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Treadmill Tips: Cross Training With Incline

I have said it before and I will say it again, if you are running on a treadmill you have got to work the incline. For walking, jogging or running you should always bump the incline up to at least level 1.0, because no running surface is ever that perfect or that flat. Plus when you are outdoors you are also dealing with the wind. If you are cross training and using a treadmill the incline can help you target your treadmill workout to suit your main sport. Performance specialist Dr. Emily Cooper gave the ladies at Women's Health magazine this advice:

  • Hiking: Set it to 7 to 10 percent to mimic trail conditions and make your glutes do the brunt of the work.
  • Cycling: Set it to 4 to 6 percent to work your hamstrings and quads, the pedaling muscles.
  • Running: Set it at 1 to 4 percent to target your quads and calves.

I know you all love using the treadmill! Do you work the incline? Tell me how you use the incline setting in the comments section below.


insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
I have a cheap-o treadmill that I have to get off of to manually change the incline, so I always leave it set to 10 degrees and vary my speed from 3.5 - 4 mph. I love the increased calorie burn, and it doesn't feel nearly as challenging as running.
blue-skies blue-skies 9 years
I'd never tried this before as I am very new to using gym equipment and usually just go with the quick start settings. I went for 3% and it made such a difference! Thanks for the tip FitSugar!
lisaleeh lisaleeh 9 years
I normally walk with the incline at around 5% of the 10% that it goes to. On occasion, when I'm feeling really great, I've bumped it gradually up to 10 then slowly reduced back down. Toward the end of my workout, I'll increase my speed and reduce the incline a little if I'm having difficulty. The lower body stretches feel wonderful after this.
bawp125 bawp125 9 years
Stupidasscat, I did your tv workout today to switch things up and I loved it! Great suggestion!
mrskrismendoza mrskrismendoza 9 years
We had a treadmill for like 7 years. Then some stupid rat peed on it and ruined it.
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
I keep it flat til towards the end of my workout, then the last few minutes go up to 2-3%. I need to be at least at 1%, I know, I'm working on it ;)
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
I just have it at 1.5 or 2...sometimes 2.5 or more. I jog at 1.5.
Stupidasscat Stupidasscat 9 years
I have stumbled across the best way to burn a whole lot of calories on the treadmill I find an 1/2 hr to an hour long show that I like and while the show is on I have it on the steepest incline possible and walk at a slightly faster than normal walk (imagine exciting sale item you want to hurry and get to w/o running) and then while the commercials are on I lower it to about a 1 and then jog then whole lenght of the commercial show comes back on I raise it again and walk and repeat the whole lenght of the show I can burn OVER 600 cals. in an hour long show and with the steep incline I fel that i'm working the area between my butt and thigh and hopefully preventing any sagging.
acemonkey acemonkey 9 years
I have pre set workouts on my treadmills that vary the speed and the incline. They are wonderful! I go up to a 4 mph with an 8 incline.
Kyko Kyko 9 years
I ALWAYS hike on my treadmill with the incline as FAR UP as it can go (10). I really see a difference in my leg muscles, and I'm glad I started doing that from the SECOND I bought my treadmill. My butt is beautiful now! (I walk at 3.0)
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I warm-up at about 2 or 3% and depending on the day I may go all the way up to 12%. I do not hold on to the sides and no one really should. You have arms and you need to use them.
AMP AMP 9 years
I've never put the incline below 2 and recently I've been keeping it at 2.5. And I go up and down throughout my workout. I'll jog with it at 2.5, then I'll slow down my walk a bit and hike the incline to 15, then I'll slow it down even more and walk backwards at a 10 incline. It all keeps me from getting bored.
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 9 years
i go back and forth from flat to 2.0. my girlfriend Maria and I do a treadmill workout where we have our speed at 4.0 and the incline as high as it will go then do this for half an hour. major leg and calorie burn!
kyleracine kyleracine 9 years
I run on a real hill outdoors. I'm not much of a treadmill person. So why did I actually bother to comment on this particular post? I'm actually hoping you could help me. I'd like to find a website that tells me how many calories I'm burning running uphill but none of the calorie counters I've found have that as a choice. Can FitSugar help?
rumpel2 rumpel2 9 years
i keep varying my incline throughout...sometimes i set it flat if i dont have much energy
klandrach klandrach 9 years
I like to use an incline and it depends my mood what sort of incline. What I wonder is the women you see at the gym with the intense incline that are clinging to the sides of the treadmill so they don't fall off. Does this defeat the point or are they really getting a better workout this way?
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
I love incline. My treadmill has pre-set routines that vary the incline at different times. I'd still rather be outside, but it's nice. :)
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
When I run mine is always at 2. It seems to work perfect for me at this point :)
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