July 9, 2024 8:05 am
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What is Treadmill Incline – Benefits of Using Incline on a Treadmill

While it is true that using the treadmill incline feature can be a great way to boost your treadmill workouts; it can also be a dangerous tool especially when not used correctly. If used too often or incorrectly it can hamper your workout and fitness goals.

Running On An Incline

Running on an incline is the theoretical equivalent of running up a hill but it is not the same, the outdoors offers the elements and uneven ground which makes it a much tougher exercise routine. One should not equate running on the treadmill with an incline as equivalent to running outside up and down hills. The incline on the treadmill also has one fall back and that is, it can not give you the experience of running down a hill, which by itself is a very tough weight loss exercise.

Best Way To Run On An Incline

Always be cautious when running on the incline on the treadmill, be sure to keep your form right and never over do it! The best way to ensure safety is to run at an incline of 0% for 2 minutes followed by a 3 minute run of an incline at 5%, you keep alternating between the two and you will be super fit and injury free in no time. If you do intend to use the treadmill to lose weight, be sure to run outside when you can. For the days you cannot run outside, you may use the treadmill to complete your fitness program.

In summary it is always best to run outdoors in a hilly area and if you cannot run outdoors you can use the incline on the treadmill to mimic running up hills.

Benefits Of Using Incline On A Treadmill

Extreme Muscle Toning

Any sort of incline challenges muscles further. A high incline treadmill tones the muscles much faster, improving quads, hamstrings, glutes and also ankle strength. A higher incline tones muscles and burns calories 5 times quicker for fast fat loss.

Improved Cardio

Without a strong cardiovascular system your muscles cannot work to their full potential. A strong heart will improve your endurance. The high incline treadmill pushes your heart rate even further than a normal treadmill, allowing you to push yourself and improve your health.

Engages Different Muscles

Walking and running on a flat surface only targets so many muscles. Integrating incline into your routine will help you access a wider range of muscles that would typically be excluded from a flat surface workout. When you change from a flat surface to an incline, muscles including your calves, hamstrings and glutes are activated. As the incline increases your muscles are forced to do more work as the body must exert more energy to propel itself forward and against gravity.

Prevents Boredom

Running on a treadmill in the house can lead to boredom – there is no escaping it. There is only so much you can stare at the pattern on your wallpaper while you run. Adding another level of difficulty keeps a workout fresh and exciting while providing a new challenge. Having the option of pushing the incline as far as you can go will keep an exercise routine exciting.


As well as adding a level of difficulty, the high incline design allows you to perform more than just a jog. You can include incline lunges, squats, high knees, side skips and straight skips in an exercise routine.

Up Hill Climbing In A Controlled Environment

Love hiking? It is a great way to improve muscle and keep healthy, however uneven ground and unpredictable weather can put a stop to things very easily. A high incline treadmill allows you to improve your leg muscles, preparing yourself for an outdoor hike, thus providing a safer foundation for when you step outside and take on any wide open space.

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How To Adjust The Incline On Your Treadmill?

Treadmills come with two different incline options, manual or automatic. You will find an automatic incline standard to most treadmill models, with a select couple needing the incline to be adjusted manually. Increasing the manual incline requires more time and effort as users need to stop the machine and step off to adjust the lever. A treadmill with a manual incline is a good option for shorter workouts from users who typically like to walk or run on a flat surface. The automatic incline on the other hand is more user-friendly with the ability to change your incline mid-workout through the push of a button. This is a better option for users wanting to complete interval training and longer workouts. Incline buttons are typically found on the console or on the handlebars, up and down buttons are fitted on the display screen allowing you to make single increments. Otherwise, pre-set levels allow you to quickly set your incline level. Most treadmills also offer pre-set programs, these programs allow you to easily complete interval workouts by automatically adjusting your speed and incline.

When Should You Not Use Incline?

While there are many benefits to walking on an incline, there are some things to consider if you have pre-existing injuries or limited fitness capabilities. When you switch from a flat surface to incline, additional pressure is placed on your joints which may lead to soreness and even pain if you have recently recovered from an injury. Completing hill climbs can cause you to unknowingly slouch or lean backwards, keeping a straight posture is important especially for those who suffer from lower back pain. Keeping your hands off the handles and gaze forward will help keep a neutral spin. It is always important to know your limits when walking on an incline and avoid pushing yourself if pain occurs.


Incline walking is a great way to challenge yourself on the treadmill and add some diversity to your routine. For those looking to achieve the same goals of a HIIT workout without running, incline training is the second best to burning calories and hitting weight loss goals without adding extra impact to your knees and joints. Incline is also a great way to build definition in your lower body and engage muscles that would previously not be involved during a flat level workout. Remember to start slowly and gradually increase your incline as you develop confidence. You’ll notice better cardiovascular endurance, stronger legs and increased motivation in no time!