treadmill incline

Treadmill Incline: Definition, How to and More

Treadmill incline means that you can set your treadmill’s running surface to be sloppy like a hill.

Treadmills with auto incline allow you to adjust this setting according to your training goals and levels of fitness. Most treadmills come with an incline setting ranging from 1% – 15%.

An incline in a treadmill’s primary purpose is to vary the intensity of your workout for more calorie burn. 

Using this feature is a sure way of creating the hill-climbing sensation, which burns more calories. Apart from incline function, some treadmill machines are also designed to have a decline option. Both decline and incline on treadmills will help you to vary your workout intensity. 

treadmill incline

Depending on the brand, some treadmills can be adjusted when you are on the move while other brands will not allow you to change the settings while you are in the middle of your workout. 

This means that you will have to set your incline before you start your workout. Machines that do no not change incline automatically are not recommended for hiit on treadmill

The good news is, most smart Proform treadmills are equipped with a programmable setting that will allow you to preset the incline at defined intervals. This is a handy feature when it comes to HIIT training.

It also gives you a remarkable uninterrupted training session. You don’t have to pause so that you make adjustments to your incline percentage. 

Before you jump on that treadmill, always check the incline settings, and further study how to adjust the settings on that particular machine. If the treadmill comes with programmed settings, make sure you understand each of the settings well before choosing any of the options. 

How to use incline on treadmill

  • Warming up

Warming up is essential for all exercises. Before you increase the incline on a treadmill, You should warm-up for five minutes by walking, doing jumping jacks, taking a jog and squats.

  • Go Slow on the Incline

Start the incline workout at a slow speed as you gauge your physical ability to sustain an individual pace. Do not force yourself to run at the same speed you do while on a level treadmill exercise. 

Slower as it may be, you will realize that the incline will increase your breathing and heart rate. This means that the practice is more intensive than running fast at zero slopes. 

  • Maintain Proper Body Posture 

Keep your body in the natural running form and slightly lean forward. Avoid learning backward when the treadmill is on the incline. Aim at taking shorter steps and find your rhythm. Long strides will wear you down much faster, and this may make you not to complete your workout. 

  • Let Go of the Handrails

Holding the handrails may imply that you are working out at speed far faster than you can manage. It means that you are not using the proper form and, therefore, not getting the most from your workout. If you find yourself having to hold onto the handrails, consider reducing your speed or all together take a break. 

  •  Changing Intensity

For more intensity, you will increase either your speed, duration, or the incline percentage. Also, you can use a treadmill with decline for the decline/downhill feature.  It is advisable that you only grow one parameter at a time. 

For example, if you opt to increase the length of your workout, maintain the same speed and incline until when your body can tolerate this new increase time.

 Only then can you increase either the speed or incline. Apply this principle when you choose to increased either your speed or incline. 

  • Cooling Off

Don’t just jump off the treadmill. To end your treadmill incline workout, finish by setting the incline to zero, and slow walking speed, then keep walking of about five minutes to cool off. 

Treadmill with Incline: Muscles Worked

Incline workouts on a treadmill majorly work the muscles of your lower body. However, since walking and running involves the upper body, your core, arms, and shoulder muscles are also recruited. 

  • Quadriceps

These groups of muscles found on the front part of your thighs are responsible for extending your leg. An incline on a treadmill works the quads harder as compared to running on zero slopes. Also, if you want your quads to bulk rapidly, we recommend you also try a calf raise machine. 

  • Hamstring

The muscle group is located at the back of your thighs. As you pull your leg forward, they help you to extend the thigh. This group of muscles id made up of the semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscles, which also assist in flexing the knee. 

  • Glutes

We are talking about your butts. These muscles are intensity recruited when your workout involves an incline. They help you maintain stability by enhancing balance at the pelvis. 

  • Calves

Pushing your foot away from the ground recruits the calf and other muscles on your lower leg. These muscles are worked even harder when you opt to use the incline on a treadmill. The slope will increase the intensity of recruiting these muscles. 

  • Abs and entire back muscles 

are always worked when walking or running. Inclining treadmill workouts will put more pressure on these muscles to tighten and help you maintain an upright posture. Your entire core works much harder to maintain a proper form.

