hiit treadmill workout

HIIT Treadmill Workout: How To, Muscles Worked and More

Running on the treadmill assures you of some tremendous benefits to your health. And if you really want to get the full benefits of using one, it’s time to switch your routine to a hiit treadmill workout routine.

I’ve used my flat treadmill for some time and in my experience using one without a workout plan can become pretty boring and you’ll lose weight at a slower pace. But, with a good hiit plan, your workout on treadmill will give you one heel of a workout.


What is Treadmill HIIT? 

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a new way of effectively working out. HIIT treadmill workout takes your training to a new intense, powerful and fun-filled level. It kills the boredom and lets you explode into short and powerful combinations of exercises that inject energy in your treadmill workouts. 

Hiit involves explosive anaerobic workouts which are immediately followed by a recovery period involving less intense exercises. This exercise model pushes your body to its limits.

You have to push (exercise) for a specified time (usually some minutes) then retreat to a less intense recovery session. HIIT workouts on treadmill can last 5 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes, depending on a variety of factors. 

How to Do HIIT Treadmill Workout 

treadmill hiit workout

A hiit training session consists of a warm-up session followed by a high-intensity interval session alternated with less intense recovery session.

The recovery periods should be half the intensity of the explosive session. Aim at a 2:1 intensity ratio between the exercises. Eventually, there is the cooling session at the end.  

To prepare your body for the fluctuating intensity levels ahead, you will need to warm-up as you step on your treadmill. This may take about 3 – 5 minutes.

Start with a slow walk and slowly switch into a light jog. A good warm-up helps to supply the much-needed oxygen to your muscles and prepare them adequately for the session. 

Here is a good example of what to do:

Treadmill workouts for beginners

The smart treadmill is the go-to fitness equipment for beginners. I also started here before adding a hiit-trainer. While traditional treadmill running routine may be easy, treadmill hiit workout  won’t be easy but promises better results. For beginners, let’s try out these 2 treadmill workouts.  

Beginner treadmill Workout #1

  •       Warm up for 10 minutes: Start by walking slowly and transition into a jog. 
  •       Intensity Phase: Run at 7-8 mph for 30 – 60 seconds. 
  •       Recovery phase: Walk at 3-4 mph for 2 minutes.
  •       Repeat: Do this seven more times to make eight reps.
  •       Cool- down: Walk for 5 minutes, stretch and take plenty of water.

This is a good way to begin your HIIT workout for a treadmill. You can increase the challenge by raising the incline. 

Beginner treadmill Workout #2

  •       Warm-up: Start with a light jog for 3 minutes. 
  •       Intensity Phase: Sprint at 7-8 mph for 20 seconds. 
  •       Recovery phase: Walk at 3-4 mph for 40 seconds.
  •       Repeat: Do ten repetitions of this set.
  •       Cool- down: Walk for 3 minutes, stretch and take plenty of water.

Sprinting on treadmill for 20 seconds is a good starting duration for this training. If you find the 40 seconds recovery not sufficient, you can see the extent to 60 seconds. 

You may also like: The best Proform Treadmills with iFit

HIIT Treadmill Workout for Weight Loss

Bursting into high-intensity exercise followed by a recovery period creates a high-Calorie burning environment which helps you to lose weight significantly.

High-Intensity Interval Training is a very effective way of losing weight. Even after the training session, it makes your body to metabolize fats into energy as the body tries to regain normalcy. 

Hiit Treadmill Workout for Weight loss #Plan 1

  •       Warm-up: Walk at two mph for 5 minutes. 
  •       Intensity Phase: Sprint at 8-9 mph for 30 seconds. 
  •       Recovery phase: Walk at 3-4 mph for 60 seconds.
  •       Repeat: 5 – 10 repetitions of this set.
  •       Cool- down: Walk at two mph for 5 minutes, stretch and take plenty of water.

To challenge yourself more, you can the walking intervals with a jog or increase the time to the high-intensity interval. Setting a higher incline is also a way to increase difficulty.

Hiit Treadmill Workout for weight loss #Workout plan 2: 

Running Within Your Fat Burning Zone. 

