3 fat-burning treadmill workouts to suit every ability

Short on time but want to see results, fast? Get those laces tied – the treadmill is your new fitness BFF

Man doing a treadmill workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You hear treadmill, you think long runs pounding a moving walkway, while trying to feign interest in whatever’s showing on the TV in front of you. It all gets a bit tedious. 

Well, it’s time to change your mindset. I’m here to tell you that the benefits of running on a treadmill are numerous: you can lose fat, tone up and get fitter in just 20 minutes by mixing up the treadmill speed and incline.

Simply take your pick from one of the routines below, ensure you’ve properly stretched – focusing primarily on your lower body – and get going!  But first, a word on form…

Perfect your treadmill workout form

Andy Baddeley (opens in new tab), two-time Team GB Olympian and Strava runner, gives his top tips on running right... 


Run tall – a lot of us sink at the hips when we get tired, or run with our shoulders hunched over. 

Watch your footing

Most of us contact the ground in front of our body as we reach out and over-stride. Instead, use hamstrings and glutes to actively pull your legs back under your body – ideally your foot should hit the ground directly underneath your hips. 

Keep knees over toes

Make sure your knees don’t buckle inwards on landing, and that they stay aligned over toes. 

Don’t neglect your arms

Your arms should move forwards and backwards to help propel you forwards, rather than across your body. 

Women on treadmill

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Treadmill workout for beginners

5 minutes: Run at a pace that challenges you, but still allows you to hold a conversation - about a 6 intensity on a scale of 1 to 10.

2 minutes: Add a slight incline and continue at intensity 6.

1 minute: Drop the incline and speed to a light jog. Intensity 4.

2 minutes: Increase speed to intensity 6. 

2 minutes: Remain at intensity 6, adding a slight incline.

1 minute: Drop incline and speed to a light jog. Intensity 4. 

2 minutes: Increase speed to intensity 7. 

2 minutes: Remain running at intensity 7 and add slight incline. 

1 minute: Drop incline and speed and walk at an intensity of 2 to 3. 

2 minutes: The final push! Increase speed to run at an intensity of 8. 

Intermediate treadmill workout

4 minutes: Run at an intensity of 6 to 7.

1 minute: Walking pace on a medium incline. This should challenge you a fair bit. Intensity around 5. 

7.5 minutes: Maintain the medium incline throughout. Complete 5 sets of 30 seconds running at intensity 7, each followed by 60 seconds walking – intensity around 5 again. 

2.5 minutes: Lose all incline, and up the speed. Run at an intensity of around 8.

30 seconds: Drop the speed and recover. Lightly jog at intensity 4.

5 minutes: 3 sets of 30-second sprints at intensity 9, each followed by 45 seconds walking recovery. 

Advanced treadmill workout

4 minutes: Run at intensity of 7-8 at a slight incline.

1 minute: Decrease speed to intensity 5. Drop incline slightly but keep it slightly above flat. 

10.5 minutes: 4 sets of 30-second sprints at intensity 9 to 10, each followed by 60 seconds walking.

4.5 minutes: Run at intensity 6 with an incline that challenges you. 

Whichever treadmill workout you choose to do, don’t forget to cool down for around five minutes after your workout. Remove the incline and drop your speed to a walking pace.

Lucy is a freelance journalist specializing in health, fitness and lifestyle. She was previously the Health and Fitness Editor across various women's magazines, including Woman&Home, Woman and Woman’s Own as well as Editor of Feel Good You. She has also previously written for titles including Now, Look, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Red and The Sun. 

She lives and breathes all things fitness; working out every morning with a mix of running, weights, boxing and long walks. Lucy is a Level 3 personal trainer and teaches classes at various London studios. Plus, she's pre- and post-natal trained and helps new mums get back into fitness after the birth of their baby. Lucy claims that good sleep, plenty of food and a healthy gut (seriously, it's an obsession) are the key to maintaining energy and exercising efficiently. Saying this, she's partial to many classes of champagne and tequila on the rocks whilst out with her friends.