Treadmill Walking Workouts for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

Treadmill Walking Workouts for Beginners

If you are looking for treadmill walking workouts for beginners, THIS IS IT!

To gain the best effect from your treadmill, you should be using it right. But to use it right, you need to know HOW to use it right.

Today, I’ll give you all the tools you need to become a treadmill walking champ!

Four Treadmill Walking Workouts for Beginners

1. The Long Walk

If you’re a person who enjoys the almost-meditative walking experience, you’ll love the simplicity of this workout. All you have to do is set a sustainable pace and walk for 30-60 minutes.

To make use of this time even more, you can try meditating – clear your mind of thoughts and worries and do your best to remain present. 

Alternatively, listen to an audiobook or good podcast while you’re at it – exercise and learn.

2. The Posterior-Focused Incline Walk

The great thing about treadmills is that you can change the incline percentage and manipulate the difficulty as you see fit. As a rule of thumb, the higher the incline, the greater the challenge, and the more you get to train your posterior – glutes and hamstrings (1).

For instance, set the incline at seven to eight percent and walk for ten minutes. After that, lower the incline to zero, go another ten minutes and keep alternating for as long as you wish.

3. The More Intense Incline Walk Workout

Similar to the previous workout, you’ll also be using the incline setting on the treadmill. Only here, instead of switching between incline and flat, you’ll maintain the same incline level but vary the speed.

For example, pick an incline level between five and fifteen percent you can sustain. Then, switch between two speeds every minute or two for the duration of your workout.

4. High-Intensity Incline Treadmill Workout

It’s difficult to see how walking can be intense, but combining a decent incline level with a brisk pace can kick your butt.

First, set the highest incline you can sustain at a low speed and gradually increase the speed until you reach a point where you can’t go longer than 20 to 30 seconds. Be careful to give the treadmill enough time to go to the highest level before increasing the speed.

This will be your intense round, which you should do for up to half a minute. Start your workout there and switch to a low speed and slightly lesser incline for a minute to catch your breath. Then, increase the speed and incline again for up to 30 seconds. Keep alternating between the two for around fifteen minutes (2).

How Often Should You Do These Workouts?

Now that we’ve gone over the four treadmill workouts, you might be wondering, “Okay, but how often should I do these? More importantly, which ones should I do?” 

What matters most is that you pick a sustainable pace and avoid starting too strong. For example, if you’ve been training zero times per week for the last several years, don’t suddenly jump to six weekly workouts. Instead, start with three – that’s sustainable, and it wouldn’t be such a massive change to your lifestyle.

As you stay consistent for some time, you can gradually increase the number of weekly workouts until you eventually do daily walking workouts. But this should happen over months, not days.

The great thing about walking is that it doesn’t fatigue us that much, and we can easily do it every day, so long as we don’t exert ourselves too much and pay attention to our sleep and nutrition.

The other thing worth going over – which of these workouts should you do – doesn’t matter as much. Each of these workouts is good and offers its unique benefits. You should do the one – or ones – you enjoy. You might also choose to do all four workouts. For instance:

  • Monday – Workout 1
  • Wednesday – Workout 2
  • Friday – Workout 3
  • Saturday – Workout 4

Important Considerations For Your Workouts

Walking is simple and natural, but we should still keep our technique in mind. Specifically:
Maintain good posture and look ahead at all times.

Use your arms to propel you forward and keep you balanced. Don’t hold onto the handrails.

Maintain a smooth gait by landing on your heels and having your toes touch the treadmill deck.

Another thing to keep in mind is to warm up for a bit before starting your workouts (3). For example, walk at zero percent incline and a low speed for five minutes to get your blood flowing.

And finally, always be in full control of the experience. Using the treadmill is safe, but you should avoid walking too quickly because you might end up falling off the deck. Maintain speeds you can manage and make sure to be near the center of the treadmill’s running deck.

But, Why Walking?

If you’re like most people, you probably wonder why walking instead of running? After all, running is more intense and offers greater benefits, right? On paper, sure. Running is more beneficial because you do more work in less time, burn extra calories, and improve your aerobic capacity better (4).

But walking is great for other reasons. First, walking is a beginner-friendly activity because almost everyone can walk for extended periods. This prevents beginners from getting frustrated and overwhelmed. Second, walking prevents undue stress on the joints that typically come from running (5). This is especially important for overweight beginners who would be better off walking for a few months.

Plus, walking is still a profoundly beneficial activity. Just because you don’t feel as challenged doesn’t mean that you’re not getting a lot from these workouts.

Final Words

Too many beginners get paralyzed because they feel they need to follow an incredibly demanding training program from the start. There is no shortage of them out there, and we tend to value more complicated approaches over simpler ones.

But do you know what? Developing sustainable fitness habits is about starting small. You don’t need to do complicated circuits or running on a track until you’re exhausted. You need a simple way of training, and one you can sustain. 

Once you gain momentum and build a fitness foundation, you can start adding more complicated things to the mix – resistance band workouts, strength training, and more.

Other Helpful Resources

References

  1. Wall-Scheffler, Cara M et al. “Electromyography activity across gait and incline: The impact of muscular activity on human morphology.” American journal of physical anthropology vol. 143,4 (2010): 601-11. doi:10.1002/ajpa.21356
  2. Ito, Shigenori. “High-intensity interval training for health benefits and care of cardiac diseases – The key to an efficient exercise protocol.” World journal of cardiology vol. 11,7 (2019): 171-188. doi:10.4330/wjc.v11.i7.171
  3. Fradkin AJ, Zazryn TR, Smoliga JM. Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):140-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c643a0. PMID: 19996770.
  4. Wilkin LD, Cheryl A, Haddock BL. Energy expenditure comparison between walking and running in average fitness individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Apr;26(4):1039-44. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822e592c. PMID: 22446673.
  5. Nilsson J, Thorstensson A. Ground reaction forces at different speeds of human walking and running. Acta Physiol Scand. 1989 Jun;136(2):217-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1989.tb08655.x. PMID: 2782094.