Running at 85-90% per cent of your heart rate means you are within your fat-burning zone. In this set, you should aim to exercise intensely in the fat-burning zone. It is a very effective way to lose weight. You will have to wear a heart rate monitor on your chest or wrist. 

  •       Warm-up: Walk at two mph for 5 minutes. 
  •       Jogging: Set 2 % incline and jog at four mph for 1 minute
  •       Intensity Phase: Run at 7-8 mph or until you get the fat-burning zone. Run for 10 – 20 minutes while maintaining this rate. 
  •       Jogging: Jog at four mph for 1 minute.
  •       Recovery: Walk at two mph for 5 minutes.
  •       Cool- down: Walk at two mph for 5 minutes.
  • Stretch and take plenty of water.

The fat-burning zone may not necessarily be the same for everybody. You might need professional help of your trainer to determine your zone. 

Caution: If you suffer from any chronic illnesses such as hypertension, we recommend you speak to your physician before you start on hiit. 

5 Treadmill Tips for Beginners

Have you ever done High-Intensity Interval Training? If your answer is no, then you need to pay close attention here. Don’t be carried away by the hype in the gym about this new trend. Take these hints close to your heart.

  • Take it One Step at a Time

This is going to involve high impact sets of exercise that needs you to be prepared both psychologically and physically. Start slowly with a lighter setting on your treadmill and make gradual progress. Starting in a rush may lead to injuries or burnout. Consulting your instructor should be part of your preparations. 

  • Get Your Comfort Zone

Find the right settings on the treadmill that do not overly strain you. You should also train not more than two times in a week. It allows your body to recover from the explosive sessions you just introduced yourself. For a start on a train for more than 15 minutes per session. 

  • Pay Attention to Your Body

Do not neglect any muscle soreness, strains or pain in your joints. Normally, your body will, in one way or another undertake some painful adjustments to adapt. Nonetheless, you should be careful not to neglect a possible serious injury.

  • Maintain Proper Form

Focus on maintaining a proper form throughout your training. Failure to observe proper posture will lead to injuries and other postural complications. Be conscious of your whole body movements to make sure they are done right. 

  • Do Not Over train 

 It is common for beginners to be exited with this explosive training style and end up overdoing things. Do not underestimate the power and effects of 15 minutes of High-intensity training on your treadmill. You may not feel the effect immediately, but moments later. 

10 Benefits hiit workout on the treadmill

1. Burns Fats Faster

HIIT is characterized by Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This means that your body continues to burn fats even after the training session. It can burn 50% more fats than any other cardio training. Thanks to its varying intensity at intervals.

2. Build Muscles

Compared to the regular long steady intensity workout, HIIT treadmill workout recruit more muscles. They work both slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers. It also promotes the production of more anabolic hormones that enhance muscle building. By burning more fat and calories, this workout builds and maintains muscle mass. 

3. Improves Blood Circulation

Alternating the high and low-intensity exercises in short intervals as characterized in HIIT improved your blood circulation. The improved circulation can be felt one to two hour after the training. This helps to deal with symptoms of diabetes type 2. The increased metabolism during and after this exercise helps to manage glucose level. 

4. Improves Cardiovascular Fitness 

The drastic changes during HIIT challenge the heart muscles. The heart is made to pump more blood at varying rates during the different phases of the training. Attaining an 85-90% heart rate improves your cardio activity. This also increases your muscle oxygen intake, which will result in less recovery time as you progress. 

5. Increases Metabolism

Due to the intensity, HIIT increases metabolism during and moments after the training. A study indicated that it makes your metabolism tend to burn fats, rather use carbohydrates. Just 3 minute of exposurenton HIIT can help your body metabolize the same as someone who has run slow and steady for 30 minutes.

6. Works Whole body

HIIT workouts on portable treadmills are not limited as to which part of the body you exercise. It works the entire body; head to toe. It goes without saying how good it is for the heart. The fact that you are on running at a different speed and makes it engage almost all muscle groups on your body. 

