill effective?
Performing start & stop sprints or using a steady pace on a treadmill for 20 minutes provides an effective workout. Besides, the American Heart Association claims that performing vigorously intense 20-min exercises thrice a week is adequate to maintain your heart health.