Beginner HIIT Treadmill Workout Plan

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Are you becoming bored of your regular treadmill routine? Are you thirsty for a challenge? Or do you want to amp up your fitness level? HIIT might just be the perfect solution for you. 

As a fitness fanatic, I’m always looking for way to improve my overall fitness and keep me from getting stuck on the dreaded plateau. HIIT can be done using almost any equipment. If you're creative, all you need is a little space. 

But as I, like many of you, enjoy working on the treadmill, my question is: how to do HIIT on a treadmill as a beginner? In this article I'll answer this question and share my HIIT Treadmill Workout For Beginners!

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

Firstly, if you don’t already know, HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It's a very versatile type of workout routine. It doesn’t have to take much time, depending on how much effort you're willing to put in. 

HIIT involves quick bursts of high-intensity physical activity, with short recovery phases in between. 

A treadmill is the perfect tool for this type of workout.

What Are the Benefits?

The benefits of HIIT are endless. When you do HIIT, a metabolic disturbance is created. This disturbance will have you burn calories much faster than your regular run. Its effects may even last up to 72 hours post-workout. 

The quick bursts of physical activity require more fuel than a one-pace run, which means you'll be burning loads of calories. Following your workout, your excess post-exercise oxygen (EPEO) consumption will enable your body to continue burning extra calories. This is known as the "afterburn effect."

High-intensity workouts are renowned for helping us reach new levels, and intervals only add to the perks. They will build up your metabolism and help you achieve a higher endurance level faster than a regular, steady routine. 

Additionally, HIIT has shown to be beneficial for various conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, by reducing insulin resistance and improving cardiac functions.

How to do HIIT on a treadmill?

Now that we know what HIIT is about and its benefits, let's get into how to do it.


Before any intense physical activity, it's vital to warm up. If you skip this important step, your body may find it hard to adjust to the intensity, and this can likely lead to injuries 

A good warmup before a HIIT session could consist of stretching and a 10-minute walk on the treadmill. As you get a bit warmer, increase the speed to a fast walk or moderate jog, and continue at this pace for a few minutes until you feel ready.

Find Your “Sweet Spot”

Johnson'sHealthTech recommends experimenting with your treadmill's settings to find a perfect speed for you. Everyone is different, so there’s no correct answer.

Try to find a pace where you feel comfortable to rest and recover your breathing. This will be your "recovering" speed. For your high intensity speed, find the pace where you can only run for less than a minute. 

If you are a more advanced runner, you might want to set your treadmill at a moderate incline to increase the intensity a notch. 

Up the Speed

Now you're ready to start, so amp up the speed. After the intense phases of the workout, you can use the talk test. If you're able to talk without having much trouble catching your breath, you'll need to bump up the speed. 

As a rule, your ideal heart rate during the high intensity intervals should be about 80 to 95 percent that of your MHR.  To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from the number 220.

As you bump up the speed, you're likely to sweat a lot more, and to be sweaty more quickly than usual. This is a good sign, as it shows your body is working harder.


After the high intensity period comes the recovery phase. This is where you take your speed down to a comfortable pace where you can catch your breath before repeating the cycle. 

The intensity of your recovery phase will depend on you and your fitness level. You might be more comfortable taking it down to a fast walk., Or, you may keep it at a steady, slow jog. As long as you can recover a bit without stopping completely, you're good. 

This recovery phase is crucial, as it defines the intervals. Otherwise, it would just be one long, high intensity workout. During your "break" your heart rate should be around 40 to 50 percent of your MHR

The recovery phase should last approximately the same length as your high intensity interval. For example, if you go high intensity for one minute, rest for one minute and so on. To keep the momentum going, avoid resting for too long.

HIIT Treadmill Program For Beginners

Below is a basic HIIT program which can be used for beginners. If you're more advanced, it can be tailored to suit your needs. 

Remember the suggestion above: find your sweet spot. If you're not comfortable with running, HIIT can also be done while walking. All that matters is that you feel the difference between the high intensity and recovery intervals. 

  • Step One - Do a basic warm-up (a moderate walk and gradually work your way to a light jog, about ten minutes).
  • Step Two - Run for 30 seconds to one minute at a speed of ten mph.
  • Step Three - Walk for one to two minutes at 3.5-4 mph. 
  • Step Four - Repeat seven more times (eight cycles total)
  • Step Five - (Optional) Add a slight incline to the treadmill for a harder workout. 
  • Step Six - End with a cool-down (five minute walk, followed by stretching). 

Remember to hydrate! If you want a more visual look at how to do HIIT on a treadmill, here is a helpful video:


Whether you're a beginner or fitness fanatic, HIIT can be the workout which takes you to the next level. Due to its bursts of high intensity activity, it builds up the body's endurance faster than your usual run. It's great for losing those extra pounds or maintaining your ideal weight.

A treadmill can make a HIIT session that more enjoyable, as it does most of the thinking for you in terms of speed and intensity. Simply adjust your speeds and focus on improving.

If you have a specific treadmill HIIT program you'd like to share or any other questions, please give us a shout in the comments.

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Leave a Comment