If you’re new to gym equipment, you might not know how to get the best from your workout. You may even believe that a gym workout can never be as efficient as a run on unpredictable outdoor terrain - but this is far from the truth!
by CHLOE ALEXANDER on
May 18, 2023
Most treadmills come with an incline feature, which can help boost your cardiovascular performance, aid weight loss, and enhance your stamina – but what does an incline actually do? Let’s take a look.
What does incline on a treadmill do?
Incline on a treadmill is when the treadmill slopes upwards, creating a more difficult platform for running. You can increase the incline according to your own fitness levels, and easily enhance the efficiency of any treadmill routine.
Benefits of running at an incline on a treadmill
So, why use an incline on a treadmill during your workout? Aside from helping you create a more dynamic running workout, here are just a few key benefits:
Running at incline helps to improve running performance and efficiency – you’ll increase the intensity of your workout, meaning that you can build strength and endurance much faster. Increasing the incline of your run will also help to build leg muscles and strengthen your tendons for more powerful sprints later on. In short, you’ll be getting more out of your workout, in less time.
Builds your stamina
By pushing yourself to run at an incline, you can help to enhance and improve your aerobic capacity and build your cardiovascular endurance. This will enable you to run for longer distances with ease, allowing you to progressively increase your workouts’ intensity over time.
Burns more calories
When running on a treadmill at an incline, the body works extra hard to climb against gravity, meaning you’ll be burning calories at a much higher rate, compared to running on flat surfaces. If you’re looking to lose weight and shed lbs, running at an incline can accelerate your fat loss – just make sure not to push yourself too hard, too soon. Always speak with your doctor before beginning any intense workout programme.
Reduces strain and impact on joints
Surprisingly, running uphill is much easier on the knees than running downhill, as it involves less shock when you land at each step. This means you can reduce your chances of developing running-related injuries such as shin splints and sprains by running at incline.
Mimics natural terrain
While some runners might prefer the uneven terrain of an outdoor run, you can use the incline feature to mimic the same intensity while working out indoors! Setting up an incline on a treadmill allows you to simulate outdoor runs effectively, which helps to prevent boredom and keeps your workout dynamic. This also gives you the opportunity to practise running on different terrains, such as hills.
How to run at incline on a treadmill
If you’re new to running at an incline, here are some tips that can help to get you started: (without exhausting yourself or injuring your muscles)
Warm up – Start with some light jogging before gradually increasing the speed and incline of your run until you reach your desired intensity. You could also walk if that would be more suited to your fitness level.
Always listen to your body – Don’t push yourself too hard; make sure that you’re listening to what your body is telling you and pay attention to any pain or muscle aches. If it starts getting too difficult, or you’re unable to catch your breath, adjust the speed or incline accordingly.
Try interval training – Interval training is a great way to get your heart rate up. Sprints help burn calories, while rest intervals allow for recovery: this method can aid your performance and prevent you from overdoing it and causing any injuries.
Cool down – After your workout, remember to do some gentle stretches and cool down properly to avoid injury and minimise muscle soreness.
Is incline on a treadmill good for weight loss?
Yes! Incline running is a great way to amp up your workout and burn more calories. Running at an incline increases the intensity of your workout, which can help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. As mentioned above, it also helps to build your leg muscles and strengthen your aerobic capacities, meaning that you can run longer distances with ease in the future.
As a result, combining incline treadmill running with a healthy diet can be a great way to boost weight loss and burn fat. However, it’s important to note that every person’s fitness goals are different and should be tailored accordingly – it might be a good idea to speak with a trainer in the gym to help you find a dynamic routine that is both challenging for you and suitable for your fitness level.
Does running on an incline burn belly fat?
Running on an incline can help you burn more calories and target your core muscles, but it won’t directly cause belly fat to melt away. In fact, there’s no magic way that you can reduce belly fat or spot-target fat anywhere on your body. The only way to reduce belly fat is to follow a calorie deficit and increase your physical activity, but you won’t be able to determine which areas of your body lose weight first.
Don’t feel discouraged if any excess weight around your belly seems to be taking its time to shift: deep belly fat (also known as visceral belly fat) is the most difficult to lose. However, research has shown that HIIT cardio can be beneficial in helping burn visceral belly fat, and you can use the incline feature to perform a HIIT workout on the treadmill. This would involve running at an incline for 20-30 seconds, before taking a 10-15 second pause, and repeating for around 10 minutes. Again, all your workouts should be tailored to your fitness level, so don’t forget that this is just a generalised estimate.
What speed should I walk on incline?
The ideal speed for walking on incline will depend on your fitness level and goals. Beginners should start with an incline of 1-2% and a speed of 2-3 mph, while more advanced runners may be able to increase their incline up to 8-10% and reach speeds of 4-6 mph. Remember to always listen to your body; if it’s getting too difficult, always adjust the speed or incline accordingly, and take more frequent breaks.
The bottom line
Overall, running at an incline on a treadmill provides many fitness benefits, and can help improve both your athletic performance as well as aid your weight loss goals. For optimal results, make sure that your speed and incline is always set to best support your fitness levels, while allowing room for progressive growth.
I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.