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How to Run Hills on a Treadmill, Plus a 20-Minute Workout

This 20-Minute Treadmill Workout From a Trainer Will Ease You Into Running on an Incline

Beginner treadmill incline runs workout

Walking or running uphill on the treadmill is great for targeting your booty and adding an extra challenge to your cardio session. "The longer you're up on the incline, the more your hamstrings and glutes are going to fire up," Peloton Tread instructor and RRCA-certified run coach Becs Gentry told POPSUGAR. If you're new to inclines, though, Becs has a few pointers since, like anything you're doing for the first time, you'll want to ease into it and stay safe.

Becs said that beginners tend to have this fear that, as the treadmill gets higher, the belt gets shorter, which makes them crowd the front of the treadmill. "They come very close to the crossbar and then that inhibits them from actually running with proper form because they haven't got the space to lift their knees and drive their arms efficiently," she explained. Due to this, she suggested that they refrain from going any higher than an incline of about eight percent for an extended period of time if they're jogging or running. Walking on those higher inclines with proper form, she said, is fine.

Beginners, Becs continued, should ease into these uphill treadmill runs by walking on a four- or five-percent incline, then gradually taking up the speed every 20 seconds. Staying on that incline, decrease the speed back to a walk, then up again. "If you're like 'OK, I'm up here for a while, but I'm allowed to walk, too,' it could give you that momentum to keep going," Becs said.


If you're unsure how to incorporate intervals of incline runs into your treadmill session, no worries! Becs gave us a 20-minute workout you can try out yourself. And, you can also find more beginner hill classes on the Peloton Digital app.

20-Minute Beginner Incline Running Treadmill Workout

This workout consists of a five-minute warmup, intervals of hill climbs interspersed with recovery walks and jogs, and a four-minute hill decline with 15-second intervals. As you climb those hills and the incline goes up, feel free to slow your pace. In fact, Becs said that's preferred. The speed ranges seen below are simply suggestions. You'll only be on a 10-percent incline twice during the workout for 15 seconds each time.

Note: When you see "confident steady run" below, it means the kind of pace you can sustain for a long period of time while having a light conversation, according to Becs. Of course, you can dial the intensity up or down depending your fitness level. Here are some dynamic warmup moves and static cooldown stretches to do as well. Have at it!

Time Speed (MPH) Incline Notes
0:00-5:00 2-4.5 0 Warmup walk/jog
5:00-7:00 4.5-6 2 Confident steady run
7:00-8:30 4.5-6 3 Confident steady run
8:30-9:30 4.5-6 4 Confident steady run
9:30-10:00 4.5-6 5 Confident steady run
10:00-10:15 4.5-6 6 Confident steady run
10:15-10:30 4.5-6 7 Confident steady run
10:30-12:00 2-3.5 0 Recover walk
12:00-13:00 3-4.5 0 Jog
13:00-13:45 4.5-6 8 Confident steady run
13:45-14:15 4.5-6 9 Confident steady run
14:15-14:30 4.5-6 10 Confident steady run
14:30-16:00 2-3.5 0 Recover walk
16:00-16:15 2-3.5 10 Fast walk/light jog
16:15-16:30 2-3.5 8 Walk
16:30-16:45 4.5-6 8 Confident steady run
16:45-17:00 2-3.5 6 Walk
17:00-17:15 4.5-6 6 Confident steady run
17:15-17:30 2-3.5 6 Walk
17:30-17:45 4.5-6 6 Confident steady run
17:45-18:00 2-3.5 6 Walk
18:00-18:15 4.5-6 6 Confident steady run
18:15-18:30 2-3.5 4 Walk
18:30-18:45 4.5-6 4 Confident steady run
18:45-19:00 2-3.5 4 Walk
19:00-19:15 4.5-6 4 Confident steady run
19:15-19:30 2-3.5 4 Walk
19:30-19:45 4.5-6 4 Confident steady run
19:45-20:00 2-3.5 3 Walk

You'll find a printable version of this workout here.

Image Source: Getty / DjelicS
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