What Treadmill Incline Should I Use?

Treadmills are impressive tools to use to get fitter and healthier. They are especially handy when dark or freezing outside and challenging to run outdoors. However, when working out on a treadmill, you will notice the speed and incline buttons.

Treadmill inclines make your run harder to help you burn more calories which is good for weight loss if that’s your main goal. Inclines add some variation to your workouts and can help you reach your fitness goals in no time. But what treadmill incline should you use? Here’s what you need to know about treadmill inclines.

What is an incline on a treadmill?

When working out on a treadmill, you know what speed means. The higher the speed, the faster you have to run. However, the treadmill incline can be a bit challenging. When you run outdoors, you find hills and gradients outside whether you want to run or walk. Treadmill incline is a great way to replicate this experience.

The maximum incline you can find on a treadmill is 40%, and you have a button on the console to help increase or decrease the incline levels. Motorized treadmills are equipped with a motor to power the incline, which falls and rises as you work out.

Treadmill incline is a great way to replicate a running course or racing outdoors. You can increase the incline from 0% to 15%, while some models can even decline.

Best way to run on an incline

An incline treadmill allows you to mimic the real gradients of your next run and burn twice as many calories as running on a flat surface. Here’s the best way to run on an incline.

Ensure the frame is sturdy and safe

You need to ensure that the treadmill is sturdy and the display is readable. The machine should have appropriate front and side handlebars to give you something to hold onto when things get challenging.

Look for one with a good motor and belt

Go for a treadmill with a strong motor that can handle continuous use and a wide and long belt enough for your stride. Your machine should have a surface that’s not too soft but not too hard. Determine the level of comfort you need and choose one that suits your fitness level.

Choose the latest maximum incline treadmill

Although a 10% max incline is good and available on low-budget treadmills. A model with a higher incline will be better and help you burn more calories.

Look at other features

An incline treadmill can create an uphill run, and some models can go downhill also. Some models come with monitors that make your workouts easy and motivating. From running uphill in a desert or forest, the right scenery will keep you motivated and help you reach your fitness goals in no time. Additionally, look for a treadmill that can sync with other devices such as phones, tablets, or Fitbits.

Benefits of using incline on a treadmill

A more realistic running experience

Treadmills are designed to help imitate a more realistic running experience. Research shows that using one to two percent incline brings a more realistic running experience because the incline will bring the wind resistance that’s not available when working out on a treadmill. When exercising outdoors, you constantly push your body through the air while the wind pushes you in the opposite direction.

Reduced injury risk

If you run on a 0% incline, you might feel your legs hurting. This is because when you run outdoors, you are not running on flat ground. Therefore, running on a 0% incline may feel like running downhill. Running downhill may cause great stress on your joints and legs. These stresses are the main reasons your legs may start hurting when running on a 0% incline than on a one or two-percent incline. Therefore, ensure you increase your incline to reduce stress and eliminate potential injury.

Increased strength

Running on an incline is a great way to increase your strength. Running uphill demands more oxygen intake, which helps your overall endurance. Additionally, running uphill needs your muscles to work harder, which builds more strength compared to a 0% incline.

So, what treadmill incline should I use?

Running on an incline is not bad, especially if you’re training for a race or when you want to replicate running outdoors. However, it is good to set an incline you want to run at. You should use an incline that makes the energy cost of your run similar to running outdoor. You can also set steeper inclines if you’re not doing them for long hours.


What is a good incline on the treadmill for beginners?

Generally, beginners can choose between 0% to 5% incline during treadmill workouts.

What does 15 incline on the treadmill mean?

15 incline on a treadmill means the elevation from the floor that leads to a 15-meter rise for every 100 meters horizontal distance.

Is incline better than speed?

Yes. Running or walking on an incline makes your body work harder and burn more calories. However, this depends on your fitness level and goals.

Parting Shot

What Treadmill Incline Should I Use?

Using an incline when running on a treadmill makes it harder and get more calories burned. However, if you want to know what incline you should use and you’re relatively new to treadmill workouts, you need to get your running and technique form correct. Always avoid extremely high inclines. Use an incline range that will give you a more realistic running experience and help you build strength.