HIIT training on the treadmill

Table of Contents

Performing HIIT training on the treadmill is one of the fashions in the fitness field of recent years. HIIT is challenging but works well; you can see the results quickly. Treadmills are currently one of the best pieces of fitness equipment for doing HIIT. But before focusing on the specific theme of HIIT in treadmills, let’s review the basics of this type of training.

Why does HIIT work? Type 2 fast-shrinking muscle fibers and the “afterburn” effect

In musculature it differs between two types of muscle fibers:

  • Fibers S/Type 1: Slow-shrinking muscle fibers, hence the S, of slow English
  • Fibers F/Type 2: Fast shrinkage muscle fibers; the F comes from The English fast

Due to the high load during HIIT training on the treadmill, type 2 rapid shrinkage muscle fibers (or F fibers) are mostly requested. These are perfected for anaerobic yields. For short, very intensive and dynamic efforts (e.g., sprints). Prolonged cardio training (in a balanced state) otherwise requests type 1 slow-shrinking muscle fibers. These are used for aerobic activities, such as the endurance race.

There are 2 primary reasons that fast muscle fibers need more energy. The first one is to provide high performance quickly, and the second is to recover after an intensive workout (better and faster). During an exercise, which primarily activates these muscle fibers, a higher number of calories are burned simultaneously. Besides, more calories will also be used after the session to “repair” these fibers. This is known as the afterburn effect or the post-exercise fat burning effect.

How is the optimal intensity found during a HIIT workout on the treadmill?

To perform HIIT training on the treadmill optimally, you’ll need to experiment a little with your machine’s settings. To perfectly regulate your HIIT program on the treadmill, you can use both tilt and speed settings.

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Determine your maximum performance!

Determine your maximum performance on the treadmill

First, you must find an adjustment you can not resist for more than a minute. This will be your high-intensity phase. At first, your maximum performance minute may only run at 9 km/h without inclination. But soon, you’ll see how these settings will surely go up. In nothing, you will be traveling at 12 km/h with a 3% inclination. The first advances are the ones that are noticed before. Don’t be discouraged if your progress doesn’t increase at the same rate after a while. You’ll know how you’ll keep moving forward. But it’s like this: the jump from 8 to 9 km/h is more accessible than the 12 to 13 km/h. The crucial point is that you find your 1-minute boundary. After that minute, you’ll have to be practically out of breath, and you’ll need to reduce some gears.

When that minute passes, you’ll therefore slow down. This will be your regeneration phase. This phase should last approximately 1-2 minutes. This also depends a lot on the level of your fitness. Adjust your “slow” stage so that you can give it your all again after up to two minutes.

Don’t forget the warm-up

During a 1-minute high-intensity exercise, a subsequent 1-2 minute recovery period makes up an interval. When you do your first HIIT workout on the treadmill, you’ll need to aim for 6-8 intervals. You will be able to increase this number over time. But you must be moderate: you should not prolong HIIT training on the treadmill too long. That’s one of the advantages of HIIT: sessions are brief but intense. Also, always remember to warm up before starting HIIT training itself on the treadmill. Running for 5-10 minutes will gradually warm you up, and you can even strain in half of the first intensive phase. However, it must still be below your limit. This will get your body up and running, and the muscles will receive the necessary blood supply.

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This way, you’ll control your training in the best way

Many treadmills already have an option of “interval program,” or you can define it using the custom program. If you can, you’d better choose custom programs, as they can be adjusted in much more detail. The setting of a custom program lasts less than 5 minutes, and you will be able to access it repeatedly. If you don’t love programs, you can also use the hotkeys. Any running belt in conditions features hotkeys for speed and tilt. With the push of a key, you can, e.g., change the speed from 8 km/h to 12 km/h.

HIIT training plans on the treadmill (examples)

We have prepared two basic training plans here, with which you can start using this type of training. Of course, you’ll probably have to adjust these up or down, but they’re certainly a good starting point.

  1. Easy warm-up with a quick walk to smooth run for about 10 minutes
  2. Running: 12 to 13 km/h for 30 seconds to 1 minute
  3. Walking at 5.5 or 6 km/h for about 2 minutes
  4. Perform a total of 8 intervals
  5. If the intervals aren’t demanding enough for you, increase your inclination a little
  6. Brief cooling: 5 minutes of regular walking, and through the well-deserved water taquito

Here’s a training proposal, so when you’re already working with a slightly higher load. But it’s best if you’re trying out new training sessions.

  1. 5 minutes of warm-up with a brisk walk
  2. 1 minute run at 11 km/h, then 2 minutes at 8.5 km/h; repeat it 5 times
  3. 1-minute gentle walk to recover
  4. 30 seconds of running at 14 to 18 km/h, then 1-minute walk at 6 km/h; repeat it 5 times
  5. 4 minutes of smooth walking as cooling

How often weekly do I practice HIIT?

We recommend that you conduct 2 HIIT sessions a week on the treadmill. You can devote the rest of the training days, such as strength training or longer but less intense cardio sessions. Surprise your body every time! Don’t neglect to give your body a 48-hour regeneration phase after HIIT training on the treadmill. This is especially important for beginners.

See also
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If you want to achieve quick results and get in shape, HIIT training on the treadmill is an excellent option. HIIT is a demanding but highly effective exercise that primarily activates type 2 fast-shrinking muscle fibers and produces the afterburn effect, which burns calories even after the workout.

To optimize your HIIT program on the treadmill, experiment with speed and incline settings until you find the maximum performance you can maintain for a minute, followed by a regeneration phase lasting approximately 1-2 minutes.

Always warm up before starting your HIIT workout, and aim for 6-8 intervals to start. If you’re looking for training plans, we’ve included two examples to get you started, but you can adjust them based on your fitness level. With proper adjustments and consistency, HIIT training on the treadmill can help you achieve significant progress toward your fitness goals quickly.


Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training on Treadmill Time-Trial Performance in Recreationally Active Adultshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6518136/
High-Intensity Interval Training on a Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running: Changes in Treadmill VO2max and Running Performancehttps://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/2018/05000/High_Intensity_Interval_Training_on_a_Treadmill_vs.14.aspx
Time-efficient versus energy-efficient high-intensity interval training in young healthy womenhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254617301211
Effectiveness of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Compared to Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training (MICT) in T2Dhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6572831/
Effects of high-intensity interval training on cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight/obese womenhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6200896/

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