treadmill workout for men and women

Top 8 Treadmill Workouts for Any Level of Exerciser

Let’s be honest, the treadmill has a bit of an old-school reputation. It can be easy to overlook the row of treadmills in the cardio section of the gym. However, there’s a reason the treadmill has enjoyed such staying power over the decades. Treadmill workouts get the job done. The right treadmill exercises can rev up your aerobic capacity, fuel your power training, and give you a seriously intense workout all while torching calories.

It’s time to take a fresh look at treadmill training and to give this old-school piece of equipment the respect it deserves. Not sure how to overhaul your treadmill routine? Take a look below at 8 of the best treadmill workouts around. Before we sprint to the exercises, however, let’s look at a few reasons why you should include treadmill training in your workout plan.

Why Treadmills Deserve a Place in Your Workout Routine

Whatever your fitness experience level, the treadmill can help you reach your fitness goals. Even if you don’t plan on becoming a treadmill master, understanding its benefits will give you one more powerful tool in your fitness tool belt.

Highly Accessible

Almost every large or small gym provides treadmills for its members. No matter which gym you choose, you can be sure you’ll have access to a treadmill. Even most hotel and community gyms offer treadmills. Larger gyms typically provide multiple treadmills, making it more likely that you’ll be able to use one anytime you like.

Easy to Operate

For most treadmills, operating the machine is as easy as stepping onto the belt and pressing start. You’ll then usually have the option of manually choosing your speed and incline or picking an existing workout. In a matter of moments, you can begin walking, jogging, or running to your heart’s desire.

Workout Anytime

During the coldest and hottest months of the year or during a heavy rainstorm, a treadmill can seem like a godsend. Instead of calling off your cardio workout, you can hop onto your treadmill and maintain your fitness progress.

Versatility in Workouts

You don’t need to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes at the same pace and call it a day (though you can if you’d like). Instead, the treadmill lets you mix up your workout in an almost endless number of ways. Test your mettle by upping the speed, or add some resistance to your workout by increasing the incline. You can even work other muscles in your legs by safely walking sideways or backward (at an appropriately slow pace, of course).

Lots of Extra Bells and Whistles

Many gyms, including EōS Fitness, offer top-of-the-line treadmills that come with all sorts of extra bells and whistles. For instance, some treadmills can monitor your heart rate and show your calories burned. Others include their own screen, allowing you to catch up on your favorite shows or to choose a breathtaking virtual landscape to run through.

Improves Your Cardio Health

Treadmill workouts are an excellent way to improve your cardio health. Aerobic exercise can help strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, regulate your blood sugar, boost your immune system, and will overall make you feel good! 

Burns Lots of Calories

Even an easy walk on a treadmill will burn calories, but you can sizzle away a bunch more by upping the intensity of your workout. VeryWellFit’s calorie calculator estimates a 150-pound person running for 30 minutes at a 9-minute mile pace can burn nearly 400 calories. Treadmill exercise can be part of a healthy and long-term weight-loss plan.

Ready for Some Treadmill Workouts?

In order to get the most from the treadmill cardio workouts below, it helps to understand two key concepts. The first is RPE or Rate of Perceived Exertion. RPE operates on a scale of 1 to 10 with an RPE of 1 equivalent to vegging on the couch and 10 being an all-out sprint from a pack of hungry mountain lions. An RPE of 5 could be considered an easy jog. Some of the workouts below require you to work at a certain RPE. While the RPE is certainly subjective, even from one day to the next, it is also simple and effective to use.

The second concept to understand is your steady state pace. This is a pace you can comfortably maintain on a treadmill for 30 minutes. If you are brand new to exercising, your steady state pace may be a walk or slow jog. That’s perfectly okay. Everyone has to start somewhere. If you don’t have a steady state pace, run at around a 5 or 6 RPE. Over time, you’ll learn what a steady state pace means for you. Also, the more treadmill workouts you complete, the faster your steady state pace should become.

With these two concepts in mind, here are 8 of the best treadmill workouts for all fitness levels.

Workout #1. Steady As She Goes

This simple treadmill workout for beginners is all about starting to build your aerobic capacity. Focus on establishing a pace you can maintain during the run portions and then stick to it from the first round to the last.

Level: Beginner

21 Minutes

  • 3-minute walking warmup
  • 5 rounds of:
    • 2 minutes running at 5-6 RPE
    • 1-minute walk
  • 3-minute walking cooldown

Workout #2. Steady As She Goes, Part 2

Is the first workout too easy for you? Here’s another treadmill interval workout that should get you breathing hard and boost your running endurance. To perform this workout, you’ll need to know your steady pace and your push pace. Your push pace is a little faster than your steady state pace. For example, if your steady pace is a 10-minute mile, your push pace may be a 9:30 mile. For those using RPE in place of a steady pace, your push pace should be around an RPE of 7 or 8.

