How to Maximize Your Workout with a 12 Incline on Treadmill

Man using 12 incline on treadmill

When it comes to getting the most out of your treadmill workout, there’s one feature that often goes overlooked – the incline. Many people simply set their treadmill to a flat surface and start running, completely unaware of the benefits they could be missing out on. In this article, we will explore how you can maximize your workout by using a 12 incline on a treadmill.

What Does A 12 Incline on A Treadmill Look Like?

Before we dive into the benefits of using a 12 incline on a treadmill, let’s first understand what it actually looks like. On most treadmills, the incline can be adjusted from 0 to 15, with 0 being completely flat and 15 being a steep uphill climb. A 12 incline would fall on the higher end of the spectrum, providing a challenging workout that simulates running or walking uphill.

Benefits Of Using A 12 Incline On A Treadmill

Using a 12 incline on a treadmill offers a multitude of benefits that can take your workout to the next level. Firstly, it increases the intensity of your workout, forcing your muscles to work harder and burn more calories. This can be especially beneficial for those looking to lose weight or improve their cardiovascular fitness.

Additionally, running or walking on an incline engages different muscle groups compared to exercising on a flat surface. It activates your glutes, hamstrings, and calves, giving you a well-rounded lower body workout. The incline also helps to strengthen your core muscles as you maintain balance and stability. The incline setting on a treadmill help simulates the resistance and challenges of running outside

How Incline Affects Your Workout

Understanding how incline affects your workout can help you make the most of your treadmill sessions. When you increase the incline, you are essentially adding resistance to your workout. This means that your muscles have to work harder to propel your body forward, resulting in greater muscle activation and calorie expenditure.

Running or walking on an incline also increases the demand on your cardiovascular system. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood to your working muscles, which in turn improves your cardiovascular fitness. This can be particularly beneficial for endurance athletes or those looking to improve their overall fitness level.

Safety Tips for Using A 12 Incline On A Treadmill

While using a 12 incline on a treadmill can be highly beneficial, it’s important to prioritize safety to avoid any potential injuries. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Start Slow

If you’re new to using an incline on a treadmill, start with a lower incline and gradually work your way up to 12. This allows your body to adjust and reduces the risk of strain or injury.

Keep your posture upright and avoid leaning forward or backward. Engage your core muscles to maintain stability and ensure your feet land softly with each step.

  • Use Handrails Sparingly

While it may be tempting to hold onto the handrails for support, try to rely on your own balance and stability. Holding onto the handrails can alter your natural gait and reduce the effectiveness of your workout.

Proper Form and Technique for A 12 Incline Workout

To get the most out of your 12 incline workout on a treadmill, it’s important to maintain proper form and technique. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

  • Warm Up

Begin with a 5-10 minute warm-up at a lower incline and speed to prepare your muscles for the workout.

  • Set the Incline

Gradually increase the incline to 12, making sure to maintain a comfortable pace.

  • Engage Your Core

Keep your abdominal muscles engaged throughout the workout to maintain stability and proper form.

  • Land Softly

Focus on landing softly with each step, rolling through your foot from heel to toe. This helps to reduce the impact on your joints and prevents injuries.

  • Use Your Arms

Swing your arms naturally as you walk or run, allowing them to counterbalance the movement of your legs. This helps to maintain balance and propels you forward.

  • Cool Down

End your workout with a 5-10 minute cooldown at a lower incline to gradually bring your heart rate back to normal.

Tracking Progress and Measuring Results with A 12 Incline Workout

Tracking your progress and measuring the results of your 12 incline workout can help you stay motivated and make adjustments as needed. Here are some ways to do so:

  • Time

Keep track of the duration of your workouts. Aim to gradually increase the length of your 12 incline sessions as your fitness improves.

  • Distance

If your treadmill has a distance tracker, monitor the distance covered during your workouts. This can help you gauge your progress over time.

  • Heart Rate

Use a heart rate monitor to track your heart rate throughout your workout. This can help you ensure you’re working at an appropriate intensity and making cardiovascular gains.

  • Body Measurements

Take regular measurements of your body, such as waist circumference or body fat percentage. Over time, you may notice changes in these measurements as a result of your 12 incline workouts.

Incorporating Intervals and Variations into Your 12 Incline Workout

To keep your 12 incline workouts challenging and prevent boredom, it’s important to incorporate intervals and variations. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Speed Intervals

Alternate between periods of high-intensity running or walking at a 12 incline and periods of active recovery at a lower incline or speed.

  • Incline Variations

Experiment with different incline levels during your workouts. For example, you could start with a 5 incline and gradually increase it to 12, or alternate between different incline levels throughout your session.

  • Adding Weights

Incorporate hand weights or ankle weights into your 12 incline workout to increase the resistance and further challenge your muscles.

  • Hill Sprints

Integrate short bursts of sprinting at a 12 incline into your workout. This can help improve your speed and power.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using A 12 Incline on A Treadmill

While using a 12 incline on a treadmill can be highly effective, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can hinder your progress or lead to injury. Here are some mistakes to watch out for:

  • Holding Onto the Handrails

As mentioned earlier, relying too heavily on the handrails can alter your natural gait and reduce the effectiveness of your workout. Try to maintain proper form and balance without relying on the handrails for support.

  • Overstriding

When running or walking uphill, it’s common to overstride, meaning taking excessively long steps. This can put strain on your joints and increase the risk of injury. Instead, focus on taking shorter, quicker steps to maintain proper form and reduce the impact on your body.

  • Neglecting Proper Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Skipping the warm-up and cool-down phases of your workout can increase the risk of muscle strain or injury. Take the time to properly warm up your muscles before starting your 12 incline workout, and gradually cool down to bring your heart rate back to normal.


Incorporating a 12 incline on a treadmill into your workout routine can be a game-changer for your fitness goals. By understanding the benefits, using proper techniques, and incorporating variations, you can maximize the effectiveness of your treadmill workouts. Remember to prioritize safety, start slowly, and track your progress along the way. So, the next time you step on a treadmill, don’t forget to crank up the incline and take your workout to new heights!

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