Treadmill Cardio Circuit to Spice Up Your Workouts

Treadmill and Elliptical
Getty Images/ gilaxia

This advanced treadmill cardio circuit workout breaks up the monotony of working on a treadmill by interspersing a variety of cardio exercises using a kettlebell and a medicine ball. Please substitute a dumbbell or other exercise if you're not familiar with kettlebell training. There are suggested intensity levels using this Perceived Exertion Scale and examples of settings for the treadmill.

Use your best judgment and adjust the numbers to fit your fitness level.


See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.  This workout is for intermediate/advanced exercisers.  

Equipment Needed

A treadmill (or other cardio activity), a kettlebell (substitute a dumbbell if needed), a medicine ball

How To

  • Perform the treadmill segments working up to the suggested Perceived Exertion
  • Perform the cardio circuit exercises, one after the other, for 60 seconds or as long as you can
  • Modify the workout to fit your fitness level/goals and add more rest periods as needed
  • 1 circuit is 30 minutes, repeat for a 60-minute workout
TimeIntensity/SpeedPerceived Exertion

5 minutes

Warm-up: Moderate PaceLevel 4-5
Block 1 - 5 MinutesTreadmill: Speed  
1 minuteBaseline using speed (moderate intensity) - Ex., 5.2 mph at 1-2% inclineLevel 5
1 minuteIncrease speed slightly - Ex., 5.4 mphLevel 5-6
1 minuteIncrease speed again - Ex., 5.6 mphLevel 6-7
2 minutesIncrease speed one more time: Ex., 5.7-5.8 mphLevel 8
Block 2 - 5 Minutes Cardio Circuit  
1 minuteKettlebell Swings
Squat, taking the KB between the legs while keeping the back straight. At the bottom of the movement shift your weight back and thrust up through the hips to bring the weight up to chest level. Repeat for 60 seconds.
Level 7-8
1 minuteFront Kick Lunge
Kick with the right foot, then take that same foot behind you in a lunge while touching the floor with your fingertips. Repeat the kick lunge for 30 seconds, repeat on the other side for 30 seconds.
Level 6-7
1 minuteLong Jumps
Jump forward as far as you can with both feet together, landing with the knees soft.  Continue for a total of 3 jumps (or as much room as you have), turn and repeat for 60 seconds.

Level 7-8
1 minuteMed Ball Circle Squat
Circle the medicine ball overhead towards the left as you step out with the left leg into a squat. Step the feet back together, circling the ball back. Repeat to the other side for 60 seconds.
Level 7-8
1 minuteMed Ball Squat and Swing
Squat out to the side, swinging the ball between the knees. Step the foot back in as you swing the weight overhead. Repeat to the other side for 60 seconds.
Level 7-8
Block 3 - 5 Minutes Treadmill: Incline 
1 minuteBaseline - Moderate speed, higher incline - Ex., 4% incline, run/walk at 4.5 mphLevel 5
1 minuteIncrease incline slightly- Ex., 5% incline, same speedLevel 5-6
1 minuteIncrease incline again - Ex., 6%, same speed 
1 minuteIncrease incline again - Ex., 7%, same speedLevel 6-7
1 minuteIncrease incline, higher intensity - Ex. 8-9%, same speedLevel 7-9
Block 4 - 5 Minutes Cardio Circuit  
1 minuteSide to Side Jumping Lunge
Take the right leg out to the side and bend the left knee into a runner's lunge, touching the floor.  Quickly shift the feet in the air to shift the lunge to the other side.  Continue alternating sides for 60 seconds. 
Level 7-8
1 minuteBurpees
Squat to the floor and jump feet backwards into a plank position, jump feet back between hands and stand up.  Add a jump at the end for more intensity, if desired. Repeat for 60 seconds.  
Level 8-9
1 minuteSquat with Med Ball Toss
Squat as low as you can (knees behind toes and abs contracted) and touch the med ball to the floor. Press through the heels to stand while tossing the ball overhead. Repeat for 60 seconds.
Level 7-8
1 minuteSquat Jumps
Lower into a squat, knees behind the toes, squatting as low as you can. Jump up into the air, taking the arms overhead. Land with soft knees and repeat for 60 seconds.
Level 8-9
1 minuteBear Crawls 
Squat and walk your hands out until you're in a plank position. Do a pushup (optional) on the knees or toes and then walk the hands back to a squat and stand. *Optional:  Add a jump at the end for more intensity.  Repeat for 60 seconds.
Level 8-9
5 minutesCool down 
Total Workout Time: 30 minutes 
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