To keep yourself on track, we’ve got some great ideas for indoor HIIT workouts you can do on the treadmill to ensure consistent exercise even through winter’s dark, cold months. These are also perfect for those of you who work out in the gym anyway and are looking for some ideas to change-up your current routine. For more on HIIT, check out our article on the basics of High Intensity Interval Training.
On a treadmill, warm-up either walking or jogging for 5-10 minutes (make sure your muscles are adequately warm before sprinting or you may risk injury), then do 8 intervals sprinting for 30 seconds and recovering for 1:30 minutes. To increase the challenge, you can sprint for a longer period of time, decrease the recovery time, or sprint faster during the interval. Don’t change all the factors at once. Only change one factor at a time.
30 seconds sprinting (I do 12-14mph – but be careful)
30 seconds rest (resting on the treadmill, hop off)
Complete 5 rounds
This workout takes literally 5 minutes. Be sure to properly warm up with some foam rolling/dynamic stretching. Also, be careful when running, or sprinting on a treadmill, because there are a lot of YouTube videos of people falling off of treadmills, so it does happen.
To make the workout more difficult, you can add additional rounds. I wouldn’t do more than 10 rounds total. If you can do more, you didn’t push yourself hard enough. A slight variation, which I also like, is to increase the incline to 10 (out of 15) and sprint for 30 seconds and rest 60 seconds for 5-7 rounds. To make this workout easier, you can increase the rest period to 60 seconds, or more, whatever works for your fitness level.
If you are looking for something that is a little more intense, I recommend using a bike or rower for more intense intervals. You can push yourself much harder without worrying about the risk of faceplanting on a treadmill. My favorite bike intervals are 30 seconds work (high resistance, as fast as humanly possible) to 60 seconds rest (low-no resistance, just keep it moving) for 10-15 intervals. If you do it right, you should bring a friend to peel you off the floor.
Sprint workouts on a treadmill are kind of like a neutered version of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), although it’s an acceptable substitute if a proper sprint workout is out of the question.
However, if a treadmill is the only way sprints will get done, there are some compensations that can or should be made: