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The Best HIIT Treadmill Workouts You Can Do Indoors

Last updated: August 20, 2021

If you want to torch more calories and achieve your fitness goals within a short amount of time, why not up your treadmill game with high-intensity interval training?

And HIIT workouts are also another way to make your treadmill session a lot more fun!

So, I dug deep into research to give you this complete guide on how you can start your HIIT treadmill sessions. Let’s go!

What is a High-Intensity Interval Training Treadmill Workout?

man wiping sweat while on treadmill

High-intensity interval training is alternating exercises of quick and intense workouts followed by less-intense exercises or short rests.

You can do a HIIT treadmill workout faster or with a higher incline or a combination of the two.

When doing treadmill HIIT workouts, you're working at 85-90% of your maximum heart rate, which means it's a pretty challenging type of workout.

Try to calculate your max heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. If you're 25, then your max heart rate is 195.

Therefore, your heart rate should be 166 (85% of maximum heart rate) to 176 (90% of maximum heart rate) when performing a HIIT workout.

Compared to running on the treadmill at a steady pace, high-intensity intervals on your treadmill run makes it more effective to burn extra calories and increase fat loss. We will delve more into its benefits in a short while.

You can do HIIT treadmill workouts, whatever your fitness level is; however, it's important to build your treadmill HIIT workouts according to your current fitness level to avoid fatigue and burnout.

If you’re a beginner in HIIT training, make sure to start at an easy pace and increase the intensity as you build more endurance.

8 HIIT Treadmill Workouts You Can Try

Here are some HIIT treadmill workouts you can try.

1. The 60-Second Sprint

leg view of a woman running on a treadmill

You’ll do one-minute sprints for this HIIT treadmill workout.

It’s a great HIIT workout to increase muscle strength, improve your stride frequency (the number of steps you take in a minute), and boost your anaerobic endurance.

Try to determine your solid speed, the speed you can maintain in a steady state, or the pace you can maintain for 25 to 30 minutes.

Then, match or increase your solid speed to 2mph faster.

  • Warm-up (walk or jog): 5 minutes
  • Steady-state easy pace: 1 minute
  • Sprint: 1 minute
  • Alternate steady-state pace and sprint: Repeat minute intervals 6 to 10 times
  • Cooldown (walk or jog): 5 minutes

2. Keep-Focused Workout

woman running on a treadmill with earphones on

Several studies show that muscle-mind connection, consciously feeling the muscle work through the full range of motion, is important for increasing muscle activity.

One study shows that individuals can increase triceps or upper chest muscle activity up to 60% during a bench press when they focus on activating the muscles [1].

So, it's crucial to get your mind engaged in making the most of your HIIT treadmill workout.

Here's one to keep your mind on the task and help your body adapt to the changing speeds and inclines.

  • Warm-up walking between 2.5 and 3.5 mph: 5 minutes
  • Stride (take long steps that's between a jog and a sprint) at 4 to 7 mph: 1 minute
  • Walk at 3.0 to 3.5 mph at 5% incline: 3 minutes
  • Stride at 4.0 to 7 mph at 5% incline: 1 minute
  • Walk at 3.0 to 3.5 mph at 8% incline: 3 minutes
  • Stride at 4.0 to 7 mph at 8% incline: 1 minute
  • Cooldown (Walk or jog at 3.0 to 3.5 mph) at 1% incline: 5 minutes

3. Lateral-walking Workout

woman walking sideways on a treadmill

Though lower speeds may seem easy to do, this walking-only HIIT training could surprisingly take effort to perform.

This lateral-walking workout engages your glutes, raises your heart rate, and improves your balance.

When walking sideways or laterally, you may try to touch the rails lightly to keep your balance but do not support using your arms.

Keep your feet pointed on the side of the treadmill and not forward. You may also try to shuffle your feet and apart or cross one foot over the other while keeping an easy pace.

