Are you looking for cardio ideas that you can do for a new HIIT treadmill workout?
When you think about using treadmill equipment, you probably think about running on a treadmill or walking.
But you probably didn’t realize that you can also do a HIIT treadmill workout.
You can take an ordinary treadmill cardio session to a high-intensity fitness experience with a few simple concepts.
In this article, we will discuss 5 different high-intensity interval training workouts that you can do on your treadmill.
What Is HIIT?
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is an exercise that alternates between short periods of intense activity and rest periods.
This is in contrast to steady-state cardio, which is a single-intensity exercise with no seconds of rest until the workout is completed, often at a quick speed.
In other words, you perform an exercise for a set amount of time. When that time is up, you rest for another set time. This sequence is alternated for a set number of rounds.
The active sets are done with a high level of effort, hence the “high-intensity.” The goal is to put as much intensity as possible on the timer in a short amount of time.
You can do HIIT with any exercise, but it is often used with cardio exercises such as running, biking, or rowing.
What Are The Benefits Of A HIIT Workout?
The benefits of HIIT include improved cardiovascular fitness, increased fat burning, weight loss, and a shorter HIIT workout time.
HIIT workouts are typically shorter than traditional cardio workouts because they are more intense.
In other words, you can get a great HIIT workout in less time with HIIT.
This is especially beneficial if you have a busy lifestyle and don’t have much time to dedicate to working out.
Another great benefit of HIIT is that it helps you burn more fat. A 2011 study showed that HIIT raises your heart rate and metabolism for a prolonged period after the full-body workout.
The increase in heart rate results in an additional 200 calorie burn for some people in the study.
This means you will continue to burn calories at a higher rate even after you finish your workout.
5 Great HIIT Treadmill Workout Exercises
Incline Treadmill HIIT Walk
Regular running HIIT on a treadmill is a bit too obvious, so let’s start off with a HIIT treadmill workout that is slightly less obvious.
High intensity doesn’t always equal fast, especially on a treadmill.
One of the best HIIT treadmill workout ideas is to walk, not run.
But not just any walking will do.
To make this a high-intensity workout, you must work for your walk.
This means that on your active sections of each set, your incline level needs to be as high as it can go and set at a speed you can barely keep up.
If your treadmill doesn’t have a high incline or none, then increase the speed until it’s at a pace that’s almost too fast to walk to.
I like to do 10 sets, 1 minute active, and 30 seconds rest of this treadmill HIIT exercise.
This is a great HIIT for beginners’ treadmill workout.
Baby Steps HIIT Exercises
Not every step of a HIIT treadmill workout has to be a full step.
One of the best HIIT treadmill workout ideas requires a much smaller step.
Get on the treadmill, and select an incline level between 0 and low. For example, if your treadmill incline goes to 10, max out around 2 or 3.
The idea is to take small, quick steps and stay off the heels.
This means staying on the front of your feet, predominantly the toes area.
Each treadmill step should be quick. If you aren’t out of breath after your first active section, then increase the speed on the next.
Remember, you want each section to be almost too tough to complete, but not quite.
You can raise the treadmill incline on this further for an extra challenge, but if your speed is set right, you probably won’t need to.
Treadmill Farmer Walk High-Intensity Interval Training
A farmer walk is an exercise where you hold weights in each hand and walk.
You can do this treadmill HIIT workout with dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells. For the sake of the treadmill, we will use dumbbells, kettlebells, or plate weights (my preference).
You will need two weights equal in size for this HIIT treadmill workout idea. Hold the weights and begin walking on the treadmill.
Farmer Walks are usually done for extended periods, so for the sake of HIIT, we need to increase the intensity to make a 30-second or 1-minute section intense.
During a typical walk, speed is usually not your friend, and carrying that additional weight when walking fast can lead to accidents.
So, let’s increase the treadmill incline on this instead.
Take it up as far as you can until 1 round is almost too intense. If you have trouble completing a round, bring the incline level down and try again.
You can hold the weights in any position that is comfortable for you. Some people like to hold them at their sides, straight over their heads, while others prefer to hold them in front of their bodies.
