Treadmill HIIT Workout Made Simple

Treadmill Tabata
Treadmill HIIT Workout

The Treadmill is the favorite cardio fitness workout equipment of many people who go to gym. According to a fitness expert, the first point many people arrive at, is the treadmill category, among others.

This machine, although a little bit expensive, is effective and powerful for its purpose. With little effort applied for a few minutes, much  achieved. It’s amazing to see quick results (shortcuts).

Even as we can do moderate exercises on the machine, many users prefer to take things up to a higher level – this is known as treadmill HIIT workouts.

It is a fact that, doing HIIT workouts on a treadmill will give you faster results than doing the conventional ones.

Therefore, fitness experts recommend that we do this frequently.

Athletes, in general, and runners, in specific, subject themselves to exercises like this for improved performance. And of course, they always see the result.

But wait…

What are HIIT exercises?

Before you begin your first Treadmill HIIT workout, it would make sense if you have a basic understanding of this concept.

HIIT is the acronym for High-Intensity Interval Training (or High-intensity Intermittent Exercise).

As the name implies,

  • Firstly, it is an intense workout. That means, it is a physical activity done with extreme strength.

When doing a hiit workout, you work at your maximum energy limit till you become exhausted and find it difficult to move on.

Many times, you move on till you get weary, to the point where you cannot even manage to speak, and are grasping for breathe.

For some timid guys reading this, I know this may sound scary – don’t worry, there is nothing to be afraid of. In as much as you follow the measures, you will be fine.

For other guys like me, this is what we like. 🙂 Thumbs up!

For the period you would be doing some hiit, you should put in your all.

  • Secondly, it is done in intervals. After a brief period of extreme workout, take a breather.

Less intense or no physical activities should be done to recover and get ready for the next phase. It takes rounds.

There is no standard length of time for working out and catching some breath. For many people, they do 2 minutes stretch of hard exercise and use the next 1 minute to catch some breath, and continue this way.

The idea behind this is that, you keep on pressing hard and recovering, until it is impossible to move on.

Like short-distance races

It works by the principle of sprints or short-distance track races (100m, 200m etc) – just like sprinters do in the Olympics.

As you know, right from the start till they cross the finish line, runners move with full speed and with all their energy, trying to take the lead.

Even if they get tired, they don’t quit till the end. For the few seconds they spend running on the track, they invest their zeal and vigour in it.

This is one of many reasons why athletes are regular High-intensity exercisers.

Now that you understand what it means, I predict that you cannot wait to start your first hiit workout.

What happens when you do HIIT?

Fast-Twitch Muscles Fibres VS Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibres

When you do exercises in a steady state (no intensity), you are making use of your slow-twitch muscles. When your physical activity comes with a little bit of ease (no serious effort put into it), the slow-twitch muscle fibres are the force behind it.

As a result of this, you respire aerobically (like you normally do) and there won’t be an “Oxygen debt“. This is because you are working at normal pace.

But…if you take the exercise a level up (HIIT), the process changes. Now you start using fast-twitch muscles.

Again, as the name implies, fast-twitch muscles are automatically used when the body enters a state of intense physical activity. This time, you won’t respire aerobically, but anaerobically.

The energy required to keep you going is greater than the energy supplied from the oxidation of glucose in your body cells. In turn, the cells now begin to produce energy from the stored fats in the body to cover up for the required energy demand.

You guessed right – it would lead to an Oxygen debt; the debt would be settled when the body returns to its steady state.

This means that, fast-twitch muscles are designed for short but fast dissipation of energy, while slow-twitch are for the opposite.

It is therefore useful to do these kinds of cardiovascular exercises, so that the body would get used to it and be prepared by default whenever the sudden need for intense work arises.

Now that you have a great deal of understanding, it is time to provide effective Treadmill HIIT workouts.


As beneficial as the physical activity is, there are some steps you should take before you start. If not taken, they could bring side effects.

Consult a medical personnel in case of underlying health issue

If you have a health issue, HIIT is not something you should do without seeking medical counsel.

It may be dangerous doing so without seeking medical advice.

Some exercises may be too much for you to bear. Some may even aggravate the health issue.

Check yourself twice before you think of starting.

Be hydrated

Always drink enough water before and after, to help yourself.

