Effective Treadmill Incline Walking Workouts For Weight Loss

Treadmill Hill Walking


By Simon Gould

Walking is great physical exercise. The CDC call brisk walking moderate physical activity (source) and is part of the exercise they recommend you get daily. As people who need to lose weight this is good news. Walking is something everyone can do and combine it with a hill means you burn more calories and encourage weight loss.

You can’t normally find consistent and varying hills in nature, the best way to replicate the kind of hills we want is using a treadmill. With a treadmill we can really get the legs working and work up a sweat which will get you losing weight. While doing these workouts, you’ll be burning around 100 calories every 10 minutes. As they last 30 minutes, that’s 300 calories in total.

What speed do I go?

This depends on a number of factors. If you’re heavy to begin with then a normal walking pace may be all you need to breath heavily and get a good workout. This is where the incline helps. A tall person will tend to walk quicker than someone short. Look to set the speed for between 3 and 4 mph. This needs to be harder than if you’re just walking normally.

Try to walk briskly if you can as this would count as moderate exercise as per the World Health Organization. They recommend you do 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. It sounds like a lot, but if you can manage it, you’ll be burning 1,500 calories a week. Combine this with a sensible eating program, and you’ll start seeing results very quickly.

Take it easy at first

If you’re just starting an exercise routine to lose weight, you may need to build up slowly. You can always start by doing 10 minutes for the first week and adding 5 minutes every week till you reach 30. This is especially the case if you’re a little older or heavier to begin with. As you progress you’ll find the workouts easier as your body adapts to the exercise.

Make sure you enjoy it. The workouts below give you some variety which will help your motivation. Mounting a TV in front of the treadmill is something I do. Listen to some music or a podcast. Set time out in your day and you’ll discover 30 minutes on a regular basis is possible. You’ll feel more motivated when you see the effect it’s having on your weight and body.

Treadmill incline workout #1

This is the classic pyramid workout that is replicated for all cardio training. The incline gets increasingly tougher as the incline goes up. You then pass the peak and the incline decreases. Remember, the speed is up to you, as long as your walking is brisk:

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

Treadmill incline workout #2

This is an easier to understand workout but no less difficult than the previous “pyramid”. You warm up on a 0% incline then tackle a steep climb followed by a small incline recovery walk. This is them repeated. Again this takes around 30 minutes for the total workout:

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

Treadmill incline workout #3

This last incline walk will have you doing very steep climbs but for a shorter amount if time so you can recover. This one is very good to strengthen the legs. You’ll really feel it on the back of your legs (calves) and so you know it’s doing you good. This is a hard one and will get you burning many calories:

  • 5 minutes 0% incline warm up
  • 2 minutes 6% incline
  • 3 minutes 1%
  • Repeat 4 times
  • 5 minutes 0% cool down


All of these workouts total around 30 minutes each including the warm up and cool down. Try and do one of these at least 3 times a week for successful weight loss. Weigh yourself once a week on the same day and time to see your progression. Feel free to increase the incline if you’re finding it easy. Using a treadmill incline is a popular weight loss method because it works.

When you have lost enough weight to start running then we have many workouts to help you continue the weight loss like my couch to 5k treadmill plan. You can either use that or continue your treadmill power walking on the incline. Just make sure you do it regularly, you’ll feel better and look better as your weight goes down.

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

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