There are a wide variety of high-intensity interval workouts you can try, but one popular option is to use a treadmill. Before starting any new exercise program, though, you should understand how and why it works as well as what equipment will best help you reach your goals.
What Is HIIT and What Are the Benefits?
The exact length of the high-intensity exercises and the periods of rest can vary. In most cases, the high-intensity activity lasts for 20 to 30 seconds, and the rest lasts for 15 to 30 seconds. These workouts can usually be completed in less than 30 minutes, but they're more effective than longer sessions of moderate cardio.
Your target heart rate during high-intensity interval training is 80 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate, which you can calculate by subtracting your age from 220. Certain health conditions can make it dangerous to increase your heart rate so much, so you should speak to your doctor before starting an intense exercise regimen.
HIIT helps your body burn a significant number of calories without spending much time exercising. During the periods of rest or low intensity, your heart rate is still elevated, and your body is still burning calories. You'll also continue to burn lots of calories after the workout because HIIT increases your metabolic rate for several hours. It can be an effective way to lose fat, especially for people who have a limited amount of time in their day to exercise.
HIIT can improve your oxygen consumption as well, which gives your muscles more energy during workouts. One study found that participants who completed an eight-week HIIT program that involved 20 minutes of exercise three times per week had a 25 percent increase in oxygen consumption.
Getting the Right Treadmill for HIIT
Safety is one of the most important considerations when choosing a treadmill for high-intensity workouts. Because you'll be running so quickly, your treadmill's deck should be long and wide enough to safely accommodate your full stride. Your treadmill should also have stable side rails, especially if you plan to transition from high-intensity activity to rest by hopping off the running belt onto the rails. The rails should be at least four inches wide and should have good traction, which will help you jump onto them without slipping.
Treadmill Comparison Chart
Proform 705 CST
3G Cardio 80i
NordicTrack T 6.5S
Precor TRM 243
Reebok Jet 100
1. ProForm 705 CST Treadmill
The ProForm 705 CST is popular for high-intensity interval training because it can reach a speed of 12 miles per hour and an incline of 12 percent. The tread belt is 20 inches by 60 inches, so you can sprint safely without worrying about falling off the machine. The treadmill comes with 22 preset workout apps, so you can choose the mode that best matches your fitness goals. It has a weight capacity of 325 pounds.
The ProForm 705 CST uses a 2.75 CHP motor, which is slightly less powerful than most treadmills designed for running or sprinting. Depending on how frequently you do high-intensity interval training on the treadmill, you may have to replace the motor sooner than is ideal.
Users love the technological capabilities of this treadmill. It has a heart rate monitor within the handlebars, so you can see whether you're close to your target heart rate. It also can connect via Bluetooth to the iFit Coach smartphone app, which offers a variety of workout programs.
Overall Rating: 8/10
2. 3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill
Like its name suggests, the treadmill can fold flat and can easily be stored under your bed to save space. You can also fold it vertically and store it against your wall or in a closet. The biggest complaint users have is that the console doesn't offer as many features as other treadmills do, but this doesn't affect the treadmill's performance.
Overall Rating: 9/10
We choose the 3G Cardio 80i treadmill as the Editor's Choice because it combines its space-saving design with a powerful motor, adequate max speed of 11mph, and steep incline of 15% all in one functional, affordable, and convenient machine.
3. NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill
The running belt is 55 inches long, so it may be slightly too short for taller people who are planning on using the treadmill for sprinting. Some users have also noticed that the motor can get loud, so the NordicTrack may not be the best option for people who are concerned about noise.
Overall Rating: 8/10
4. Precor TRM 243 Energy Series Treadmill
The running deck is 20 inches by 57 inches. Most people will find that this is plenty of space, but taller individuals may need to look for a treadmill that has a longer running deck. The handlebars are also quite short, which can make hopping onto the side rails difficult during interval training.
Overall Rating: 9/10
5. Reebok Jet 100 Treadmill
The Reebok Jet 100 is on the smaller side with a running belt that's 51 inches by 17 inches. It uses a 2.0 CHP motor and has a weight capacity of 240 pounds. Because of these limitations, the treadmill is ideal for shorter or smaller people, but taller or heavier people might find it lacking in size and power. Experienced runners may also want a treadmill that reaches speeds greater than 10 miles per hour.