Everytime you do hiit, you lose a lot of water through sweat. Make sure to restore the lost water.

Always warm up before you start

The first step to starting a High-intensity Interval Training on a treadmill is to always start with a warm up.

Stretch your body. Start at a slow pace. Walk or Jog to prepare your body.

By warming up, you are preparing yourself for the challenge ahead.

If you do a treadmill HIIT workout without preparing, you run the risk of hurting yourself.

It is a heated workout, not the regular.
Do some light exercises to give yourself the vibe.

Don’t harbour Fear

Fear is the greatest killer of accomplishment. If you entertain fear in your mind, you will deny yourself of the benefits derivable from exercising.
Fear has its side effects if you allow it.

You may be afraid of falling or getting injured, but that wouldn’t even happen in the first place. Play safe.

Get your confidence and start now.

Peradventure fear grips you during the course, remember to press the Emergency shut off button, if your treadmill has one. Ensure you locate the button before you start.

Don’t hold the handle

Your first time trying out HIIT on a treadmill may come with the temptation to hold the treadmill handle, so that you won’t slip and get injured.

This is not a good idea.

Most times, fear makes you think you will get injured.

This is why it is recommended to start at a slow pace – say 3mph. When you get the hang of it, you may increase the speed.

Ensure you don’t hold the handles. Set a speed that you are confident of.

But there is an exception to this rule.

When you are running at high speeds on the treadmill, it may be difficult for you to stop or slow down, except if the treadmill is slowed down.

This is one of the difficulties beginners face.

To solve this, it is recommended that, everytime you run at high speeds, you may use the handles to lift yourself up and then place your legs on the sides of the treadmill.

This is safer.

Another way to get off and recover is to simply lower the speed as you run. Many times, only experienced persons can achieve this.

Dr Kevin Sarich explains this in this video.

But apart from this, again I say, don’t hold the handles.

Treadmill Workouts

At this point, it is important to know that there is no fixed way of doing hiit. You know your personal speed limit – you would be running at this limit.

In this article, I will give you three workout plans for 10 minutes, 20 minutes and 30 minutes. This, however, does not mean you can’t go across the limit.

For many people, the highest timeframe they do hiit is 30 minutes. Going above to 40, 60 minutes, may get you overworked.

Some workout plans you could use

10 minutes at 4 rounds

00:00-05:00 — Warm up. Stretch. Run at slow pace.
05:00-05:30 — Run at 10 to 12mph
05:30-06:30 — Run at 4 to 6mph
06:30-7:00 — 11mph
7:00-8:00 — 4 to 6mph
8:00-8:30 — 11mph
8:30- 9:30 — 3 to 5mph
9:30-10:00 — 12mph

After the 5 minutes warm-up, do 30 seconds at 12mph and 30 seconds at 3mph for five rounds.

End by walking at 2mph for 5 minutes to cool down.

20 Minutes of 7 rounds

5 minutes of warm-up.
1 minute at 11mph
1 minute at 3mph
1 minute at 11mph
1 minute at 3mph
1 minute at 12mph with 2-percent incline
1 minute at 2mph with 2-percent incline
1 minute at 12mph with 3-percent incline
1:30 minutes at 2mph (2-percent incline)
1 minute at 12mph with 4-percent incline
2 minutes at 2mph (no incline)
1 minute at 12mph with 5-percent incline
1:30 minutes at 3mph (2-percent incline)
1 minute at 13mph with 5-percent incline

5 minutes of walking at 2mph with no incline.

You can always take the speed up or down if you are not satisfied.

30 minutes
5 minutes warm up.
30 seconds sprint
90 seconds walk or jog at slow speed
Repeat from 30 seconds sprint 12 times, adding incline in-between)
60 seconds at 9mph with incline
300 seconds (5 mins) at 2mph

You may increase the length of time and even go at higher speeds. Just make sure you are at your maximum.

It is difficult to come up with a good workout plan that may work effectively for you. You would achieve the best result when you understand yourself and follow what works well.

The above plan will guide you.

Benefits of Treadmill HIIT Workout

The treadmill is a powerful tool for performing extreme workouts. You can work at your own pace and fire things up if you feel like.

Many modern treadmills have built-in functionalities that supports effective HIIT for beginner, intermediate or advanced levels.