Level: Intermediate

35 Minutes

  • 5 minutes of walking or slow jogging warmup
  • 1 minute running at push pace
  • 1 minute running at steady pace
  • 1 minute slow jogging/walking
  • 2 minutes running at push pace
  • 2 minutes running at steady pace
  • 2 minutes slow jogging/walking
  • 3 minutes running at push pace
  • 3 minutes running at steady pace
  • 3 minutes slow jogging/walking
  • 4 minutes running at push pace
  • 4 minutes running at steady pace
  • 4 minutes slow jogging/walking

Workout #3. Booty or Bust

Looking to tighten your glutes and give your hamstrings a good burn? Then it’s time for an incline treadmill workout. Start at a moderate pace and focus on maintaining that pace even through the tough middle part of the workout.

Level: Intermediate

20 Minutes

  • 5 minutes of walking or slow jogging warmup
  • 2 minutes at 4-5 RPE at 3% incline
  • 2 minutes at 4-5 RPE at 6% incline
  • 2 minutes at 4-5 RPE at 9% incline
  • 2 minutes at 4-5 RPE at 6% incline
  • 2 minutes at 4-5 RPE at 3% incline
  • 5 minutes of walking or slow jogging cooldown

Workout #4. Speed Demon

For those who want to improve their power and their VO2 max (or how efficiently your body uses oxygen), this is the workout for you. Brace yourself as you test your anaerobic capacity. This sprint treadmill interval workout is tough, but the results will speak for themselves.

Level: Intermediate

25 Minutes

  • 5 minutes of slow jogging or walking warmup
  • 5 rounds of
    • 2-minute steady state run
    • 1-minute sprint at RPE of 8 – 9
  • 5 minutes of jogging or walking cooldown

Workout #5. Defeat the Hill

If you’re training for a race or plan to run outdoors at some point in the future, chances are you’ll face hills on your course. Prepare your legs for the real world with this challenging incline treadmill workout.

Level: Advanced

24 Minutes

  • 5 minutes of slow jogging or walking warmup
  • 2 rounds of:
    • 3 minutes steady state run
    • 1 minute on 2% incline
    • 1 minute on 4% incline
    • 1 minute on 6% incline
    • 1 minute on 8% incline
  • 5 minutes of slow jogging or walking cooldown

Workout #6. Tough Day at the Mill

This workout offers a little bit of everything and will keep your legs guessing. Just make sure to keep a little gas in the tank for that final sprint at the end.

Level: Intermediate

18 Minutes

  • 5 minutes of slow jogging or walking warmup
  • 1 minute of steady state running
  • 1 minute of push pace running (RPE 6 – 7)
  • 1 minute of push pace at 3% incline
  • 2 minutes of steady state running
  • 2 minutes of push pace running
  • 1-minute sprint
  • 5 minutes of slow jogging or walking cooldown

Workout #7. One Hill to Rule Them All

This incline treadmill workout is the definition of a grind, but it’ll help you eat tough hills for breakfast. During the incline sections, choose a reasonable pace and try to stick to it. Also, remember to breathe.

Level: Advanced

29 Minutes

  • 5 minutes of slow jogging or walking warmup
  • 3 minutes of running at 5 RPE at 10% incline
  • 5 minutes of steady state running
  • 3 minutes of running at 5 RPE at 20% incline
  • 5 minutes of steady state running
  • 3 minutes of running at 5 RPE at 10% incline
  • 5 minutes of slow jogging or walking cooldown

Workout #8. Go the Distance

Looking to increase your aerobic endurance and put some miles under your running shoes? The best way to increase your running capacity is by running longer distances. This workout will help you reach a 10k distance (6.2 miles) while also pushing you to get comfortable with a slightly faster pace.  

Level: Advanced

  • 0.5 mile of slow jogging to warm up
  • 3 rounds of:
    • 1 mile at steady state running pace
    • 0.5 mile at push pace
    • 0.5 mile of easy jogging 

Embrace the Treadmill

Now that you’re equipped with eight new and exciting treadmill workouts, it’s time to hit the gym and reacquaint yourself with this popular piece of gym equipment. By committing to a treadmill workout plan, you’ll improve your cardio with every gym session. As your aerobic capacity and muscular endurance increase, you should begin to notice improvements in other areas of your fitness.

What are you waiting for? If you need to gain access to a treadmill, search your nearest EōS Fitness and sign up for a Complimentary 7-Day Pass.

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