Hill workouts are among the best exercises a person can do because they provide a high-intensity workout while also having a low impact on your joints. Recent studies have shown that incline work—even walking up steep angles—has a wide variety of benefits. Here are the highlights:
- It improves your strength and power while burning fat and toning muscle.
- It quickens the pace with which your brain sends messages to your muscles.
- It increases the stroke volume of your heart.
- It strengthens the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves.
We asked Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute specialist Robert Reames to share three treadmill workouts you can add to your gym routine. A treadmill is the best place for hill workouts because it removes the most troublesome aspect: the downhill. Most hill-related injuries actually occur on the downslope because the reverse incline adds a gravity-induced load. So the treadmill has all the great uphill benefit with none of the, well, downside of the downhill.
Because individual fitness levels vary so much, Reames uses a 1–5 perceived effort zone system. Zone 1 is a light warm-up and Zone 5 is nearly maximum effort. As a general guide, treadmill incline should be somewhere between a 4% and a 10% grade, and sprint speed should be between 7.5 and 10 mph. Focus on pushing yourself but keep good posture with your hips, shoulders and neck relaxed. Add one of these to your current treadmill routine or pair them up for more intensity.