Get The Most Out Of Your Treadmill Workout With The Perfect Blend Of Speed & Inclines

To many of us who are enthusiastic about working out, whether to shed the pounds or shape up, a treadmill routine simply involves diving in at a steady pace, pushing it as far as is possible. While this certainly does yield plenty of benefits, working out is sometimes a lot like working – so, working smart is better than working hard.

A smart workout would involve mixing it up with intervals of high and low intensity exercises, as in HIIT (high-intensity interval training). This helps maximize the benefits with greater fat burn and increased metabolism. To meet this requirement, most fitness buffs use speed or incline intervals in their weekly sessions, but which of the two is better for you and is there really a winner?

Incline Vs Speed Intervals

For Beginners

“To get started it may be wise to skip the inclines, as you first need to strengthen your muscles and get your form – after 4 weeks you can include intervals with high speed and low intensity running”

For anyone who’s just started running, consistency is more important than speed, as this is what increases endurance and builds form, preparing you for a long term workout routine. For the first few weeks just stick to jogging on a regular treadmill, without mixing it up. After 4 weeks you can try to tinker with those speed intervals, going with what comes naturally to you – pick up the pace and reduce it as per your energy levels.

If you’d like more consistency in your beginner’s treadmill routine, keep it evenly balanced with 60 second intervals of slow and high speed running. The slow running or jogging interval is described as active recovery that allows you to catch your breath – you shouldn’t be gasping for air. Skip the inclines during this phase, as you first need to strengthen the foot, ankle, and lower leg. If you jump the gun, you risk injuries that will set you back a few months.

For Weight Loss

“Most trainers recommend incline intervals over and above speed for weight loss, as it’s a healthy way to shed pounds, converting body fat to lean muscle”

When it comes to getting rid of excess fat, there’s nothing better than an inclined treadmill workout, as it’s a healthy way to transform, converting body fat to lean muscle. For this reason, most trainers recommend incline intervals over and above speed for weight loss. The increased muscular effort that is required for an inclined treadmill workout considerably increases the rate of calorie burn. Just make sure not to get ahead of yourself, choosing a treadmill setting that you will be comfortable with instead.

For Muscle Building

“Inclined running is particularly good for building lower body muscle and you can use intervals with a steep incline followed by a moderate incline for recovery”

Inclined running works on various muscle groups of the lower body like the glutes, hamstrings, and trunk extensors, helping build muscle, but it’s important that you start slow. Instead of running, try a quick walk at around 3.5 or 4.0 miles per hour and gradually increase the incline by around 5 to 7 percent. Try to maintain your pace with the increased incline and also try to maintain balance without holding on, as the natural swinging action of your arms helps improve coordination and core stability.

Once you feel you are ready, you can add intervals using a relatively steep incline of 6 to 7 percent and a moderate one of about 2 to 3 percent. Keep your high intensity run at a good pace for half a minute, then return to the lower incline at a slower pace for at least 2 minutes to allow recovery. You can also tweak the format to meet your fitness requirements, gradually increasing high intensity time, while reducing the duration for recovery in these intervals.

To Win A Marathon!

“If you’re running an uphill marathon, inclined treadmill workouts will help, but if you’re looking at a flat track it would be best to focus on speed intervals”

To be at the top of your game, you obviously need to practice a lot, but you also need to practice appropriately. If you’re running an uphill marathon, inclined treadmill workouts will help, but if you’re looking at a flat track it would be best to focus on speed intervals. Studies have demonstrated that level-grade training can yield better results than uphill training. Of course, the ideal running interval will vary depending on your fitness levels and the specific race you are training for.

In general however, try to include short and fast paced intervals or long intervals that are moderately faster than your usual running pace. If you opt for short fast paced intervals, you can do that for 10 to 20 seconds, followed by a slow 2 minute recovery pace. If you instead opt for moderately paced intervals, you can follow the 50-50 rule with 2 minutes of faster running and 2 minutes of recovery.

The bottom line is that both incline and speed workouts can offer benefits, but what’s more important is that you are consistent with your practice. With both treadmill workouts, it is important that you start slow and pick up on both the pace and duration gradually. Keep in mind that those who suffer from knee pain should avoid inclined treadmill runs as this can increase stress on the knee joint.

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