The 1 Way You Are Not Using The Treadmill To Maximize Your Results

There is no doubt that the most used piece of equipment in gyms across the globe is the treadmill. In nearly all gyms, they take up the majority of space and every hotel gym has at least 1 or 2 inside. So clearly, many people enjoy them. Maybe you are a frequent treadmill user yourself, but are you getting the most from it? Let’s find out if you're making these common treadmill mistakes!

The 2 Most Common Uses

There are two typical ways most people use the treadmill. They are either running/doing High Intensity Training or they are simply walking leisurely.

But there is a problem with both of these styles of treadmill use. First and foremost, not everyone can run, let alone sprint. It is far too intense for the majority of the population and carries a high risk of injury.

It is estimated that 37–56% of runners are injured each year. With 50–70% being overuse injuries, along with 20–70% being reoccurring injuries, and in 30–90% required reduction or cessation of exercise to recover. (SOURCE)

Next, you have those who are leisurely walking and not challenging themselves enough. If you are at a plateau in your fitness, reassess what you are putting into it. If its not challenging you enough you will not get any benefit from it. Your body is very adaptable and needs new challenges to better your health.

Fiona Compston covers this point very well in her article, “Walk Faster For Better Fitness” and tells all about the benefits of a faster walk. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend it.

Get The Most From Your Treadmill Time

Obviously you don’t want to be on a treadmill for hours to get the body you want, nor do you want to be running and sprinting which increases your chance of an injury. Who wants to deal with that in life?

Even though almost every treadmill is equipped with an “incline” feature where you can adjust the angle of the belt you are walking on, I very rarely see anyone actually utilizing it. Besides the onsies or twoies that are hanging off the display like they are about to pass out. That’s not needed either.

Incline walking has been proven to increase your metabolic cost depending on your level of incline. The steeper the incline, the more your body is metabolically taxed, which in turn burns more calories.  (SOURCE)

The other reason walking is preferential to running is because there is minimal musculature damage when you walk. Since walking has little-to-no impact, you are actually assisting the muscle in recovery. It has been proven that active recovery will remove the lactate in blood (that which causes Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS) faster than sports massage or passive rest will.  (SOURCE)

The Final Piece

There are two ways you can implement this type of training into your current workout schedule. If you are only performing cardio work for the day, then you should spend at least 40 minutes incline walking.

If you are doing strength training for the day then be sure to wait until you complete your strength workout and then perform at least 20 minutes of incline walking.

Lastly, and most importantly, be sure to monitor your heart rate throughout your entire cardio training. You can do this multiple ways; a heart rate monitor, hand grips on the treadmill or by simply taking your pulse for 6 seconds and multiplying by 10.

You should aim to maintain your heart rate between 130-150 beats per minute. If you are under 130 bpm, you are not challenging yourself enough to receive any real benefits.

But on the other hand, if you go above 150 bpm you will be moving more into the “cardiovascular heart rate zone” and actually move OUT of the “fat burning heart rate zone” so be mindful of your intensity.

My Recommendation

So the next time you go into the gym and want to knock out some cardio and burn fat while not having to worry about an injury, try incline walking. I would start off with a slow walk and gradually increase the incline up to a comfortable level for you.

After the incline is set, you can slowly increase the speed in order to raise your heart rate. Make sure you are staying in that 130-150 bpm zone because the main goals are to recover from previous workouts and simply burn excess calories.

After you are finished with your set time as stated above, take the next 3-5 minutes to cool down and let your body come back to normal. After the cool down, walk and incorporate some light stretching for another 5 minutes.

Director at |

Jay Kali is an internationally recognized Strength and Conditioning Specialist who has owned two fitness facilities, which trained over 2,500 students in the span of 3 years.
Jay learned his passion for health and fitness while serving in the U.S. Army and he has earned his Specialist in Strength and Conditioning, as well as his Certified Fitness Trainer, both from the International Sports Science Association. Jay is also a 300hour Certified Yoga Teacher through Aura Wellness Center.
Currently Jay is revolutionizing online coaching by creating lifestyle solutions (Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset) that assist busy women in achieving and exceeding their fitness & health expectations.