Maximize Your Weight Loss Journey with These Top 10 Treadmill Workouts

In the pursuit of shedding extra pounds and sculpting a leaner physique, the treadmill emerges as a trusty ally in the fitness journey. Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or just starting out, the versatility of treadmill exercises offers many options to ignite calorie burn, boost metabolism, and accelerate weight-loss goals. So, step away from the mundane and jump into these invigorating treadmill exercises for weight loss.

From high-intensity sprints to innovative variations like lateral walks and treadmill pushes, there’s something for everyone seeking an effective workout regimen. Join me as I discuss my top 10 treadmill exercises, tailored to supercharge your weight-loss journey and elevate your fitness routine to new heights. Below, we’ll explain why these are considered top-notch workouts and provide a sample session for each variation.

Continue reading to learn about the 10 best treadmill exercises for weight loss and to start incorporating them into your routine.

Sprint Intervals

Treadmill sprint intervals stand out as an accessible yet potent workout option. This dynamic regimen comprises brief bursts of high-intensity sprints alternated with ample recovery periods at a gentle pace, usually a brisk walk. They’ll challenge your endurance, boost your weight-loss capabilities, and improve your anaerobic capacity.

After a solid warm-up, hop on your treadmill and set it to a moderate pace for one to two minutes. Once ready, increase to a challenging, high-effort sprint for 10 to 30 seconds. Follow each sprint with one to two minutes of comfortable walking to recover. Repeat for 10 to 20 minutes, adjusting intensity as needed. Cool down with light walking and stretching.

Steady-state Run/Walk

treadmill run then walk illustration

Steady-state walks or runs on the treadmill are like reliable weight-loss companions. They keep you moving consistently, meaning you’re burning calories steadily throughout your workout. It’s all about that sustained effort—it revs up your metabolism, melts fat, and gets your heart pumping healthily. Plus, sticking to a routine on the treadmill helps shed pounds, boosts your endurance, and keeps you on track for long-term weight management.

Once warmed up, settle into a comfortable but steady pace on the treadmill. Strive to maintain this pace continuously for 20 to 40 minutes without stopping. Afterward, ease off the intensity for a three to five-minute cool-down period to let your body recover.

Backward Walk

Have you ever tried walking backward on a treadmill? It’s like adding a cool new flavor to your workout!

When you step backward, you’re giving those leg muscles—hamstrings and glutes—a new challenge they don’t usually get when you move forward. Plus, it’s a fun way to spice things up and test your coordination and balance. And here’s the bonus: Thanks to the extra effort, you’re burning even more calories while at it.

You can incorporate backward walks into your treadmill routine in a couple of ways. For a steady-state session, set the treadmill to a gentle speed and go backward for 15 to 30 minutes straight. If you’re up for a challenge, try intervals. Alternate between 30 seconds of backward walking at a brisk pace and 30 seconds of recovery with a forward-facing walk. Aim for 10 to 15 rounds to amp up your workout.

Weighted Walk/Run

Consider incorporating weighted walks or runs to add some oomph to your treadmill workout. The best part? You have options: Grab some dumbbells or kettlebells or strap on a weighted vest. A weighted vest is your best bet if you’re gearing up for a faster pace. The added resistance amplifies the intensity, turning you into a calorie-burning powerhouse. With the extra load, your muscles kick into high gear, promoting lean muscle growth and maximizing weight-loss efforts.

If you’re short on time, this is my go-to method to quickly squeeze in an awesome workout:

Weighted walks and runs are versatile and practical. If you’re aiming for a continuous calorie burn, go for longer walks or runs, aiming for 20 to 40 minutes of steady movement. If you’re craving a challenge, try intervals: Bust out 10 to 20 rounds of 15 seconds of high-intensity effort, followed by 45 seconds at a recovery pace. And for an extra punch, crank up the treadmill incline a notch or two.

Treadmill Farmer’s Carry Walks

Treadmill farmer’s carry walks will take your workouts to the next level! Grab weights, such as dumbbells or kettlebells, and hold them at your sides while you walk on the treadmill. This exercise engages your leg muscles and challenges grip strength and core stability. Plus, it’s a great way to switch things up and keep your routine fresh. Start with a comfortable weight and focus on maintaining proper form as you walk.

Steady-state interval walks are best for a killer treadmill farmer’s carry session. Snag a pair of heavier dumbbells or kettlebells than usual to amp up the challenge. Keep your posture tall and tight, maintain impeccable form, and engage those abs. Aim for 30 to 60 seconds of farmer’s carries, followed by an equal recovery period.

Just a heads-up: Be extra careful not to lose your grip and drop those weights on the treadmill!

Treadmill Hill Sprints

woman incline sprints on treadmill

Treadmill hill sprints are sneaky effective for burning calories and surprisingly more joint-friendly than regular treadmill sprints. This is because sprinting on an incline decreases the impact forces experienced during each step while keeping the work intensity high. They make an excellent option for saving your legs, incinerating fat, and adding a new challenge to your weight-loss workouts.

