An Easy, Effective Treadmill Workout

Lose excess pounds fast with this simple treadmill workout.

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Can’t get outside for your workout? Hop on a treadmill. It’s an all-weather option, and because you can quickly adjust the machine’s speed and incline, it allows you to effortlessly take your walking to the next level.

“Walking on an incline increases intensity, burns more calories, and tones your buttocks and hamstrings,” says Shirley Archer, author of The Walking Deck: 50 Ways to Walk Yourself Healthy (Chronicle Books). Plus, a treadmill is easier on your knees and feet than concrete or asphalt.

The key to getting the most out of a treadmill workout is interval training: alternate stepping at a comfortable pace for a few minutes with cranking up the speed and/or increasing the incline for a minute or two. Print and save this routine.

The Routine

Set the treadmill at a 1 percent incline to begin.

0:00-5:00: 5-Minute Warm-Up

  • Beginners: Start walking at 2 mph
  • Intermediate: Start walking at 2.5 mph

5:00-10:00: 5 Minutes of Intensity

  • Beginners: Increase speed to 3 mph
  • Intermediate: Increase speed to 4 mph

10:00-11:00: 1 Minute of Work

  • Beginners: Increase speed to 3.5 mph
  • Intermediate: Increase incline to 4 percent

11:00-14:00: 3 Minutes of Recovery

  • Beginners: Reduce speed to 3 mph
  • Intermediate: Maintain speed; decrease incline to 1 percent

14:00-15:00: 1 minute of work

  • Beginners: Increase speed to 4 mph
  • Intermediate: Increase speed to 4.5 mph; take incline to 5 percent

15:00-18:00: 3 Minutes of Recovery

  • Beginners: Reduce speed to 3 mph
  • Intermediate: Reduce speed to 4 mph; drop incline to 1 percent

18:00-20:00: 2 Minutes of Work

  • Beginners: Increase speed to 4 mph
  • Intermediate: Increase speed to 4.5 mph; take incline to 5 percent

20:00-26:00: 6 Minutes of Recovery

  • Beginners: Reduce speed to 3 mph
  • Intermediate: Reduce speed to 4 mph; drop incline to 3 percent

26:00-30:00: 4-Minute Cooldown

  • Beginners: Reduce speed to 2 mph
  • Intermediate: Reduce speed to 3 mph; take incline down to 1 percent

Find the Shoe for You

Got flat feet? Look for a style that’s stable and supportive, such as the Reebok Hampton Pass, $60. Average feet? Try the New Balance 758, which combines cushioning and support, $80. High arches? A shoe with lots of cushioning is best, such as the Ryka Sportwalker 4000, $60.