  • Upper arms and shoulder muscles

 are also engaged in this exercise. Walking and running need the incorporation of your hands. Swinging your hands helps you create and maintain momentum. This hand motions will recruit muscles of your shoulder. 

Determining the Calories Burned in Treadmill Incline 

treadmill incline calorie burn

The amount of calories burned during an incline treadmill workout is influenced by: 

1. Treadmill Incline Percentage

 The more the incline, the more intense your workout. Raising your incline percent will make the exercise much harder and result in burning more calories. 

2. Speed

How fast can I run on a treadmill? Running the same distance on an inclined treadmill in a shorter time will burn more calories than a slower run. Speed is just another way of effectively burning more calories on a treadmill.

3. Stride length

You will burn more calories when you take shorter strides than when you opt for longer ones. This is because, with shorter strides, you hit your feet on the floor more times than long strides. The more you hit the ground, the more involved your muscles will be, which will burn more calories.

4. Your body weight

The heavier you are, the more calories you burn. A more substantial body will require more energy to carry the body mass. This is how weight translates to more calories.

5. Proper form

Failure to maintain an appropriate running form or walking form will result in burning fewer calories. For example, holding on to the handrails makes you not to burn maximum calories. The improper way makes the workout less efficient. 

Other Treadmill Features You Must Know 

treadmill features
  • Speed Settings

 This is the most basic and essential feature you must know on a treadmill. Find out how you can adjust the speed on the treadmill before you attempt to hop on it. It is recommended that you begin at a slow pace as you slowly increase it. 

  • Incline and Decline

While most treadmills have the incline feature, other editions come with a decline feature. For variations in workout intensity, you need to understand how to adjust these features thoroughly. You should be able to change the incline or decline at any time as you workout. 

  • Heart Rate Monitors

The treadmill comes with heart rate monitors to help you work within your target rate. This fantastic feature is in the form of a clip or grip. Make sure to attach it in the right ways so that you get the precise results. For accuracy, most athletes use the chest strap pulse rate monitor. 

  • Preset Workouts And Apps

Most treadmills with incline such as the 3G cardio fold flat under bed treadmill come with preset workout programs.

Treadmills have an assortment of incline treadmill workouts that you need to understand and pick one from the options. However, you may need your trainer’s help to understand some of these programmed treadmill incline workouts. 

 To spice it all up, select brands of treadmills, such as ifit treadmills, that link to applications that enable you to save information about your workout history and assess your fitness progress. 

  • Calorie Calculators 

You don’t need a pen and paper to calculate the number of calories you burn while on inclined treadmill workout. Some treadmills are equipped with a feature that helps you know approximately how many calories you have crushed. 

Also go for the best low impact treadmills, easy to use console and with a safety key/button for emergency stops. 

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Treadmill Incline

  • Holding onto the Handrails

Many people are tempted to hold onto the handrails for support as they work out on an inclined treadmill. Avoid this at all costs. You will always achieve more by walking or running slower without holding the handrails that when you go faster, holding onto them. However, you can use them in cases of disability. 

  • Jumping on With Belt at High Speed

A few people start running at top speeds. This can be dangerous. Whether you are running on a small compact treadmill or the larger treadmill with wide belt, always start by setting the treadmill at a slow speed as you get on it and then increase the speed gradually. This will save you possible injuries. 

  • Poor Walking or Running Posture 

Do not look down or hunching your shoulders while on an incline treadmill. This is not a proper running form, and it may lead to neck, shoulder, and low back pain. 

Keep your eyes fixed to the front, head held high, and neck aligned with the spine. Poor posture will not allow you to take a deep and complete breath.

 It will also encourage a lousy sitting posture, which is a rampant problem for day-long office workers. Do not lean forward on the incline; instead, keep an upright position. Most people will tend to lean forward as they increase the incline. Always check that you are maintaining the right position. 

  • Taking Long Strides

Fight the temptation of making longer strides on an inclining treadmill. Over-striding may result in your foot stepping far beyond the safe zone, and you may trip and fall.

 Treadmill inclines must not be done for speed; instead, concentrate on your heart rate and achieve your goals. Long strides can easily throw you off balance. 

