How to get a Great HIIT workout on the Treadmill

hiit workout on treadmill

Running on the treadmill doesn’t have to be boring. Unfortunately, many assume that the only way to use a treadmill is to put it on one speed and run for an extended period. However, treadmills are incredibly versatile, and you can quickly get a great HIIT workout. 

This article will explore how to get a great HIIT workout on the treadmill and run through the benefits of such exercise. And, if you’re unsure of what HIIT is, we’ll explain that too. So, let’s get started!

What is HIIT?

Many people have never heard of HIIT before. It’s an abbreviation that stands for High-Intensity Interval Training.

It’s a form of cardiovascular conditioning that’s become incredibly popular over the last few years. HIIT allows you to get a sweat going and majorly increase your cardiovascular endurance without spending hours running, cycling, or swimming.

You can perform HIIT workouts at home in 20 minutes or less. It’s one of the best ways to increase your endurance at home, with minimal equipment.

What are the benefits of HIIT treadmill workouts?

Using a treadmill for HIIT is an excellent choice and has several benefits. Here are the most significant benefits you can expect:

  • Increase in Endurance: HIIT treadmill workouts are one of the most effective ways to increase your endurance as your heart rate constantly fluctuates due to short rest periods. Heart rate change can be more efficient to strengthen your heart than regular cardio, such as running. It’s also a great way to prepare for many sports. For instance, in tennis, you’ll play an explosive point and then have a short rest period as you prepare to serve. HIIT workouts mimic this playstyle better than a continuous run, where your heart rate stays at the same level throughout.
  • A More Exciting Workout: I don’t know about you, but I hate running long distances on a treadmill! The lack of new scenery or change in pace can be very dull, which causes many people to skip cardio. However, a HIIT workout on the treadmill is much more exciting and could give you extra motivation for your workouts.
  • Saving Time: HIIT workout on the treadmill will take about 20 minutes and can burn as many calories as an hour of steady walking or jogging. If you’re busy but still want to fit a workout in, a treadmill HIIT workout could be perfect for you.

Is treadmill HIIT good for weightloss?

Regarding weight loss (fat loss), it’s important to be in a caloric deficit, that is, expending more calories than you consume. This suggests that implementing HIIT into your workouts will not automatically cause you to lose weight if your diet is not right.

However, any form of cardio, including HIIT, is a great way to burn extra calories. For example, a 20-minute HIIT workout can burn up to 360 calories helping you to stay in a caloric deficit and assist in burning fat.

recent study found that HIIT was not significantly better for fat loss than regular, slow, and steady cardio but required less time commitment.

hiit workout on the treadmill

How long should I do HIIT on the treadmill?

treadmill HIIT workout is incredibly versatile, and you can do HIIT for as long as you’d like. With that said, here are some general guidelines.

A good treadmill beginner workout should be around 15-20 minutes, alongside a warmup and cooldown. This will give you enough time to get a sweat on and burn a load of calories. Also, I love to do a 15-minute HIIT at the end of a weight session.

For more experienced people, a treadmill HIIT workout could last up to 30 minutes. Going longer than this might mean that you’re working at your full intensity. So, if you can go for more than 30 minutes, increase the speed or incline and decrease the length of your rest periods.

Find something that works for you and feels comfortable. Everyone is different, and our workouts should reflect this.

Treadmill running VS outside running, Which is better?

The debate between treadmill running vs outside running has been going on for years. There are merits to each method, so take a look at our guide to figure out which is better for you.

 Benefits of Treadmill Running:

  • Joint Health: Running on the treadmill is much less strenuous on your joints than running on the road. Using a treadmill is an excellent idea if you plan on running every day. I’ve learned this hard and injured my shins several times. So, learn from my mistakes!
  • More Control: When you run on a treadmill, it’s much easier to control your pace, as the treadmill will give you accurate readings. Pacing is one of the hardest parts of running, and the fact that treadmills will take care of this for you makes them an excellent choice.

Cons of Treadmill Running:

  • It’s Boring: Because of the lack of scenery, treadmill running can be pretty dull, leading to a loss of motivation.
  • Missed Benefits: Running outside helps to increase your balance and coordination. Running on a treadmill won’t do this.

Benefits of Outside Running:         

  • Varied Terrain: running outside is more realistic and gets you used to changes in elevation as you run something that treadmill running cannot offer.
  • Fresh Air: When you run outside, in a forest, or near a lake, you’ll be filling your lungs with fresh air bringing several benefits to your health.

Cons of Outside Running:

  • Injuries: Outdoor surfaces are more likely to cause injuries than treadmill running. Running multiple times a week on concrete can adversely affect your joints.
  • Weather: If you plan on running outside, you’ll have to brave the elements. And trust me, running in cold, wet, and dark conditions can be very demotivating.
treadmill running vs outside

HIIT Treadmill Workouts

Here are five treadmill HIIT workouts guaranteed to push you to the limits.

Incline Treadmill Workout

This incline treadmill workout doesn’t involve sprinting. Instead, you’ll push yourself by constantly changing the treadmill’s elevation. Trust me; you’ll want to hold onto the handlebars by the end! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Perform a 5-minute warmup. Walk at a natural speed for 5 minutes and do some dynamic stretches if you feel you need to. (All of these steps are for two minutes at a time).
  2. Start on a 5% incline and at a speed of 4mph.
  3. Up the incline to 7%, and put the speed down to 3.5 mph.
  4. Take the incline down to 5% and out the speed up to 5mph.
  5. Put the incline up to 10% and the speed down to 3mph.
  6. Take the incline down to 8% and the speed up to 4mph.
  7. Repeat for as long as you can.


This HIIT workout on the treadmill will incorporate sprints and recovery and will have you out of breath before you know it!

  1. Perform a 5-minute warmup.
  2. Turn the treadmill up to a sprinting pace. Your heart rate should be around 90% of your maximum. Keep it up for 20 seconds.
  3. Go to a fast-walking pace for 2 minutes.
  4. Repeat 5-10 times, depending on your level of fitness.

Running Endurance

This is a great HIIT workout on the treadmill to test your endurance.

  1. Perform a 5-minute warmup.
  2. Turn the treadmill up to a fast-running pace. You should be able to keep this pace up for a minute.
  3. Turn the treadmill back down to a walking speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Repeat 5-10 times, depending on your fitness level.

Treadmill Fartlek

One of the best ways to burn calories fast and increase your endurance is by implementing a treadmill fartlek run into your workouts. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Perform a 5-minute warmup.
  2. Turn up the treadmill to a sprinting pace for 15 seconds.
  3. Turn the treadmill down to a running speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn the treadmill down to a walking pace for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Repeat five times.

30-Minute HIIT Workout

If you’re looking for a serious challenge, try this 30-minute HIIT:

Perform a 5-minute warmup.

  1. Sprint for 30 seconds.
  2. Run for 60 seconds.
  3. Walk for 90 seconds.
  4. Complete this block of 3 minutes 10 times.

Final Thoughts

So, there’s everything that you need to know about getting a great HIIT workout on the treadmill. Treadmill workouts don’t have to be boring, and performing HIIT is one of the best ways to mix up your cardio routines.

Make sure to consult with your doctors or PT before performing a HIIT workout. They can be very intense and unsuitable for some individuals.

About the Author

James is a freelance writer with a passion for fitness. He has written for multiple businesses, and takes great pride in producing high-quality articles. When he’s not pounding away at the keyboard James is sweating it out at the gym, boxing, watching tennis, and playing video games

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