7. Improved Oxygen Consumption. 

HIIT trains your muscle to utilize more oxygen. Whereas long steady running is the one that is mostly credited for this, HIIT is much better in improving increasing oxygen consumption. This is due to its spontaneous style. Makes the muscles to adapt to the fast shift in intensity by using more oxygen. 

8. Helps to Manage Heart rate

Performing HIIT treadmill workouts for eight weeks is as effective as other cardio and resistance training in reducing blood pressure. It significantly reduces blood pressure and heart rate, especially for people living with obesity. As the intense phase hikes your heart rate up to 90% and then lowered by the recovery period, your heart is trained to adapt to fluctuating rates. 

9. Time Efficient: Saves Time

This is one of the most time-saving training programs in the fitness world. You can fix a HIIT treadmill workout anywhere in between your daily activities. From the simple fact that you can customize your training program that can be as short as 15 minutes, makes it time economical. It’s an ideal option for busy people. 

10. Flexibility 

You decide whether you are going to walk, run or even mix the two in your training. There is no limits or hardlines to that. Duration of a training session is also for you to decide depending on how much time you have at disposal. Walk or run, 5 minutes or 30 minutes are all going to help you achieve your fitness goals with HIIT.  

3 Setbacks of HIIT Treadmill Workout 

The promise of time economy, quick results and flexibility may be so captivating to you at a glance. However, with these benefits comes several flip flops that may make you reconsider your position about HIIT. Here are some backsets of HIIT treadmill workouts:

  • Exposure to Injuries

This is a high impact exercise that pushes you to the limit. This can strain your muscles and joints leading to injuries like torn muscles, strains or joint dislocation. The best way to minimize the risk of injury is by using a treadmill with shock absorption for low impact exercising. 

  • Not ideal for everyone:

Not everyone can tolerate the intensity of the training on the treadmill. It requires a level of fitness preparations before you attempt. The elderly, for example, may not find it suitable for them. It calls for high energy levels within short intervals which cannot be easily achieved by all. It is not good for people with heart problems. 

  • Difficult To Sustain For Long

The spontaneous bursts into action may end up causing burnouts to athletes. The high energy demands by HIIT exercises may make you shy away. For the beginner, it may take longer periods for muscles to recover from burnouts of the previous sessions, and this may make it difficult to continue. 

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid during hiit workouts on treadmill:  

1. Skipping Warm Up and Cool downs

Warm ups prepare your body for the intense physical activities ahead. When you are warm-up, you start increasing blood circulation to muscles, and this is very necessary for preliminary oxygen supply to the muscles. Do not skip your warm-up session.

2. Not eating before the session

The high-intensity training will, for sure need some good level of energy and it has to be available. This is not your normal slow and steady morning run. Make sure you do not do HIIT treadmill workouts on an empty stomach. 

3. Long Intervals: 

Make the highly intense phase of your exercises to be short, mostly 15-30 seconds. Do not push your body far too much beyond its capacity. You might not realize while at it, but after your session, your body will reveal some signs of overworking.  

4. Wrong Form: 

Always keep the proper form to get the most out of your training. Proper form also prevents injuries and postural problems. The wrong form may also include holding on to the sidebars. When you find yourself not being able to maintain proper form, stop and review your training. You might be taking it too fast. 

5. Resting too long:

 Avoid resting for longer periods because this takes away the intensity of the training. It makes it much similar to your traditional treadmill running. Recovery intervals should be just double the duration of the intense phase. Not more. Nonetheless, during your first days, you might tend to rest more as your body adapts.  

6. Doing it too often

Your muscles need recovery time after a session of this explosive training. You should not train HIIT daily. Training 1 or 2 times a week will be good for your muscles, recovery and building. Remember that these exercises subject your muscles to the highest stress you can drive them to. It leaves then stained and torn to shreds. 

7. Not Reaching Max Potentials 

The original idea of HIIT is to push yourself to the limits. If you don’t do your best to achieve optimum, the whole exercise loses meaning. Aim at achieving up to 90% of your heart rate during peak intervals for maximum results. 