As a matter of fact, if you have low fitness level, it is sometimes recommended that you start with a treadmill – you can later progress to advanced fitness equipment.

What is achievable by merely running around the street for 30 minutes cannot be compared to that achievable when you do HIIT workouts on a treadmill for 30 mins.

So then, here are some benefits of HIIT Workouts on a Treadmill.

Burns Fats and Calories Faster

This is good news for guys that are determined to exhaust their body fat. This may be the solution you have been looking for, as there are lots of ways to lose body fats.

A recent research has shown that getting body fats burned is faster by doing Treadmill HIIT workouts, than doing normal-pace treadmill exercises. This is true beyond all doubt.

It’s interesting to know that I can achieve more from a 30-min intense exercise, than from doing something light for twice the period of time. Of course, this woud bring pain, but then, it would save me a lot of time.

It is one of the fastest ways to shred calories. As you stretch yourself, you burn these compounds.

After the workout, your body tries to return to normalcy since you have exhausted a lot of energy. The lost energy is restored by metabolizing the excess fats. This is where the benefit lies – and it is the sweetest part.

So as you do exercises regularly you will soon notice that more and more of your body fats are burned. This is also how treadmill helps you lose weight.

Imagine how much you would achieve if you were consistent.

Builds Athletic Capacity and Endurance

One of the qualities that make a good athlete is endurance. Endurance is not only needed by athletes but needed by everyone.

As you engage more and more in hiit, your body gets used to doing strength-demanding activities. In a way to adapt to adapt, your capacity to endure will be improved.

This is the reason why athletes do these kinds of workouts everyday, and it is because of the demanding nature of their profession.

An improvement is in leg-power development. Suddenly, you would find out that your bones have become stronger. This is an increase in bone density.

Besides improving athletic capacity, an increase in bone density is a sure bet for reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis – a serious bone disease in adults.

Improves Glucose Metabolism

A discovery was made in a research by Kari Kalliokoski and Jarna Hannukainen at the University of Turku, Finland.

The result was that High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has a rapid impact on glucose metabolism in muscles, and insulin sensitivity in type-2 diabetes.

The body needs sugar to produce energy for what we love doing daily. Glucose is the simplest form of sugar usable by the body. It is stored in the body as Glycogen.

The body cells make use of the glucose from food substances by chemically reacting it with Oxygen. The reaction is aerobic and the by-products are carbon dioxide, water and energy.

This is how we get energy for our everyday activities.

So then, HIIT on a treadmill will improve the rate of oxidation of glucose in your body cells, because as you do it, oxygen is used up at a faster rate.

This is turn will help us get rid of excess fats in the body. Excess fats is toxic for the body.

On the other hand, this is not to say that moderate intensity training has no impact on glucose level.

In fact, according to studies, both High-intensity and Moderate-intensity have the same effect; The only difference is that much can be gained in a shorter period of time when you do High-intensity.

For you to have a balanced result, you may have to spend more than two times the length of time used for High-intensity.

So everyone can choose the type of exercise that suits them best.

For me, I would rather do High-intensity and achieve more in a short period.

For a diabetic patient, the importance of this point cannot be overemphasized. According to some research, exercise reduces blood sugar as much as diabetes medication.

Therefore, it is recommended.

Ensure that before you change your exercise routine, you should consult your doctor if you have an underlying health issue.

How often should you do Treadmill HIIT?

If that is your question, although answerable, I don’t think I have the answer to your question.

You will give the answer, but I will only suggest or recommend.

Determining the frequency of intense exercising is dependent on many factors: health, time, money, profession, age, purpose and so on.

If the reason is pressing, you may have to do more frequent HIIT.

If you have the time and energy, you could do more.

If you have no health issue, you could do more.

Try to do hiit at least two times per week. Add other fitness workouts too.

Did you know?

Many years back, people used treadmills for punishing law offenders rather than for exercising. Now you know. 😉


Doing frequent Treadmill hiit workout is unarguably a good way to step up your routine. If you have not tried it, you should do it next time you go to the gym because you will achieve results faster than moderate-pace exercises.

Emma Ayo

Emma is the CEO of SimplyBioHealth. His passionate interest in living a healthy and fit lifestyle and improving living standard, drove him to creating this blog. Here, he shares only the fitness tips that work.