How to Use Treadmill Incline

Many avid runners know that treadmills offer the health benefits of running and walking — without having to battle the elements, navigate unpleasant terrain, or limit yourself to the light of day. Some runners even prefer running on their treadmill to hitting the pavement because of the complete control they have over their workout.

Treadmills can reduce the amount of impact on your joints and knees, but runners should be aware that running on the treadmill without an incline is significantly easier than running on a level surface outside. The lack of natural resistance from the wind and the motorized assistance of the belt contribute to the ease of running on a treadmill. 

To make your indoor workout just as  —  or more —  effective than an outdoor run, you should incorporate a treadmill incline into your routine. Using the incline feature on your treadmill is a surefire way to take your treadmill training to the next level. Walking or running on an incline offers several health benefits for athletes of any level

Burn More Calories and Fat

Adding an incline to your treadmill can help you torch more calories — whether you're running or walking.  Research from the American College of Sports Medicine's Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription shows that for every 1% of incline added, your body will burn about 12% more calories. That adds up to be about 10 calories per mile for a person weighing around 150 pounds.

how to burn more calories on a treadmill

Once you've increased your incline to 10% grade, your body will be burning twice the amount of calories per mile! Because of the more significant challenge of gravity, your body uses significantly more energy to move itself up the incline. Incorporating an incline into your workout can seriously add up. You can achieve up to 70% more fat burn on a slope than on a flat surface. 

Improve Stamina

In the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 159 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity weekly. Exercising at about 75% of your maximum heart rate helps you to improve cardiovascular fitness.

Walking or running at an incline is an effective way to increase your heart rate. The incline elevates the workload and your heart rate — without the risk of injury by increasing speed. 

Build Muscle

Running on an incline causes your leg muscles to work overtime — stimulating the muscles in your calves, hamstrings, and glutes. The higher the incline and the longer the workout, the more visible results you'll see.

You should plan on amping your incline up to 15% to see significant gains in strength.

How to Use an Incline on a Treadmill 

If you're wondering how to utilize the incline on your treadmill for serious results, you should remember to:

  • Always warm-up.
  • Start slow.
  • Work on your uphill walking and running technique.
  • Only change one factor at a time — speed, incline, or duration. 
  • Check out some uphill treadmill workouts to get started.

Every runner should incorporate inclines into their treadmill training, and the experts at G&G Fitness can help you find the perfect treadmill with incline features.   

Know what you're looking for? We'll do our best to find it for you. Click here for access to our unlisted inventory.

Whether you shop at a G&G Showroom or on your own, we recommend these buyers guides:

Buying a Used Elliptical  buying a used treadmill

What's a good walking treadmill for small spaces? 

Check out the compact design of the SpaceWalker by Body CraftThis ultra-compact treadmill/workstation also easily folds into a great looking piece of furniture.


Be sure to check out our 30 Day Worry-Free Price Match Guarantee and financing options for low monthly payments on treadmills, ellipticals, home gyms, rowers, and more! Visit a G&G showroom and try before you buy, or try the virtual treadmill selector, the Ultimate Guide to Treadmills, or contact a Fitness Equipment Expert today. Choose from our most popular brands: Precor, Life Fitness, Matrix

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