Get your body primed and ready with a quick warm-up before diving into hill sprints. Start with some light cardio and mobility to get the blood flowing. Then, ramp it up with three to five reps of hill sprint warm-ups at a sub-maximal effort. Once you’re warmed up, it’s game time! Hit five to 10 rounds of hill sprints, giving it your all each time. Take a breather for 60 to 120 seconds between rounds to catch your breath and recharge for the next sprint.

Treadmill Lateral Walks

Treadmill lateral walks aren’t just about torching calories and sculpting your lower body—they’re total game-changers. Unlike traditional workouts, these side-to-side movements do more than rev up your metabolism. Sure, they’re fantastic for shedding pounds, but they also hit muscle groups overlooked in typical routines. With each step, you’ll feel your adductors, abductors, and glutes kicking into high gear. Plus, embracing different planes of motion builds a stronger, more adaptable body.

Spending 20 to 40 minutes walking sideways on the treadmill might not sound appealing. Remember, you need to walk in both directions to get the full benefit of this workout. So, here’s the game plan: try a 10-minute interval session, splitting it evenly with five minutes facing left and five minutes facing right. Then, switch back to facing forward for a three to five-minute recovery period. Aim for two to three rounds of this routine. Oh, and a quick tip: Always ensure you’re stepping toward the front of the treadmill during lateral walks to stay safe and steady.

Treadmill Walking Lunges

Treadmill walking lunges are a fantastic way to supercharge your lower-body workout and boost your metabolism. With each lunge, you sculpt your legs and glutes while engaging your core for stability. Plus, the dynamic nature of walking lunges raises your heart rate, helping to torch calories and rev up your metabolism long after your workout. Incorporating treadmill walking lunges into your routine can lead to more muscular, leaner legs and a more efficient calorie-burning machine overall.

Treadmill walking lunges are a potent weight-loss accessory for your strength workout days or may stand alone as an effective cardio day workout. Set the treadmill to a moderate speed for a strength day finisher and begin walking lunges, alternating legs as you move forward on the belt. Aim for two to three sets of 10 to 15 lunges per leg, focusing on maintaining proper form and control throughout each repetition.

On a cardio day, incorporate treadmill walking lunges for a challenging lower body and cardiovascular workout. Begin with a dynamic warm-up to get your muscles ready for action. Then, set the treadmill at your usual walking speed and start lunging. Aim to cover a distance of 0.25 to 0.5 miles, alternating legs with each lunge.

Treadmill Pushes

No sled, no problem. Treadmill pushes are the ultimate hack for sled push enthusiasts—no need to fuss with extra equipment or even plug in the treadmill! These pushes mimic the movement and intensity of sled pushes, making them a top choice for building lower-body strength and lean muscle mass. As you push against the moving belt, your legs, glutes, and core engage to propel you forward, torching calories and melting away fat. It’s a full-body workout that delivers serious results, all without leaving the comfort of your gym or home treadmill.

Begin with a dynamic warm-up to prepare your muscles for the upcoming intensity. Then, place your hands on the front railing and push against the belt, driving your legs and engaging your core to move the treadmill “forward.” Aim to perform three to five sets of 20 to 30-second pushes with a 60 to 90-second rest between sets.

Treadmill Pyramid Workout

woman using a treadmill

The treadmill pyramid is a go-to when helping my clients achieve significant weight-loss goals. It’s a longer session but incredibly effective. What makes it stand out? It injects a dose of excitement into the typical workout grind. By varying the intervals for distance and intensity, you burn calories and improve cardiovascular health.

Warm-Up (five minutes): Start with a brisk walk or light jog to warm up your muscles and elevate your heart rate.

Ascending Intervals:

  • 1st Interval: Run at a moderate pace for one minute, paired with one minute of a recovery walk.
  • 2nd Interval: Increase the speed and run for two minutes, paired with two minutes of a recovery walk.
  • 3rd Interval: Increase the speed further and run for three minutes, paired with three minutes of a recovery walk.
  • 4th Interval: Increase again and run for four minutes, paired with four minutes of a recovery walk.
  • 5th Interval: Increase once more or incline for five minutes. This interval should be challenging but sustainable for the duration. Pair it with five minutes of a recovery walk.

Descending Intervals:

  • 6th Interval: Reduce the speed slightly and run for four minutes with four minutes of a recovery walk.
  • 7th Interval: Decrease the speed further and run for three minutes with three minutes of a recovery walk.
  • 8th Interval: Reduce to a moderate pace and run for two minutes with two minutes of a recovery walk.
  • 9th Interval: Return to a comfortable jogging or brisk walking pace for one minute paired with one minute of a recovery walk.

Cool-down (five minutes): Finish with a slow jog or brisk walk to gradually lower your heart rate and allow your muscles to recover.

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