1. The Intensity Phase: How Far Should You Go?

Many treadmill brands in the market at the moment come with presets of HIIT workout programs. You can either select from the options or customize your model. To attain high intensity in treadmill workouts, you can increase your pace, set a higher incline or do both. Your heart rate is the best bet of gauging intensity.

Try to achieve an 85 – 90% heart rate and sustain this intensity for a period not exceeding 40 seconds. Different people will achieve this heart rate using different speed and incline. 

For those who are not that fit, a simple jog can get them to this level. The best way to get your limit is by slowly increasing the setting by 0.5 mph as you gauge yourself. Keep increasing until you find the level that you can’t sustain for long. 

2. How Long Should a HIIT Treadmill Workout Session Last? 

The length of the training session depends on your a personal goal, fitness and the intensity involved. A HIIT workout can be as short as 5 minutes or last up to 30 minutes. Whatever the length, you have to warm-up well before you think of engaging your muscles intensely. At the end of it all, you will need a cool downtime that includes stretching. 

3. Frequency and Period of training.

Being high-intensity training makes HIIT workouts impossible to be performed so often. Your muscles will need enough rest between sessions to allow recovery and repair. 

This helps in muscle building and development. You can train at a frequency of 1 to 3 days in a week. To realize the benefits of HIIT treadmill workouts, you will need to have at least 8 weeks of a training program. 

4. How does it Work?

The beauty of high intensity interval training is there is no specific way to do it. No written rules. It all depends on personal cardiovascular fitness and your individual fitness goals. 

You can have tens of different models to help you achieve a single goal. At the beginning of it all, you may have to challenge yourself against several variations before you find your sweet spot.

The alternating intensity nature of this workout makes it the best for recruiting both slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers on your body. While the explosive phase works your fast-twitch fibers, your slow-twitch fibers are recruited during the less intense recovery period. Your traditional long but steady runs on your mini walk treadmill only work fast-twitch fibers. HIIT will develop both. 

You will eventually realize a higher athletic capacity and your glucose metabolism will improve significantly. It may not be the best to deal with obesity, but it reduces fat mass on your entire body. 

5. Walking Vs Running In HIIT Treadmill Workouts 

Must everyone run to achieve their maximum intensity on the treadmill? The answer is a simple “No”. The treadmill carries people with different physical capabilities. While you will need a sprint to achieve your limit, someone else will only need a power walk to get there. The incline setting will also influence whether you need to run or walk to hit the maximum. 

Overall, there is no written rule to achieving your 1-minute optimum level and heart rate. You can choose either walking or running. As you work to determine your maximum sustainable intensity, make sure to do this while maintain a proper form. If ever you find yourself reaching for the handrails, then that means you have chosen a speed far much than you can bear. 

Do not stick to the same intensity settings for long. Always challenge your body with tougher options as you gain more energy.

This is a personal test for progress. Seeing yourself graduate from level to another is very motivating. If you started by walking, for example, and weeks later you find yourself having to run to reach your maximum sustainable intensity is very motivating. It is a sure proof of progress. 

6. Is HIIT on a treadmill effective

HIIT workout on treadmill is one of the most effective ways of training. The best thing about using the treadmill is that every aspect of your training is measured almost actuary; the distance, time, heart rate and your running speed. 

Others would think that outside running is more effective, but based results, the treadmill provides a very conducive training environment that adds to its efficiency. 

7. Does HIIT treadmill burn fat?

Yes, it’s a very good fat crusher. The explosive intensity of the sets in this exercise burns fats much faster to provide energy to your muscles. Additionally, HIIT makes your body continues burning fats even after a training session as your. Remember to use features such as treadmill incline and decline.

8. How many calories do you burn in HIIT treadmill?

Powering your body to the limit with these high-intensity exercises is estimated to burn up to ten calories per minute. This means that a 30 minutes HIIT treadmill workout can burn 300 calories. It can be slightly more or less from person to another. 

9. Is it better to do HIIT in the morning or evening? 

It doesn’t matter the time of day that you do HIIT exercises. The most important factor is to keep in mind, to select a time that you can consistently maintain. Stick to that. If you chose morning, mid-afternoon or evening, just make sure you stick to that for better results. 

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