Effective Treadmill Incline Running Workouts For Weight Loss

Treadmill Hill Walking

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By Simon Gould

When it comes to weight loss running pretty much beats everything hands down. These incline workouts will have you burning 150 calories every 10 minutes. Over time you’ll see your body changing for the better. That’s what they’re designed to do.

The World Health Organization says you only need to do 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous physical activity for substantial health benefits. That’s doable and one of the many benefits is the regulating of your weight which includes it going down if you weigh too much. If you eat a good diet, as well as the exercise, you’ll be looking slimmer in quick time.

For these running workouts we’re assuming you can run 20 minutes. If you can’t then consider our couch to 5k treadmill plan. That will get you from running a minute at a time to 30 minutes in one go. It will start you losing weight then these hill workouts will finish the job.

Hill running is quite hard so we’ll try and take it easy. Change the incline if you’re struggling in the middle of a run. We’ve used a combination of miles and minutes with the miles being the incline and the minutes being the recovery intervals.

Treadmill incline workout #1

We’re not going to get you just running at an incline and leave it at that. You’re going to have recovery runs in between the heavy hills. The speed of your run is up to you. Try and keep at the same speed throughout the run and only the incline will change. If you don’t have miles on your treadmill then substitute it for kilometers:

  • 5 minutes 0% incline warm up
  • 1 mile 2% incline
  • 2 minutes 0%
  • 1 mile 3%
  • 2 minutes 0%
  • 1 mile 4%
  • 5 minutes 0% cool down

Treadmill incline workout #2

This is a pyramid workout. You can tell that by the pattern of the inclines. This one will get the calories burning and the weight will drop off. There is a peak at the middle, if you find this hard reduce the speed but leave the incline as it is. The 2 mile middle run is the longer of the runs you will see:

  • 5 minutes 0% incline warm up
  • 1 mile 2% incline
  • 2 minutes 0%
  • 2 miles 3%
  • 2 minutes 0%
  • 1 mile 2%
  • 5 minutes 0% cool down

Treadmill incline workout #3

The last workout will have you running at the same incline each time. It will be quite steep and is repeated with recovery breaks in between. Make sure you fully recover and if not, run easy for a further minute. This is the hardest one but you’ll see amazing results if you can stick to it regularly:

  • 5 minutes 0% incline warm up
  • 1 mile 4% incline
  • 3 minutes 0%
  • Repeat 3 times
  • 5 minutes 0% cool down

What speed do I go?

As you’re running to lose weight, I’m assuming you maybe slightly heavier for your frame. So when it comes to speed you really don’t need to run very fast. I always recommend around 5 mph or more. You’re not exercising to win a race but to lose weight. If you’re finding it difficult then consider walking and raise the incline higher to get a similar calorie burn.

The fact that you are actually running and not walking means you’re doing vigorous exercise as per the World Health Organization. You will lose weight quite quickly if you can regularly do the routines above. That’s the key to successfully losing weight, to exercise regularly. You can get overweight by over eating, not just by being sedentary, so eat sensible portions for better results.

Think about your joints

Running on an incline can be very stressful to your knee joints. This is combined if you weigh a lot to begin with. I recommend you only do a hill run routine once per week. Even though a treadmill has cushioning. It doesn’t lessen the impact enough to warrant running on an incline regularly. Take it slow and easy at first by building up the distance.

If you feel any pain, especially sharp pain. Then stop exercising and seek medical help. Running through pain is not a good idea because you can make the problem worse. You won’t lose weight if you’re injured, so take care and don’t over do it. Look fro any pain around the knees and if you just feel sore, take a few rest days.


To get the most out of these incline runs we recommend you do one a week around your normal running schedule. It gives the muscles a different workout and helps promote a bit of strength as well as weight loss. Doing these routines will burn you around `150 calories every 10 minutes. Weigh yourself once a week to monitor your results.

These workouts aren’t set in stone. Feel free to modify them for your own fitness level. Adjust the incline or the distance to make it harder or easier. Just make sure you feel like you’ve done your exercise for the day. Then you can get on with everything else you have to do knowing that you’re doing something about your weight.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.

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