try it out tuesday: the 20-minute treadmill hill workout


The Basics

  • The Workout: 20-Minute Treadmill Hill Workout from Fitness magazine
  • Type of Workout: Cardio intervals
  • Equipment Required: Treadmill
  • The Nitty-Gritty: By combining relatively slower speeds with inclines, this speedy 20 minute treadmill workout challenges new muscles in the lower body and supposedly burns upwards of 300 calories.

The Results

Mondays are crazy for me, but it’s important to get a workout in, so I did a little digging around the fitness magazine websites looking for a quick, but hard, cardio interval workout I could do on my treadmill. So many of them that I found focused solely on speed, and with speeds upwards of 9-10 mph, I just didn’t feel comfortable that I could run that fast. I really liked that this one used inclines to add intensity instead of just focusing on speed.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a treadmill workout burn 300 calories in 20 minutes, so I was skeptical of that number, and rightly so. Even though I came close, I didn’t quite hit the promised 300 calories. Also, because the intervals switch so quickly (most after 30 seconds) I had a hard time keeping track of my place in the workout, which meant I went longer than the proposed interval quite a few times, and therefore over the 20 minutes.

  • Calories Burned: 234 calories
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Next Day Soreness: 1/5 (0=no soreness, 5=holy crap nuggets, I can’t walk)

heart rate monitor

The Pros

  • Speed, speed, speed. Even though it took me a tiny bit over 20 minutes to complete the workout, I still felt like it was a great way to get in an intense cardio workout in a time crunch.
  • It’s distracting. Switching incline and speed levels every 30 seconds was an easy distraction from my burning lungs and legs. The 23 minutes blew by.
  • Not just for speed-demons. So often I find that treadmill intervals focus on going faster and faster when you want to go harder. But the truth is, my legs just can’t carry all 200+ pounds of me much faster. And if you’re shorter? You’re going to have a really hard time running at high speeds on a treadmill. I love that this workout focused on incline (something everyone can tackle) instead of speed.

The Cons

  • Complicated. There are over 20 different intervals in this workout, all at different inclines, speeds and time increments. I had a really hard time keeping track of what incline was next with what speed and how long I needed to go for.
  • Not for folks with knee or hip issues. Running at the higher inclines and higher speeds caused my knees and hips to complain a little bit, I’d imagine this isn’t a good solution for people with previous knee or hip in juries.
  • Treadmill only. It’d be pretty difficult to do this without a treadmill. Unless you happen to have access to hills at varying intervals and can self-pace impressively well.


The Final Word

I think this workout is a great one to add to my repertoire for a quick at-home cardio sprint. I think once I get to “know” the workout a little bit better and have the intervals committed to memory, this workout will be an awesome option for when I’m crunched for time.

Have you tried out any new workouts lately? How’d they go?


  1. says

    I became a January Joiner and joined a new to me gym. I spent a glorious half hour in the pool on Saturday and yesterday I had an amazing Yoga class. I have SO missed Yoga! Many years ago when I first started gym cardio the only way I could get through a treadmill session was intervals of changing speed and incline, although I used minute marks instead of 30 seconds.

  2. says

    I’ll have to try this out the next time I hit the gym. I am forever crunched for time (mama, student, the brewery, etc.) so a quick but intense workout like this would be perfect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>