Interval Treadmill Workouts

Interval workouts on the treadmill can be monitored in detail, helping you to improve your walking and running performance in small increments. You can walk, run or do a combination of both in very short or long time periods with a quick look and adjustment on the treadmill display. If you are just beginning to work out, always do a slow walk on the treadmill as a warm-up followed by a quick five minutes of stretching prior to your actual interval session.


Walk Intervals

Combine periods of moderate walking with bursts of faster walking. Set your treadmill to a speed where you can walk and talk comfortably. Walk at this speed for three minutes then increase your speed to a faster walk for one minute. For instance, walk at 2.6 miles per hour for three minutes then walk at 3.2 miles per hour for one minute. Repeat this ratio of a moderate walk to a faster walk building up to 30 minutes. Occasionally increase the speed of your fast walk during your session. The American College of Sports Medicine advises a moderate intensity, 30-minute walk three to five days of the week will improve your health.

Walk and Jog Intervals

Most treadmills have shock absorption systems designed to reduce the stress placed on your joints. If you have had trouble jogging outside due to joint pain, use a treadmill and start with very short, slow jogging intervals. Walk for two minutes and 40 seconds then jog for 20 seconds. Work toward 30 minutes of this interval, increasing your jogging speed during your session. For example, walk for two minutes 40 seconds at 2.8 miles per hour then jog at 3.6 miles per hour for 20 seconds. Use your treadmill display as your timer, noting your walk periods begin on multiples of three minutes.

As your fitness improves, change your walk and run intervals as well as the duration of your interval session. The longer the duration of your session, the slower your speeds must be for your intervals. Likewise, the shorter the duration of your session, the faster you must walk and run. For instance, walk for two minutes and jog for one minute for up to 20 minutes; walk for three minutes and jog for two minutes for up to 60 minutes; jog for 10 minutes then walk for five minutes for a total of 45 minutes.

Hill Intervals

Walking and jogging hills will effectively target your buttock muscles. Walk on a 1 percent incline for four minutes then increase the incline to 2 to 4 percent for one minute. While it does take a little while for the treadmill to adjust incline levels, always adjust on the minute to maintain consistency in your training. Use a five-minute interval session and increase the incline on the fourth minute and decrease the incline on the fifth minute. Walk up a longer hill, keeping your flat walk at four minutes but increasing your hill walk to three minutes at a 3 to 5 percent incline. Build up to a 45-minute hill session.

  • “Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription”; American College of Sports Medicine; 2006
  • “Personal Trainer Manual”; American Council on Exercise; 1997

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