  • Poor Hand Positioning 

If your arms are not positioned and moved well during your inclined treadmill workout, you will strain your neck and shoulder. Don’t let your hands hang loosely straightening downwards. 

Angle your arms at 900 and keep them moving in sync with the opposite leg. Proper hand position and motion will help you in getting your rhythm as you workout.

  • Not Understanding Your Treadmill Features  

Please don’t step on a treadmill until when you are sure you fully understand its features and how to make adjustments. It’s not enough to know the on/off button. 

There is more to a treadmill machine than that. The vital treadmill features you have to know how to adjust include speed, incline, pulse monitor, apps, and the programmed workout. This will enable you to use the treadmill more efficiently. 

  • Speed

Many people get it wrong when it comes to speed. I’ve been there. 

You are not competing with anyone. Let’s take it slow. Listen to your heart as you make every stride. In an incline treadmill, speed is not the priority. Set a leisurely pace as you try to get to your target heart rate. 

Over speeding will push your heart beyond its limit, and this may be disastrous. You will also not be able to maintain a proper form when you go faster than a speed you can manage. Always start with a walk and graduate into a light jog before you increase your pace into a run. 

Treadmill Incline Benefits

  • Burns More Calories

With an incline comes more intensity than running on a level treadmill. Increased strength in a workout is a sure way of effectively burning more calories. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds will burn ten more calories per mile of treadmill workout when a 1% incline is added. 

  • Good for Cardio 

Incline treadmill is superb in raising and maintaining your heart rate to the recommended 65 – 85 percent. This ensures that your cardiovascular muscles work to the optimum and pump more oxygenated blood to the muscles as you work out. It also goes a long way in reducing your blood pressure. 

  • Amazing Muscle Builder

Whether you are running or walking on pink treadmill incline, you will eventually end up well build muscles. It strengthens muscles 15% faster than working ours on zero percent incline. 

Running is a compound exercise that does not only work your calves but also recruits many muscle groups on your body. 

  • Reduce Risk of Injury

When running outdoors, you are mostly exposed to injuries from uneven ground, traffic, and other surface-related risks. Using the treadmill eliminates risk of injury. The handrails and the speed adjustment feature provide you with a safe environment for exercise. 

  • Increased Aerobic Capacity

Incline treadmill workout increases your lung capacity. The high intensity of the physical activity will train your respiratory muscles the functioning of your lungs. A well functioning lung ensures efficiency in oxygen supply and uptake. 

  • Treadmill incline benefits on abs 

 Treadmill incline raises your heart rate and therefore increases oxygen use in your muscles. This makes your body to burn more fats and convert into the much-needed energy for the activity. This is the definition of cardiovascular exercise. 

Therefore, we can mean that treadmill incline workout will help you burn more fat in your abs and every other part of your body. It is an exercise to include in your workout if getting a flat belly is on your list. 

It is important to note that treadmill workouts are not limited to targeting your abs; they burn a significant amount of fat on your whole body. 


Is incline on a treadmill good workout? 

The incline on a treadmill is the best way to getting better fitness results from a treadmill. The incline feature on your treadmill comes to increase the intensity of your exercises and push you to the next level. It helps you burn more calories and works muscles much harder. 

The incline is also a good workout for injecting intensity variations in your exercises. You can include it in your High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for optimum results. HIIT is the best way to push your body to its limit and achieve your fitness goals more efficiently. 

Is walking on an incline good for weight loss 

Walking on a slope will only help you lose weight if you do it vigorous enough to raise your heart rate. You only lose weight when you involve yourself in physical activities that help you burn more fats. 

Raising your heart rate helps your cardiovascular muscles to pump more blood to help your muscles work harder and burn more fats. Walking on an incline can achieve this. 

How fast should you walk on a treadmill to lose weight? 

It is not a question of how fast your legs can walk; it is a matter of your heart rate. If your walking pace does not achieve 65-85% of your heart rate, you will not be walking fast enough. Raising your heart rate and sustaining it for more extended periods is the key to successful weight loss. 

Doing so will make your body work extra hard and convert more fat into energy. Burning more fat in your body is what makes you start losing weight. Don’t watch your legs; keep your eyes on your heart rate. 

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