The Best Incline Treadmill Workouts to Get That Blood Pumping

incline treadmill workout

Make the most of your time on the treadmill

When it comes to cardiovascular workouts, the treadmill is one of the most popular pieces of equipment to do your workouts on, but most people either walk or run at a steady pace, and they find themselves not getting their heart rates up and burning the fat off like they want to. But, have you set the treadmill on an incline when you are performing your workout? Hitting the treadmill on an incline can replicate daily tasks such as walking uphill, carrying something upstairs, and so on, but most importantly, it can be an extremely effective cardio workout. That being said, we have broken down the best incline treadmill workouts for you to get that blood pumping and make some serious progress.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of cardio workouts on an incline treadmill and see exactly what the best ones are.

Incline Treadmill Workouts Overview


Regular treadmill workouts can be boring and honestly a bit too high of impact for you. That being said, incline treadmill workouts could be the way to go! Set your treadmill to an incline when you are looking to add a little extra work into your cardio workouts. Incline treadmill training can be done in a variety of ways, such as high-intensity interval training, steady-state training, and regular-old interval-style workouts; you are not limited to just one style of training on these pieces of equipment as they are pretty versatile. 

The different types of training sessions done on a treadmill give you options for how you would like to carry out your cardio training, and this can also help with hitting your goals. An incline treadmill can give you a faster paced workout, a circuit training routine, or something more relaxed.

The Best Incline Treadmill Workouts

Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the best incline treadmill workouts that you can do to really burn those calories.

HIIT Treadmill Incline Workouts

High-intensity interval training is a popular method of training for athletes of all types, from bodybuilders to powerlifters, due to the fact that it is faster-paced, it takes less time overall, and requires a bit more mental focus than a slower treadmill workout where you can zone out and lose focus on what you are doing. HIIT training involves short bursts of very high-intensity effort, which is typically about 90 percent or more of your maximum effort. That short burst of high intensity is then followed by a rest period.

To keep your HIIT incline treadmill workouts interesting, you can incorporate things like circuit training so you aren’t on the treadmill the entire time. You can do a few minutes in a high intensity session on the treadmill, then jump off and do air squats, push ups, or whatever, before resting briefly and hopping back on the treadmill.

Steady-State Treadmill Incline Workouts

Not everyone is a fan of high intensity interval training, as they can be pretty draining and some people prefer to use their cardio time to cool down and maybe watch their favorite streaming service (hopefully watching the Generation Iron Movies), or even read. That being said, the opposite of high intensity is low intensity, or steady-state, which are consistent workouts on an incline. These stead-state incline treadmill workouts have taken over the fitness scene, especially for bodybuilders.

The highly popular 12-3-30 workout is one of the most used steady state incline treadmill workouts, and it is incredibly simple. All you have to do is walk on a treadmill at a 12 percent incline, at a 3.0 speed, for 30 minutes, and the whole time, you’ll be maintaining the same level of physical exertion. The best part is, while it is simple, these steady state incline treadmill workouts are fantastic for burning body fat. 

Another thing to mention is that just because you are at a steady state the whole time, you can also perform steady-state incline treadmill workouts where you switch things up throughout it. All you have to do for your incline treadmill workout to be considered “steady state” is to keep your heart rate at a relatively fixed rate for an extended period of time. You can do things like add to the elevation to keep it interesting, this is called “ascending”. 

Interval Training

Interval training on an incline treadmill is a great way to hit your goals, and it does not have to be high intensity. Much like a HIIT workout, interval training on the incline treadmill separates bursts of work followed by rest periods. But unlike the high intensity version of this training style, regular interval training doesn’t always require you to go all out during those working periods. Of course you have the option to do so, but in this case you do not have to. 

To complete the interval training on an incline treadmill you could do something like a light jog for 1 minute, followed by 45-60 seconds of rest then repeat that five to ten times. 

Benefits of Incline Treadmill Training

There are plenty of benefits to incline treadmill training, as increasing the incline of your treadmill workouts will immediately present more of a challenge. The deeper knee and hip flexion on every single step will really have you feeling it. So, let’s take a look at the list of the most prominent benefits of incline treadmill workouts. 

More of a Challenge: Setting your treadmill to have incline forces you into a deeper stride with greater knee and hip bend on every single step. The deeper strides will have you “lifting” your body more on each step, which requires more energy and in turn you will burn more calories and become fatigued faster. Your heart rate will also be elevated more quickly than you would on a flat treadmill, making incline work a very efficient form of cardio training, even if you are doing steady state. 

Time Saving: The fact that you will have more of a challenge with each stride on an incline treadmill means that you will be reaching higher heart rates faster and at a more moderate pace than flat-surface training. You will burn more calories on an incline treadmill in less time that you would on a flat surface, meaning that you will be saving time. 

Lower Impact: As stated above, flat surface training can be pretty high impact on you. With that said, incline treadmill work requires much less impact on your joints, and this can be beneficial to your longevity in the gym

Incline vs. Flat Treadmill Training

incline vs. flat treadmill

Flat treadmill work mimics most everyday walking, whether that is through the parking lot into your school or across the hall in your office, you more than likely are walking on a flat surface most of the day (unless you live in a hilly area). Regardless of the functionality aspect, higher incline treadmill work will increase the intensity of your workout without you having to increase your pace on the treadmill.

However, despite incline treadmill work being more efficient for burning calories, a flat treadmill still will mimic every day walking, and this allows you to walk at a pace and challenge that is great for getting your steps in without really putting any thought into it. Flat treadmill work makes it easy to get your steps in.

Now to take a look at the challenging workout routine, incline treadmill workouts reinforce proper walking mechanics by “raising the earth.” The higher the incline the more you have to work on each stride. You put in more work with an incline treadmill workout, but do not have to train as long as you would with a flat treadmill. Incline treadmill workouts feel more like a hike than a walk, and you get more bang for your buck because of it. 

How Often Should You Do Cardio? And How Long?

When it comes to the age old questions of how often and how long you should do cardio each day, that comes down to your goals. If you are looking to lose weight then you need to up the intensity or the frequency of your training sessions. Then, if you are looking to maintain or even bulk up, you should focus on getting in enough cardio to keep your heart healthy and pumping blood properly, as well as keeping some of that fat off.

What is the Best Treadmill for Incline Training?

Maybe you have seen our list on the best treadmills, and one of the categories on there is the best treadmill for incline training. That being said, we have hand-picked a treadmill specifically for those incline workouts.

Horizon Fitness 7.0

A powerful option for a treadmill that is built for tough workouts and engineered for fitness apps.

The Horizon Fitness 7.0 Treadmill includes workouts from iFIT pro trainers shot all over the globe. Everything is right at your fingertips on the touchscreen. The machine has quick precision control, to make smooth transitions between intervals. The rapid sync motor allows for quick changes and a smoother run. With dimensions of 60″ long, and 20″ wide, you have room to run without worrying about falling.


  • Smooth transitions
  • Shock absorbent surface
  • Bluetooth
  • Room to run


  • Premium priced option

Price: $999.00

Wrap Up

Overall, incline treadmill workouts are great for upping the intensity of your cardio sessions without extending the time that you need to be there. There are plenty of ways to do incline treadmill workouts, such as HIIT or steady state, so you will never run out of ways to do things.

So, what is your favorite cardio workout?

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Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.