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Need A New Treadmill Workout? Try One Of These 3 Options

02/12/2015 04:52 EST | Updated 02/12/2015 04:59 EST
Multi-bits via Getty Images

While winter is still in full force in most of the country, even some dedicated runners could be inclined to take their workout inside on a treadmill.

And while using the buttons on the machine to up your speed may feel like a revelation, the ones you should actually be paying attention to are the ones marked "incline."

According to Running.com, a setting of 1.0 incline is the equivalent of running outside, so that should really be your baseline. And then it's time to challenge yourself.

"Whether outdoors or in, running hills requires the use of more muscle than running on flat surfaces, forcing the runner to use more energy, and helping to improve strength and running power,"says Heather Gardner, who runs physical fitness site Run Soul Cycle.

Gardner says taking your workout to a hill will help strengthen the glutes, quads and calves, and also improve stability and running performance, while giving you a high calorie burn.

"Running hills allows the runner to control their own workout by easily changing the incline from a long gradual hill to a short, steep incline depending on the runner’s specific goals or needs," says Gardner. She notes new runners can also use the treadmill to just start hill training, giving them the ability to control the slope and increase it when they're ready.

Gardner put together three of her favourite treadmill hill workouts for us for everyone from the novice to the expert. Have a treadmill workout of your own you love? Let us know about it in the comments below.

  • Workout 1: The Pyramid
    Adam Jones via Getty Images
    During this workout, add the incline during each 3-minute interval going up, and then remove it during each interval as you go down. Each work interval is followed by a two-minute recovery. The length of this workout can vary by adding an interval to either side of the “pyramid” or by taking it away. Remember what happens on the upside of the “pyramid” should happen on the down. Finish your workout with a light 5 to 10 minute cool-down run and walk before you stretch.
    Warm-up: 5-10 minutes
    3 minute run 4% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    3 minute run 5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    3 minute run 6% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    3 minute run 5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    3 minute run 4% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    Cool-down: 5-10 minutes
  • Workout 2: The Ladder
    Yagi Studio via Getty Images
    Unlike the pyramid, where the intervals' duration increases and at the same rate decreases, in a ladder workout, you’re only headed up! Each interval is two minutes of work followed by two minutes of recovery. During each work interval you will add one per cent on the previous work interval incline and during the two-minute recovery you will return to the flat. Finish your workout with a light 5-10 minute cool-down run and walk before you stretch.
    Warm-up: 5-10 minutes
    2 minute run 1% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    2 minute run 2% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    2 minute run 3% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    2 minute run 4% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    2 minute run 5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    Cool-down: 5-10 minutes
  • Workout 3: The Step Ladder
    Ryan Etter via Getty Images
    If you are a runner who gets bored quickly while running on a treadmill, this interval provides lots of mental stimulation with short durations between interval changes, so would be a great one for you. In the Step Ladder, each interval is three minutes of work and during each of those minutes you increase the incline by .5%. During the two-minute recovery you return to the flat. On the next work interval you start your hill at the second incline percentage from the previous interval. Finish your workout with a light 5-10 minute cool-down run and walk before you stretch.
    Warm-up: 5-10 minutes
    3 minute run 4, 4.5, 5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    3 minute run 4.5, 5, 5.5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    3 minute run 5, 5.5, 6% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    3 minute run 5.5, 6, 6.5% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    3 minute run 6, 6.5, 7% incline, 2 minute recovery at flat
    Cool-down: 5-10 minutes


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