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Treadmill Inclines Maximize a Workout


Ever see those people at the gym who are walking on such a steep incline that they hang on for dear life, and wonder why?

Recent studies by the University of Colorado found that when using a 9 degree treadmill incline, hamstrings displayed 635 percent of the muscular activity of level walking and, it increases your glute activity - up by 345 percent. 

We’re all busy and gym time is valuable. That makes those percentages hard to ignore. Colorado’s research team looked at muscles of the hamstrings, glutes, quads and calves during walking at different speeds and inclines. They found that muscle activity increased significantly in muscles analyzed while walking up inclines of just 3 degrees.

The study also found that these increases in muscle activity became even greater when they increased the speed at the various inclines.

Incline can also be used in interval training, which is essential to developing a strong aerobic base. By elevating your heart rate via speed or incline for brief periods of time you can challenge your metabolism while delaying fatigue. Life Fitness treadmills have a number of programs already loaded that will automatically adjust the incline, while also allowing complete control over the speed when you want to push yourself a little harder.

This is all great news for exercisers – but watch your form. 

Holding on to the handles and leaning back is easier, but you might as well be walking on a level plane. Our Life Fitness Academy trainers suggest choosing a level that is challenging, but allows you to do a 5 minute incline workout without leaning back. Increase the level of incline as you get stronger.

Life Fitness Academy Master Trainer, Deb Plitt, explains that using incline can also lead to less injury.

“Did you know that 25 percent of habitual walkers who are overweight experience a significant musculoskeletal injury within 12 months? In a study done by the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University, one-fourth of these injured women and one-third of these injured men completely abandon their exercise program. On a positive note, researchers recently determined that walking at slower speeds (<1.75 mph) and moderate inclines (6-9 percent) reduces load across the lower extremity joints while still ensuring adequate cardiovascular stimulus for weight management. This could have a positive impact on exercise retention and motivation.”


Treadmill Incline Workout
University of Colorado


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