What Does an Incline on the Treadmill Do?

The treadmill is a common piece of fitness equipment that can be found at local gyms or purchased for home use. They feature settings, such as speed and incline, that can be utilized to change your workout and increase intensity. The incline setting on the treadmill offers many benefits that can help to reduce body fat, build muscle, increase cardiovascular endurance and improve overall fitness.


Cardio & Muscle Building

The treadmill challenges your cardiovascular system to burn calories, improve heart health and reduce body fat. In addition to cardio exercise, the treadmill can offer muscle-building properties by utilizing the incline setting. Depending on how steep you set the incline, exercising on an inclined treadmill will build muscle throughout the lower body. Building muscle and cardiovascular endurance in one exercise makes it a great time saver for those with a hectic schedule.

Increased Intensity

Exercising on an incline forces your body to recruit new muscle fibers and increase the intensity of your workout. You can set an automatic program on the treadmill, which will randomly change the incline while you are walking or running, providing you with conditions that are more easily associated with a natural environment such a trail or mountainous terrain, says Reebok Treadmill. Increasing your intensity and mixing up your routine will burn more calories and help you reach your fitness goals.

Increased Toning

The incline setting on a treadmill will target your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. According to Free Motion Fitness, leg and butt muscle activation increases by 50 percent when you change your incline setting from zero to 30 percent.


The convenience of a treadmill with an incline setting will allow you to workout indoors regardless of weather conditions such as extreme heat, cold or rain. Also, many treadmill machines work in conjunction with heart rate monitors which will allow you to gauge if you are working within your target heart rate zone.


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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.