4 Quick and Effective Treadmill Workouts

If you don’t like the treadmill or you’re short on time, you can still burn a lot of calories and get an effective treadmill workout without spending a lot of time on the machine. Here are four quick and effective (and also fun!) treadmill workouts.

1

30-second Sprint Intervals

men on treadmill
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With this workout, the time flies by and you'll be soaked in sweat by the end. If you’ve never done any speedwork before, make sure you follow these rules for speed training.

  • Set the treadmill at a 1% incline. Start by walking at an easy pace for one minute. Continue warming up with an easy jog for 5 minutes. You should be at a conversational pace. This will get your blood pumping and your muscles warm and ready for a workout.
  • Pick up the pace to a hard effort (heavy breathing) for 30 seconds. Recover with 90 seconds of easy jogging.
  • Repeat the sprint/recovery intervals 9 more times (18 minutes total).
  • Finish with a 4-minute cool-down at an easy pace – easy jog or brisk walk.

Total treadmill time: 30 minutes

2

Side Stepping Workout

woman on treadmill
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This workout combines running and walking with some good old side shuffles, which will really work your glutes and quads.

  • Set the treadmill at a 1% incline. Warm up by walking at an easy pace for one minute. Continue warming up with an easy jog for 4 minutes.
  • Return to walking pace and then, as you hold onto the side rail, turn your body to the side, get low in a squat position, and then start side-shuffling your feet. Don’t try to get fancy and cross one foot over the other. Continue side stepping for 30 seconds and then return to walking forward.
  • Pick up the pace to an easy, conversational running pace for 2 minutes. Then bring the pace back down to walking for a 30-second interval of side shuffles on the other side.
  • Continue with 2 minutes easy running/30 second of side shuffles (alternating sides) until you’ve been at it for 20 minutes.
  • Finish with a 5-minute cool-down at an easy pace.

Total treadmill time: 30 minutes

3

Walk the Hills/Run the Flats

incline treadmill running
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If you like alternating between running and walking, this is a good one for you. You’ll really work your glutes with the hills.

  • Start with a 5-minute warm-up of easy jogging or brisk walking at a 1% incline.
  • Increase the incline to 2% and walk for 1 minute.
  • Lower incline to 1% and run at a comfortable pace for 1 minute.
  • Increase the incline to 3% and walk for 2 minutes.
  • Lower incline to 1% and run at a comfortable pace for 2 minutes.
  • Increase the incline to 4% and walk for 3 minutes.
  • Lower incline to 1% and run at a comfortable pace for 3 minutes.
  • Increase the incline to 4% and walk for 4 minutes.
  • Lower incline to 1% and run at a comfortable pace for 4 minutes.
  • Finish with a 5-minute cool-down of easy jogging or brisk walking.

Total treadmill time: 30 minutes

4

Calorie-Blasting Pyramid Workout

runners on treadmills
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This workout combines running and walking intervals and burns a ton of calories. Set the treadmill incline at 1% and start with a 3-minute warm-up of easy jogging or brisk walking. Then do the following intervals:

  • 30-second medium-paced running/30-second walk
  • 1-minute medium-paced running/1-minute walk
  • 2-minute medium-paced running/1-minute walk
  • 3-minute medium-paced running/1-minute walk
  • 4-minute medium-paced running/1-minute walk
  • 3-minute hard running/1-minute walk
  • 2-minute hard running/1-minute walk
  • 1-minute hard running/1-minute walk
  • 30-second hard running/30-second walk

Finish with a 2-minute cool-down of easy jogging or brisk walking.

Total treadmill time: 30 minutes

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2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Silder A, Besier T, Delp SL. Predicting the metabolic cost of incline walking from muscle activity and walking mechanicsJ Biomech. 2012;45(10):1842-1849. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2012.03.032

  2. Viana RB, Naves JP, Coswig VS, et al. Is interval training the magic bullet for fat loss? A systematic review and meta-analysis comparing moderate-intensity continuous training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2019;53(10):655-664. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-099928