Treadmill Interval Workouts

ZUM Fitness in the heart of downtown Seattle




Some days it just works better to do your walking on a treadmill.  Here are three different treadmill walking workouts to reinvigorate your energy, stimulate creative thinking, and boost your mood.


What is the chart at the bottom of this post?

The chart is a collection of heart rate ranges calculated from evaluating your maximum heart rate (or close to it).  The duration (how long a workout is) and intensity (how hard or easy you work) of most exercise programs are based on an evaluation.  The results from an evaluation help you know what benefits you’re getting at any intensity of walking.  Intensity is given as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.

Is it necessary to do the evaluation?

It depends on how specific you want to be with monitoring your heart rate during exercise.  You can see in the chart different categories based off of a percentage of Maximum Heart Rate (Max HR).  Each of the categories are described on the second page.


If you want to be specific with what heart rate range you walk with, then an evaluation is helpful.  I highly recommend setting up an evaluation with one of our fabulous ZŪM trainers if you want to do one.


You can also walk at a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) that you have the energy for on any given day.  RPE is a subjective rating of how hard you’re working, based on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being easy and 10 being a maximal effort.


What do the terms below mean?

Program designs:

* Pyramid Intervals: intervals that progress with steeper inclines.

* Long Intervals: longer work and recover interval times.

* Short Intervals: shorter work and recover interval times.


Level of exercise experience:

* Beginning: appropriate for a beginner or somebody returning to exercise after a long break.

* Intermediate: appropriate for somebody who has been walking or exercising regularly for more than three months.

* Advanced: appropriate for somebody who has been walking or exercising at a higher intensity for more than three months.


Treadmill dashboard functions:

% = percent incline

mph = speed in miles per hour

Cycles: 1 cycle = 1 time through the sequence of work and recovery intervals

Work = the time the treadmill deck incline is elevated past 0%

Recovery = the time the treadmill deck is at 0%


How to:

1. Stand with your feet on either side of the treadmill belt.

2. Tap the screen to open the instructional display.

3. Press the “time” button on the screen.

4. Enter the amount of time, your body weight, and your age.  These treadmill walks are designed to last around 30 minutes.

5. Tap the “start” button.

6. Over the course of 10 minutes, slowly bring yourself up to a brisk walk, which for most people is 3.2 – 4 mph.  Step with long, soft strides to be easy on your joints.

7. Follow the program design of choice by watching the time on the display and manually adjusting the speed and incline.







Max HR                      ________

Healthy heart              ________        50-60%

Fitness                        ________       60-70%

Aerobic / endurance   ________        70-80%

Anaerobic                   ________        80-90%

Red line                      ________        90-100%




Incline treadmill 1:  pyramid intervals


Level:                      beginning       intermediate      advanced

10 minute warm up      0%                   0%                   0%       ________ mph

6 minutes                    2%                   5%                   8%       ________ mph

1 minute                      0%                   0%                   0%

4 minutes                    4%                   7%                   10%

1 minute                      0%                   0%                   0%

2 minutes                    6%                   9%                   12%

1 minute                      0%                   0%                   0%

1 minute                      8%                   11%                 15%

Cycles                         1                      1-2                   1-2



Incline treadmill 2: long interval


Level:                      beginning       intermediate     advanced

10 minute warm up     0%                   0%                   0%       ________ mph

5 minutes                    3%                   6%                   10%     ________ mph

5 minutes                    0%                   3%                   6%       ________ mph

Cycles                         2-4                   3-5                   3-5




Incline treadmill 3:  short interval


Level:                     beginning       intermediate     advanced

10 minute warm up     0%                   0%                   0%       ________ mph

2 minutes                    8%                   11%                 15%     3.8 mph

2 minutes                    3%                   5%                   8%

Cycles                         4-6                   6-8                   6-8




Healthy Heart Zone (Warm up) — 50 – 60% of maximum heart rate: The easiest zone and probably the best zone for people just starting a fitness program. It can also be used as a warm up for more serious walkers. This zone has been shown to help decrease body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also decreases the risk of degenerative diseases and has a low risk of injury. 85% of calories burned in this zone are fats!


Fitness Zone (Fat Burning) — 60 – 70% of maximum heart rate: This zone provides the same benefits as the healthy heart zone, but is more intense and burns more total calories. The percent of fat calories is still 85%.


Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training) — 70 – 80% of maximum heart rate: The aerobic zone will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system AND increase the size and strength of your heart. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. More calories are burned with 50% from fat.


Anaerobic Zone (Performance Training) — 80 – 90% of maximum heart rate: Benefits of this zone include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and thus an improved cardiorespiratory system, and a higher lactate tolerance ability which means your endurance will improve and you’ll be able to fight fatigue better. This is a high intensity zone burning more calories, 15 % from fat.


Red Line (Maximum Effort) — 90 – 100% of maximum heart rate: Although this zone burns the highest number of calories, it is very intense. Most people can only stay in this zone for short periods. You should only train in this zone if you are in very good shape and have been cleared by a physician to do so.