Walk for 30 seconds to one minute, and then 30 seconds of rest to 60 seconds rest.
Repeat this until you have completed your desired sets for this HIIT treadmill workout.
Incline 4 Way Circuit HIIT
The 4-way circuit is one of my favorite HIIT workouts, whether running on the treadmill or out on the open road.
In most HIIT treadmill workouts, you repeat the same fitness exercise throughout the session.
The 4-Way Circuit HIIT combines four different HIIT workouts into one big HIIT workout.
Start with a treadmill incline halfway to the max level. For 1 minute, walk facing forward to your starting position.
After a 30-second rest, turn to your left and shuffle your feet as you are facing that same direction for 1 minute. Then take 30 seconds of rest.
Now turn to the back, and walk backward on the treadmill for 1 minute. After a final 30-second rest, turn to your left and do a last 1-minute foot shuffle before starting the sequence again.
Do this 360-degree rotation three times, and raise your incline between each set for two incline raises.
The changeup in the treadmill HIIT workouts keeps this 12-movement HIIT workout fresh and fun while creating a calorie burn that’s worth it.
For an extra intense workout, jog or sprint instead of walking.
Weighted Vest Treadmill HIIT
We already discussed the idea of carrying weight on the treadmill above. When you are holding weights in your hands, grip strength and hand endurance become factors that could lead to the need to carry less weight.
But, a weighted vest hits differently than holding a dumbbell or other weights.
With a weighted vest, you wear the weights.
A weighted vest is a vest that you can wear to increase your overall body weight. Imagine if you weigh 150 pounds, then a weighted vest will add another 40 pounds to your body.
You may not think this is a big deal, but I promise your legs will notice the full-body workout.
And on a treadmill HIIT workout, this becomes true.
Slap on a weighted vest (I recommend the RunFast Weighted Vest from Amazon, click HERE to see it), but don’t add too much weight to the vest yet.
Increase the treadmill’s incline to its highest point, then increase the treadmill speed to a fast walk pace.
NOW start adding a bit of weight for the first 1 minute round. Take a 1-minute rest, and add more weight to your vest. Do another 1 minute round.
Add weight to your vest until you are nearly unable to complete a high-intensity round of walking. Take your rest and complete the desired number of remaining HIIT workout sets.
How To Track Your Timers During HIIT Workouts
Tracking your start and stop times during your HIIT treadmill workouts is essential to high-intensity interval strength training workouts and the number of sets.
There are several apps on the market now that can assist with this. I use an app called “Seconds,” which is available on both the iOS and Google Play marketplaces.
What Muscle Groups Do HIIT Workouts Target?
HIIT treadmill workouts are a great way to get in shape but can also be confusing. What muscle groups do HIIT treadmill workouts target? Do they work your entire body or just certain areas?
The answer is a little bit of both.
HIIT treadmill workouts target the major muscle groups in your body, including your chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs, and core.
However, HIIT workouts also work for your heart and lungs, which is why HIIT is often considered a cardiovascular exercise.
In addition to targeting specific muscle groups, HIIT workouts also help you burn fat and calories.
This is because HIIT workouts are high-intensity interval training, which means you alternate between intense activity and recovery periods.
This exercise is more effective at burning fat and calories than traditional cardio exercises like running or biking.
Final Thoughts On HIIT Treadmill Workout Ideas
Some of my favorite HIIT workout ideas have come from just being creative.
I just started doing my 4-Way Circuit from above one day while running outside. I wanted something challenging.
I recommend starting all HIIT treadmill workouts with moderate intensity for the first couple of rounds to get warmed up. Once the body is ready, kick the high-intensity interval training HIIT workout into high gear.
Those two things are critical to a successful HIIT treadmill workout. It needs to be both challenging and fun.
So give these treadmill HIIT workouts a try, or invent your own.
But regardless of what you do, keep doing it.
Treadmill HIIT FAQ
If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy:
- The 7 Best Grip Strengtheners For Hand Grip Strength
- The 7 Most Surprising Weighted Vest Workout Ideas | 2022
- Want A Six Pack? 7 Best Ab Workout Exercises You Need To Know
Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape to better himself and those around him, focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.