  • Warm-up (slowly increase speed from 2.4 mph to 3.5 mph): 5 minutes
  • Walk laterally at 2.2 mph: 2 minutes (1 minute facing right, 1 minute facing left)
  • Walk laterally at 2.4 mph: 2 minutes (1 minute right, 1 minute left)
  • Forward walk at 4.5 mph: 1 minute
  • Forward walk at 3.5 mph: 1 minute
  • Walk laterally at 2.6 mph: 2 minutes (1 minute right, 1 minute left)
  • Walk laterally at 2.8 mph: 2 minutes (1 minute right, 1 minute left)
  • Forward walk at 4.2 mph: 1 minute
  • Forward walk at 3.5 mph: 1 minute
  • Walk laterally at 2 mph and 5% incline: 2 minutes (1 minute right, 1 minute left)
  • Cooldown (slowly decrease speed from 3.0 to 1.8 mph): 5 minutes

4. Beginner’s RPE Run

gym instructor teaching a woman how to use a treadmill

If you’re a beginner on treadmill workouts, here’s a great running workout for you.

This treadmill workout has tons of intervals that allow more room for improvement while also building endurance.

RPE means the rate of perceived exertion.

You can find it indicated in your treadmill, and it is a zero to ten scale of the intensity of your workout.

  • Warm-up (dynamic stretches, walk or jog): 5 minutes
  • Light run (RPE 6): 90 seconds
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 1 minute
  • Run at 3 percent incline (RPE 6–7): 90 seconds
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 1 minute
  • Hard run (RPE 8): 90 seconds
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 1 minute
  • Hard run (RPE 8–9): 90 seconds
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 2 minutes
  • Hard run (RPE 8–9): 90 seconds
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 2 minutes
  • Hard run (RPE 8–9): 90 seconds
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 2 minutes
  • Run at 3 % incline (RPE 6–7): 2 minutes
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 90 seconds
  • Hard run (RPE 7–8): 2 minutes
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 90 seconds
  • Breathless run (RPE 8–9): 2 minutes
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 90 seconds
  • Sprint (RPE 10): 30 seconds
  • Recovery walk (RPE 3–4): 90 seconds
  • Sprint (RPE 10): 30 seconds
  • Cooldown (walk or jog): 2 minutes

5. No Flat-Ground Workout

feet view of an inclined treadmill

Make your treadmill game a lot more challenging by using an incline.

You don’t have to sprint here, but the incline alone will make your body and heart work harder, help activate your leg muscles, and increase your aerobic capacity.

  • Warm-up Walk (1 minute at 3.0 mph, 2 minutes at 3.5 mph): 3 minutes
  • Run at 3.5 mph and 7% incline: 2 minutes
  • Run  at 4.0 mph and 4% incline: 2 minutes
  • Run at 2.8 mph and 10% incline: 2 minutes
  • Run at 3.2 mph and 6% incline: 2 minutes
  • Run at 3 mph and 8% incline: 2 minutes
  • Run at 3 mph and 3% incline: 1 minute

Running intervals at 5% incline for 7 minutes: 

  • 1 minute at 6.5 mph
  • 1 minute at 3.5 mph
  • 2 minutes at 6 mph
  • 2 minutes at 4 mph
  • 1 minute at 3.2 mph

Endurance intervals at 3.2 mph for 11 minutes: 

  • 3 minutes at 15% incline
  • 1 minute at 1%
  • 3 minutes at 10%
  • 1 minute at 2%
  • 3 minutes at 12

Cooldown: 

  • Walk or jog at 2.8 mph at 3% incline: 2 minutes
  • Walk or jog at 2 mph at 1% incline: 1 minute

6. Get-It-Done-In-20 Treadmill Workout

running rubber shoes on a treadmill

If you only have 20 minutes to spare twice or thrice a week, here's a HIIT treadmill exercise you can get started. This will help increase your cardio endurance and help you burn calories.

You can adjust the speeds based on your heart rate and experience level.

  • Warm-up walk at 3.0  mph: 1-2 minutes
  • Fast jog at 7.0 to 9.0 mph: 30 seconds
  • Walk slowly at 3.0 mph: 1 minute
  • Alternate between these intervals for 20 minutes
  • Cooldown (walk at 3.0 mph): 2 minutes

7. Hopping On-and-Off-the-Treadmill Workout

woman resting standing on a treadmill

Make your treadmill workout more fun by mixing it up with full-body strength workouts between your running sessions.

Exercising on and off the treadmill keeps your heart working while you're performing some strength exercises.

