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How To Master Interval Training Treadmill-Style

If you are looking for ways to liven up your workout routine, then interval training may be a great start. While most people like to blame their exercise equipment for their workout routines getting stale or their lack of results, in truth, these issues may actually be due to the workout itself.

Sure, running on a treadmill for long periods can get dull fast, but by switching up your routine, not only can you start loving the treadmill again, but you can finally start seeing the results you have been missing out on.

What is interval training?

Interval training is a type of exercise that involves a series of high intensity workouts with periods of relief. Or, put more simply, this training involves alternating short bursts (about 30 seconds) of intense activity with longer intervals (one to two minutes) of less intense activity.

The great thing about interval training is no matter if you are a seasoned pro at working out or a just starting on your fitness journey, you can reap the benefits, which often include:

  • Weight Loss: The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you will burn, even if the intensity increase happens for a few minutes at a time. Over time this can result in significant fat loss.
  • Faster Results: With interval training, you can complete an effective workout in less time than other cardiovascular workouts. This means that not only can you complete a great workout in substantially less time, but you can often get better results.
  • Improving Your Aerobic Capacity: The more you do interval training, the better your cardiovascular fitness will become, which can ultimately help reduce high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

Are treadmills good for interval training?

Because interval training requires you to change speed or incline quickly if you are new to interval training, one of the easiest ways to do this workout is on the treadmill. Completing intervals on the treadmill can help you keep track of exactly how long you are going for, how fast, and how much harder you need to push yourself.

Plus, incorporating a treadmill workout into your routine gets you out of the weather, off the road, and into a safe, climate-controlled environment, allowing you to focus on your interval training and not on everything else around you.

How can you interval train using a manual treadmill vs motorized treadmill?

Treadmills typically come in two basic varieties— non motorized and motorized. When deciding between a manual treadmill vs electric treadmill, there are a few things to take into consideration. With a manual treadmill, you will often have to put more effort into the workout, while a motorized treadmill will often include more features.

Manual Treadmill

On a non-motorized treadmill, the belt will only move if you move it, meaning the action of your feet against the deck will move the belt. As a result, both runners and walkers expend more effort on these treadmills than on a motorized treadmill. That is why users can get their heart rates into a higher zone at a lower speed.  

When you use the manual treadmill, you control your speed by putting in more effort rather than trying to keep up with a moving belt. Consequently, if you are looking to interval train on these treadmills, all you have to do is alternate walking or running between high and moderate intensity, which can include doing sprint intervals for short periods of time and walking during the lower intensity portions. Just be sure you know how to use a manual treadmill properly.

Motorized Treadmill

In comparison, with a motorized treadmill, a motor sets the belt in motion, and you will have assistance when you run or walk. Many people enjoy using this type of treadmill because of the electric-powered motor that moves the belt for them, as well as the electronic features and improved durability that can provide the user with various advantages, especially if they are looking to get in an interval training workout.

For example, these treadmills allow you to adjust the speed and incline at the click of a button, taking the guesswork of how hard you have to push to meet your goals. Some models even have decline features so that you can train downhill, better simulating overground running and walking.

Is interval training on a treadmill considered HIIT?

HIIT exercise stands for high intensity interval training, which is a method of training that involves alternating short and hard bursts of work at your maximum heart rate, followed by lower intensity exercise or rest. By adding a HIIT treadmill workout to your regimen, you can achieve significant gains in your fitness level, burn more calories, and enjoy the change-up from a standard routine.

Yet, while there are many ways to get a good HIIT workout, the treadmill is often a favorite for many people, mainly because it does not matter what your fitness level is, as you can go at your own pace and still get the quality burn you were striving for.

A HIIT treadmill workout usually begins with a warmup and then progresses to one-minute work intervals at 80% effort, followed by a two-minute recovery interval at an easier effort. This cycle is repeated several times. When doing this workout on the treadmill, you can make your high-intensity intervals either be a higher incline, a faster speed, or a combination of the two. You will know when you get to the max effort when you are unable to talk as you are working out, it will be very hard to breathe, and your heart will be pounding. Basically, you could not maintain this effort for more than one minute.

However, because HIIT training is customizable based on the person, for some, this same effect can be reached by simply walking at a faster speed. That is why high intensity interval training on a treadmill is so great because you can customize it to your needs.

How often should you interval train on a treadmill?

In general, internal training should only be done three times per week, and never two days in a row. This is because the body needs time to rest after each training session to recover properly and help muscle growth. Some doctors may even recommend at least two days of rest between each interval workout since doing interval training too often can lead to overtraining.

Symptoms of overtraining or overstraining often include:

  • A loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Chronic respiratory infections and colds
  • Chronic aches and pains.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it may be a good idea to take a break from working out until your conditions improve or see a medical care professional. However, if you continue to push yourself without getting the necessary care you require, this overtraining can lead to severe injuries and even worsen existing medical conditions.

It should also be noted that when you first start, completing this interval training treadmill routine 1-2 times per week will be enough for you to begin reaping the benefits. More importantly, because interval training can put a great deal of strain on your heart, it needs to be introduced carefully and gradually. That is why before starting this routine, you should check with a doctor first.

What are tips for interval training on a treadmill?

If you are thinking about interval training on a treadmill but have no idea where to start, the following tips will help ensure you get the most out of your workout:

  • Before jumping into an interval training routine on the treadmill, make sure you always warm up with a few stretches and a brisk walk.
  • Stay safe on your treadmill by making sure you know how to operate it before starting any workout routine.
  • Know where the emergency shut-off is.
  • Do not hold onto the handles when running, especially while sprinting on the treadmill.
  • Make sure you maintain proper form on the treadmill by engaging your core and gazing forward.
  • Set a comfortable pace for yourself, and set goals wisely. Do not go too hard, too fast when you are first starting, as this can only lead to serious injuries.
  • Finish off your routine with a slow walk while focusing on your breath. This is a great way to bring down your heart rate slowly.
  • After your heart rate has plateaued and you are done with your workout, make sure you finish off your session with a thorough stretch of your muscles to ensure they will be ready for your next treadmill interval training routine.

If you are thinking of incorporating interval training into your daily routine and want a treadmill to help you reach your goals, check out Tru Grit today. Our knowledgeable professionals can help you not only find the right equipment that matches your routine and specific goals, but they can also help you get professional-grade fitness equipment at an affordable price.


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