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Understanding Incline on a Treadmill: Benefits and Usage Guide

by Accounts GFL on August 31, 2023
LSG Chaser Treadmill

Treadmills are one of the most popular and widely used cardio machines for both homes and commercial gyms. However, many users may be unaware of the significant benefits that the incline feature provides to your workout. Incline is becoming more and more common on treadmill machines, but it's worth taking a step back and asking how exactly they impact workout results and the best ways to make use of this feature. Whether you're a complete beginner or a fitness enthusiast, understanding how to utilise incline effectively can take your treadmill workouts to new heights.

What is Incline on a Treadmill?

Incline on a treadmill refers to the adjustable slope or angle of the running surface. By raising or lowering the platform, you can simulate uphill or downhill running or walking. This feature allows you to mimic outdoor terrain and add variety to your workouts. Treadmills with incline options offer a range of levels, from a slight incline to steep hills, providing a customisable workout experience.

Benefits of Using Incline on a Treadmill
Increased Calorie Burn

Walking or running on an inclined surface requires more effort and engages additional muscles compared to exercising on a flat surface. As the incline increases, your body must work harder to propel itself forward, resulting in higher energy expenditure and an increased fat burn. Walking or running on an incline can burn up to 30% more calories compared to exercising on a flat treadmill at the same speed and distance.

Enhanced Cardiovascular Workout

The inclined angle elevates your heart rate, making your heart work harder to pump blood around your body. This increased cardiovascular demand helps improve your aerobic fitness and strengthens your heart and lungs. Additionally, incline workouts can provide a challenging cardiovascular workout without the need for high-speed running, making them suitable for individuals who may struggle with higher speeds or joint impact.

Muscle Engagement and Strength Building

Using the incline feature on a treadmill activates a greater number of muscles compared to exercising on a flat surface. The incline primarily targets muscles in the lower body, including the calves, hamstrings, and glutes. As the incline increases, these muscles are forced to work harder to overcome gravity and propel your body forward. Regular incline training can help tone and strengthen these muscles, leading to improved lower body strength and overall muscle definition.

Simulating Outdoor Terrain

The ability to simulate outdoor terrain is a key advantage of this type of functional training. By adjusting the incline levels, you can replicate uphill and downhill running or walking. This simulation allows you to prepare for outdoor activities and events that involve varied terrain. Training on an incline helps develop functional strength, especially in the legs, preparing you for real-world activities such as hiking, walking uphill, or running on challenging trails.

Proper Usage and Safety Tips

To make the most of the incline feature on a treadmill and ensure safety during your workouts, here are some essential usage and safety tips:

Adjusting Incline Levels

Different workouts require different incline levels. When walking or running on an incline, it's essential to choose the right level that suits your fitness goals. For beginners, starting with a gentle incline and gradually increasing it as you build stamina is recommended. Intermediate and advanced users can challenge themselves with higher incline levels to intensify their workouts. As you work your way up through the levels, pay attention to how much resistance the additional incline is providing. Once you feel that a certain incline level is not providing the amount of resistance it once did, it's time to move up to a higher level. Most treadmills offer pre-set programs or allow you to manually adjust the incline levels to suit your preferences.

Precautions and Safety Guidelines

Before using the incline feature, it's crucial to warm up your muscles and prepare your body for the workout. Incorporating dynamic stretches and light exercises will help prevent injuries and improve performance. Maintaining proper form is essential, that means maintaining an upright posture, looking ahead, landing on the middle of the running deck and using proper running shoes. Additionally, remember to cool down with some basic stretches after your workout. Check out our blog on using a treadmill correctly for a more comprehensive breakdown of proper form.

Monitoring Intensity and Listening to Your Body

Pay attention to signs of overexertion or discomfort during incline workouts. Adjust the incline based on your individual fitness levels and goals, and listen to your body throughout each exercise. It's crucial to make modifications as needed to prevent overexertion or injury.

LSG Vulcan M2 Treadmill

Incline Workouts and Training Ideas

Incorporating incline into your treadmill workouts offers endless possibilities for variety and challenge. Here are a few workout ideas to get you started:

1. Structured Terrain Simulation: Design workouts that simulate outdoor terrains, such as interval training with alternating incline levels to mimic uphill and downhill running. Many of our treadmills feature pre-programmed workouts that will automatically shift between levels of incline.

2. Hill Repeats: Choose a moderate incline and repeat short bursts of high-intensity sprints followed by periods of active recovery at a lower speed and incline.

3. Endurance Challenges: Select a comfortable but challenging incline level and maintain a steady pace for an extended duration to improve cardiovascular endurance.

4. Interval Training: Utilize the incline feature to create intervals of high-intensity efforts and recovery periods, alternating between different incline levels and speeds.


Incorporating an incline into your treadmill workout can significantly enhance your exercise routine and provide numerous benefits. By adjusting the incline, you can imitate outdoor conditions and activate a greater number of muscles, such as your calves, hamstrings, and glutes. This not only strengthens and tones your muscles but also improves cardiovascular health without the need for high-speed running. Incline treadmills offer convenience and versatility, with options for both manual and automatic adjustment, pre-set programs, and foldable designs for easy storage.

One of the key advantages of using an incline treadmill is the increased calorie burn. The additional work required to propel yourself forward against gravity leads to higher energy expenditure, resulting in more effective weight loss and fat burning. The incline also allows for interval training, where you can alternate between high-intensity bursts and moderate-paced walks, maximizing calorie burn in a shorter period.

Adding an incline to your treadmill workout is a highly effective way to optimise your exercise routine, improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and increase calorie burn. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, an incline treadmill offers a versatile and customisable workout experience that can help you achieve your fitness goals.

LSG Fitness offers a wide range of incline treadmills and additional accessories, with options for suitable for all budgets, sizes and uses. Browse our selection and our extended product range and amplify your cardiovascular training today.