Treadmills have always been (and always will be) a great workout routine that improves your body’s endurance and overall strength. But these days treadmill technology has advanced so much that it’s hard to know exactly what the best approach is. What speed-to-incline combination is best? Does it even matter?!

Well, it turns out it does. And trainer Michael Olzinski recently revealed what the best approach is… and you might not like his answer. It turns out high speeds aren’t going to do that much for you. The most beneficial treadmill experience is slower speeds and higher inclines. I know, I know. Anything but inclines! But let’s explore why this is such a good exercise.

 

Whether you’re running or even just power walking, going uphill essentially forces your body to work in it’s most powerful and efficient form. It’s also great for your body’s major joints: the ankles, knees, and hips. Because you’re going uphill, your body gets its propulsion from those joints which therefore helps give your muscles the best workout.

Now, at this point, some of you may be asking, “But what about calories? Does this uphill approach burn more calories?” Well, Olzinski has one simple answer for you, “Forget about calories.” When working with a treadmill, it counts your calories burned based on your speed. But that’s not necessarily all that important when it comes to a treadmill workout and what it’s doing for your body.

This is due to the fact that the treadmill doesn’t acknowledge the incline difference in relation to its measure of your calories burned. So a flat surface run and an uphill run will get the same treatment. It’s only measuring how fast you’re running to calculate how many calories you’re burning.  

So, rather than focusing on how many calories you’re burning, focus on maintaining strong, controlled pace on your uphill run in order to maximize the impact on your important muscles.

Plus, running uphill can be much better for your joints and help avoid injury. When you’re on a flat run, your feet are coming down harder and faster onto that moving belt. But when you’re an uphill run, the ground is literally closer to your feet at the point it hits the belt. So the force on your ankles and knees is much lighter.

With all that said, it’s not like you need to avoid flat runs at all cost. It is still a good work out and it is recommended to warm up on a flat run before stepping up to an uphill run. In the end, it’s all about pushing yourself and trying to maximize your workout!