Understanding Treadmill Incline: How to Use it to Your Advantage

Treadmills have become a popular way to exercise, especially during the pandemic when many people are unable or hesitant to go to gyms. 

One of the features that can enhance your treadmill workout is the incline function. Understanding how to use the incline to your advantage can help you maximize the benefits of your workout and achieve your fitness goals.

The incline feature on a treadmill allows you to simulate the experience of running or walking uphill: 

  • This can increase the intensity of your workout and provide a variety of benefits. For example, running on an incline can help you burn more calories than running on a flat surface.

  •  According to a study by the American Council on Exercise, running at a 5% incline can burn up to 30% more calories than running on a flat surface. This is because when you run uphill, you are working against gravity, which requires more effort and energy expenditure.

Using the incline on a treadmill can also help you build strength in your lower body: 

When you run or walk on an incline, you engage more muscles in your legs, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. 

  • This can help you develop stronger, more toned legs over time. Additionally, running or walking on an incline can improve your cardiovascular fitness. 

  • Because running uphill requires more effort, your heart and lungs have to work harder to provide your muscles with oxygen.

  •  Over time, this can lead to improvements in your overall fitness and endurance.

So, how do you use the incline feature on a treadmill to your advantage? 

  • First, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the incline over time. If you’re new to using the incline, begin by setting the treadmill to a low incline, such as 1 or 2%. 

  • As you become more comfortable, you can increase the incline gradually, working your way up to steeper inclines over time.

  •  It’s also important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. If you feel uncomfortable or experience any pain, stop the workout and rest.

Another way to use the incline to your advantage is to incorporate interval training into your workout. 

  • Interval training involves alternating between periods of high-intensity exercise, such as running on an incline, and periods of lower intensity exercise, such as walking on a flat surface. 

  • This type of training can help you burn more calories and improve your cardiovascular fitness. To do interval training on a treadmill, you can alternate between running or walking on a flat surface for a set period of time, such as two minutes, and then increasing the incline for a set period of time, such as one minute. 

  • Repeat this cycle for the duration of your workout.

It’s also important to adjust your form when using the incline on a treadmill. 

  • When you run on a flat surface, your body naturally leans forward slightly, with your feet striking the ground directly under your center of gravity. 

  • However, when you run uphill, it’s important to maintain an upright posture and lean slightly forward from your ankles. This will help you maintain your balance and engage the muscles in your legs more effectively.

In addition to adjusting your posture, it’s also important to pay attention to your foot strike when using the incline. 

  • When you run uphill, you may be more likely to strike the ground with your heel, which can increase your risk of injury. 

  • To avoid this, focus on landing on the middle or front of your foot, with your feet directly under your body. This will help you maintain your balance and reduce the impact on your joints.

Finally, it’s important to incorporate a variety of inclines into your treadmill workouts. While running or walking on a steep incline can be challenging, it’s important to mix up the incline to keep your workout interesting and avoid overworking the same