Most people do not associate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with treadmills, as many of the exercises are bodyweight-focused and do not involve machines. Moreover, treadmill owners train at a steady pace, walking or jogging at the same speed and taking advantage of the device’s built-in workouts. A treadmill exercise is usually the antithesis of an HIIT workout. For anyone looking for continued muscle growth, such practices will eventually lead to a plateau in improvement as the body adapts to the physical activity. The plateau is why HIIT – a continually changing and challenging program – is so attractive to athletes. If you want to give HIIT a shot but don’t want to abandon your treadmill, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds.

How HIIT Works

HIIT exercises are anaerobic, meaning they require short yet powerful bursts of energy. Football running backs, 50-yard swimmers, and explosive kettlebell bodybuilders are just some examples of people who focus primarily on anaerobic exercise. Treadmill exercises concentrate more on “steady-state cardio,” which is designed for endurance rather than power.

Endurance-focused exercise can certainly keep you healthy, but it requires less energy and does not burn as many calories as HIIT. HIIT doesn’t just use more energy, it also burns calories after the workout due to post-exercise oxygen consumption. This means that even though HIIT does not last as long, it typically burns more calories and can even burn calories after your workout is complete.

Implementing HIIT Workouts on your Treadmill

Your treadmill most likely has speed and incline settings (if they don’t, you may need a new treadmill) and these two options alone can help you build a great HIIT workout! To start, you must adjust the settings in a way that meets your “one minute limit.” In other words, find the most exercise that you can consistently achieve within a minute. If you can last longer than the minute, then it is not intense enough.

Work your way up slowly. Going too far in intensity means high chances of injury, and it is better to discover your initial limits rather than hurting yourself. Don’t worry about how “weak” your limit may be at first, everyone has to start somewhere, and even a fast paced walk with no incline can be enough to start strengthening your body. Once you have established your minute, alternate between the one minute of high intensity and a short 30-second rest period. Do this for a half-hour to get a thorough workout.

Due to HIIT’s intensity, most coaches will recommend starting at two days of the week dedicated to interval training. You can continue with endurance training on alternate days to keep your body in shape, but don’t forget to have at least one rest day! If you start getting bored of the treadmill – or simply want to explore other exercises – PumpFit Club offers free classes that utilize bodyweight exercises and plyometrics cardio training. Sign up for our next pump today!