It provides you cardiovascular benefits, plus it works your other muscles such as your arms and core.

  • Warm-up (Walk or jog at a comfortable space): 5 to 10 minutes
  • Run at fast speed: 60 seconds
  • Kettlebell swings: 30 seconds
  • Push-ups: 30 seconds
  • Plank: 60 seconds
  • Run at an easy pace: 60 seconds
  • Repeat four to six times
  • Cooldown (Walk or jog at a gradually slowing down pace): 5 minutes

8. Tabata Training Workout

person using a treadmill running

Here’s a challenging HIIT treadmill workout that will make you work at your all-out-effort called Tabata training.

Tabata training is more intense than other HIIT exercises and aims to work all your energy systems by getting your heart rate up in the very challenging anaerobic zones.

You’ll have to do 20 seconds of an intense exercise followed by a very short recovery period of 10 seconds, and this cycle is repeated eight times in a total of four minutes.

  • Warm-up (walk or light jog): 4 minutes
  • Run at 2% incline: 5 minutes
  • Walk at no incline: 90 seconds

4-minute Tabata interval:

  • Run at your maximum speed: 20 seconds
  • Rest by hopping onto the sides of the treadmill: 10 seconds
  • Repeat for 8 total rounds
  • Walk: 90 seconds
  • Run at 2% incline: 3 minutes
  • Walk: 90 seconds
  • Sprint at 4% incline: 2 minutes
  • Walk: 90 seconds
  • Sprint at no incline: 1 minute
  • Cooldown (walk or light jog): 3 minutes

Benefits of HIIT Treadmill Workouts

woman on a treadmill and a row of treadmills

Studies show that high-intensity interval training is not better than steady-state exercise, though you have to work longer with steady-state cardio [2].

Though both exercises can give you the same benefits, HIIT provides some advantages over low-intensity cardio. Here are some of them.

Saves You Time

Doing HIIT training is time-efficient and could typically take 15 to 30 minutes, including the warm-up, HIIT intervals, and recovery time. So, if you don't have much time to spend on regular exercise, HIIT works for you.

Helps You Burn Calories Quickly

One study shows that people who performed HIIT burned 25 to 30% more calories in a short amount of time than those who did weight training, running, and biking [3].

You also torch calories even after you workout with HIIT because it heightens your body’s recovery pace or repair cycle. So, if you're seeking a way to torch calories, increase fat loss, and lose weight fast, try HIIT.

Boost Your Cardio And Aerobic Gains

HIIT also helps boost one’s cardiovascular fitness – how well the lungs, heart, and muscles work together during prolonged physical activity. Other health benefits of HIIT include reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and body fat.

“When one is aerobically fit, their heart can pump blood better, it takes longer for them to get out of breath, and so, the farther and faster they’re able to bike or run or swim.” – Martin Gibala, Interval Training Expert, based at McMaster University in Canada

Pushes You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

HIIT training is a pretty challenging workout that gets you out of a comfortable pace. With HIIT, you're taking your cardio workouts on a higher level so that they can get uncomfortable, but if you’re all-out, the benefits outweigh the costs.

FAQs

Are 20 Minutes of Hiit a Day Enough?

Yes, HIIT workouts are performed in a shorter amount of about 15 to 30 minutes than other upper body exercises. But, avoid doing HIIT exercises every day because it could result in fatigue or injury.

How Much Do 30 Mins of Hiit Burn?

Studies show that a 30-min HIIT session could burn up to 450 calories. With HIIT, you’re burning huge amounts of calories in much shorter periods.

Will You Try A HIIT Workout On A Treadmill?

When treadmill workouts are starting to get boring, maybe it’s time to break the exercise plateau and adapt HIIT on your treadmill sessions.

Not only does HIIT workouts make treadmill exercise a lot more fun, but it also helps you reap the health benefits such as burning calories, losing weight, and reducing risks of heart diseases in a short amount of time.

It helps build endurance before trying these challenging workouts so that you can avoid risks of injury or fatigue. You may also adjust the HIIT treadmill workouts based on your ability or experience level.

Ready to try HIIT treadmill workouts, or have you already tried one? Please share your experience in the comments.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26700744/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657417/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25162652/

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