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Best incline workouts and their amazing benefits

Incline work on or off a treadmill is a staple workout for many professional athletes, including runners of all kinds. Adding an incline workout on a treadmill to your routine will have you seeing incredible gains in speed and muscle. Let’s see how. Plus, read on for three fat busting, muscle toning incline treadmill workouts.

Benefits of incline workouts

There are many amazing benefits to doing incline style workouts. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Increases cardiovascular health and capacity – Healthy heart = healthy life, right? Studies show that people who workout for just 20 minutes a day may be able to increase their life span by 12-14 years! You decrease your chances of heart attacks and heart disease, plus boost your cardiovascular capacity when you run regularly.
  2. Builds muscle – You have to work hard to propel your body up a hill. This extra bit of work creates just the right amount of stress on your muscles. Regularly doing hill repeats or some other such incline workout on a treadmill will result in seeing significant gains in leg muscles.
  3. Burns more calories – Because your body is working harder than if you were running or walking on a flat surface, you naturally burn more calories.
  4. Supports weight loss and body composition – Increased calorie burn is one factor to this benefit. Building more muscle is key to permanent weight loss and a toned look. Incline work increases muscle toning. And more muscle equals more calories burned at rest.
  5. Strengthens your glutes – According to Exercise Science doctors like Bret Contreras of the glute lab, this may be the most important muscle to strengthen in your body. Most movements we do that move our body in any direction rely on the strength of our glutes. Plus, building the biggest muscle on your body will help burn calories while you’re resting.
  6. Increases running speed – Runners are notorious for failing to focus any energy on the posterior muscles of our body. Runners typically have toned quads but nearly nonexistent hamstrings and glutes. Incline workouts will focus more attention on these muscles. Fitter posterior muscles will help you increase your running speed. That, and the greater cardio capacity you gain from this type of workout, should make you noticeably faster.
  7. Breaks any exercise ruts – Adding in incline workouts to your gym routine is a great way to get out of a workout funk. I have found myself in exercise ruts and doing something drastically different or just plain intense always seems to help. There’s just something about it that adds freshness to your workouts. Challenge yourself to run 2 miles uphill. Or running as hard as you can, as long as you can, on the highest incline setting you can get. Something like that is fun, and so good for you, and changes up your routine enough that you may find joy in your workouts again.

Why do incline work on a treadmill

Running at all can be hard work on your joints. Add an incline to that and your knees may not thank you. But, taking that run to a treadmill may just be the solution you need. Running on an incline treadmill increases the intensity and brings all those wonderful benefits, without the added joint stress that running on a road brings.

Incline workouts:

So without further ado, here are a few workouts to do next time you are on your incline treadmill.

Incline workout one (Beginner) – Hill walking

  1. Walk or jog 0.5 miles to warm up.
  2. Set your incline to 10% to mimic a steep hill.
  3. Walk fast or run at an easy pace for .25 miles.
  4. Walk for 1 minute to stabilize your heart rate.
  5. Repeat 3 & 4, 4 times.
  6. Repeat step one to cool down, or if you feel good run at an easy pace for 1 mile.

Incline workout two (Intermediate) – Hill repeats

  1. Run 0.5-1 mile at an easy pace to warm up with treadmill set to 1%-2% incline.
  2. Set your treadmill to about 10% incline. You want to mimic a steep hill.
  3. Run with medium to hard effort for .25 miles.
  4. Walk for 1 minute.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4, 4 – 8 times.
  6. Run again at 1%-2% incline at an easy pace for 0.5-1 mile to a cool down.

Incline workout three (Expert) – Perceived effort repeats

There are many ways to increase your fitness with incline workouts on a treadmill. One cool way is to max out your perceived effort. Perceived effort is just how hard any particular workout feels to you. Perceived effort is rated on a scale of 1-10.

  1. Run 1 mile at an easy pace with your treadmill at 1%-2% incline
  2. Set your treadmill to an incline that is almost too hard for you to run at.
  3. Run with medium to hard effort for 0.5 a mile.
  4. Walk for 3 minutes.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 one or two more time.
  6. Repeat step 1 to cool down.

Enjoy the awesome benefits of incline workouts from the comfort of your own home by doing them on your treadmill. Don’t forget to always wear proper footwear to decrease the risk of injury. And stay hydrated, stretch and recover. Incline work is hard work.

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