A Guide to Treadmill HIIT Workouts
HIIT, or “High-Intensity Interval Training”, is an intense form of cardio guaranteed to cut the length of your workouts dramatically, melt the fat off your bones, and give you the heart and lungs of Superman.
The thing is, “High-Intensity Interval Training” could roughly be translated as “sprint intervals” and getting a proper sprint workout done requires space.
That may not be a problem for you, but assuming you don’t have a race track or a very quiet road right next to your home, here’s a look at why doing HIIT on a treadmill might be the best option.
Benefits of HIIT overall
Simply put; HIIT is a really effective way of working out.
Studies have found that HIIT not only matches (or even out-performs) conventional steady state cardio in terms of cardiovascular and metabolic benefits (improving both aerobic and anaerobic fitness), but that it also significantly lowers insulin resistance, and leads to superior overall fat loss.
On top of that, HIIT sessions are profoundly time-efficient. By sprinting flat out for 30 seconds, reducing your pace to a jog for the next minute, then repeating the circuit for 10-15 minutes, you’ll experience benefits which would take 30 minutes to an hour or more to achieve via conventional cardio.
Finally, HIIT has been shown to have a dramatic effect on increasing muscular endurance. Even a single workout triggers changes in your muscles which lead to an increased ability to perform work under tension for longer periods of time.
Treadmills allow you to train safely
One of the great benefits of using a treadmill for your HIIT workouts is that it will allow you to scale the difficulty of your training session more easily than training outdoors.
For one thing – a key requirement of HIIT is sprinting flat out, with maximum exertion during each sprint window. To successfully pull this off outside, you’ll need access to a long, even stretch of land where you won’t have to worry about colliding with any children, cars, or shoppers who happen to step out in front of you.
If you’re a seasoned sprinter, you might find that to push yourself most effectively you need to increase the challenge, such as by implementing hill sprints or running for an even longer distance. This, of course, increases the potential safety challenges.
A modern treadmill, by contrast, allows you to go all guns blazing, with added elevation, and without any risk of making the page of the local newspaper for crashing through some friendly neighbour’s garden fence.
Treadmills allow you to target your workout
As mentioned previously, HIIT is a fantastic way of increasing muscular endurance. With sprint training the bulk of that effect will be in the muscles of the lower body – the calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. The muscles of the lower back also benefit indirectly.
The key to triggering these benefits is forcing your muscles to contract as hard as possible in a short space of time. This is the same basic principle behind generating power in any sport or physical activity.
It just so happens that there’s research to suggest that doing hill sprints conditions your hips to generate greater power under tension.
Therein lies another key benefit of doing HIIT on a treadmill. The different settings available allow you to subtly modify the focus of your workout in ways which your immediate environment may not.
For example, you could alter the workout back and forth between more muscle fatiguing hill sprints, and flat sprints which allow you to perform at your max speed.