The intensity of your workout can be increased in two ways on the treadmill. You can either increase the speed or increase the incline of the treadmill to make a workout more challenging. Incline treadmill training has many benefits, including increasing your physical strength, running economy and aerobic conditioning.
Simulating Foothills Using Treadmill Incline Training
Warm up with a light jog and no incline for about 10 minutes. Next, increase the treadmill's incline by 1 percent. Run one mile at an easy pace. Increase the elevation to 2 percent and run at the same pace for three-quarters of a mile. Raise the elevation to 3 percent for half a mile, then finally raise it to 4 percent for one more half mile. You reached the top of the hill! To come back down, repeat the same sequence in reverse, gradually decreasing the incline until you finish at 1 percent for one mile.
Simulating Rolling Hills Using Treadmill Incline Training
Warm up at an easy pace for about 10 minutes. Next, run one mile at 2 percent elevation. Increase the incline to 5 percent for the next mile. Downgrade to a 2 percent incline for a half mile, then increase the elevation to 8 percent for a half mile. Run one more half mile at a 2 percent incline, then repeat this sequence once more before cooling down with a 10-minute jog.
Hill Blasts Using Treadmill Incline Training
This high-intensity interval workout is not appropriate for beginners. Begin with an easy 10-minute warm-up, then sprint for one minute at a 10 percent incline. Decrease the incline to 2 percent and jog at an easy pace for one minute to give your body time to recover. Sprint again for one minute at a 10 percent incline. Repeat the sequence of sprinting and recovering at least 10 times.
The Benefits of Treadmill Incline Training
Incline training is a form of interval training, which involves alternating active recovery with short bursts of intense energy. This type of training uses both the anaerobic and aerobic body systems. During sprints or other high-intensity activities, the body uses anaerobic energy from carbohydrates that are stored in the muscles. Lactic acid, the acid that makes muscles feel sore following an intense workout, is released during anaerobic activity. During less-intense recovery activities, like walking or jogging, the body uses oxygen to convert carbs to energy and does not produce lactic acid. Alternating anaerobic and aerobic activities like you do during treadmill incline training gives you the strength and endurance-building benefits of a tough workout without producing large amounts of lactic acid. The result is all the benefits of a high-intensity workout without sore muscles.
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.