Treadmill or Elliptical: How to Add HIIT

Are your workouts starting to get stale? Do you feel like you’re hitting a fitness plateau? If so, cardio HIIT training might be just the jump start you need to spice up your workouts. 

In this post, we’ll explain the basics of HIIT training, lay out why you should add it to your workout routine, and provide some sample workouts to help get you started.

What is HIIT?

running on treadmill adding hiit for high impact workoutHIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. HIIT workouts feature short bursts of intense exercise punctuated by brief periods of rest. Most HIIT workouts entail 30 seconds to one minute of exercise at maximum intensity, alternating with periods of moderate intensity. There are many variations of HIIT exercises, but the basic principles are the same across all cardio HIIT training routines. The idea is to push yourself to your limit by maximizing aerobic activity, and then give yourself brief periods to recover in between intervals of intense effort. You’ll be working really hard, but only in short bursts so your HIIT workouts never feel like slogs. 

Why Use HIIT for Your Cardio Routine? 

Cardio HIIT training can make your workouts more effective. HIIT training:

  • Helps you lose weight faster than steady-state cardio exercises because they jumpstart your metabolism
  • Helps condition your heart better than longer, more consistent periods of cardiovascular exercise
  • Increases the stroke volume, or amount of blood pumping from the heart, improving your overall aerobic fitness
  • Has been shown to improve mental health more than other forms of exercises do
  • Improves conventional health measures such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol

HIIT brings intense momentary stress to your body, which forces your cells to become more efficient. Even though you work out for shorter bursts of time, HIIT workouts bring longer lasting benefits to your body than steady-state cardio.

Beyond their health benefits, HIIT workouts are generally shorter in duration than traditional workouts, so they’re easier to fit into your busy days. Because they vary in intensity, they also help keep you from falling into boring exercise ruts.

Cardio HIIT Training With a Treadmill or Elliptical

You can get all the health benefits of cardio HIIT training with a treadmill or elliptical workout—and maybe even shorten your workout as well. Use the sample plans below as starting points to incorporate HIIT training into your cardio routine.

Sample HIIT Treadmill Workout

Follow this plan for a powerful HIIT treadmill workout that will push your body to its limit. For this workout, adjust your treadmill’s incline and speed during your maximum intensity periods as needed.

  • Warm-up: Start with a brisk walk and work your way up to a light jog (10 minutes)
  • Max Intensity Interval: Run at 10 mph (45 seconds–1 minute)
  • Moderate Intensity Interval: Walk or jog at 3.5–4 mph (15–20 seconds)
  • Repeat cycles of alternating maximum and moderate intensity 7 times. 
  • Cool down: Walk for 5 minutes and then stretch

Sample HIIT Elliptical Workout

HIIT can “hit” just as hard on an elliptical. Adjust the resistance and incline for this HIIT elliptical workout to suit your fitness level. The interval timings for this exercise plan should work well with a pumped-up playlist to get you moving!

  • Warm up: Resistance 5, Incline 5 (2 minutes)
  • Max Intensity Interval: Resistance 10, Incline 5 (1 minute)
  • Moderate Intensity Interval: Resistance 5, Incline 7 (2 minutes)
  • Max Intensity Interval: Resistance 10, Incline 7 (1 minute)
  • Moderate Intensity Interval: Resistance 7, Incline 9 (2 minutes)
  • Max Intensity Interval: Resistance 12, Incline 9 (1 minute)
  • Moderate Intensity Interval: Resistance 7, Incline 9 (2 minutes)
  • Max Intensity Interval: Resistance 12, Incline 9 (1 minute)
  • Moderate Intensity Interval: Resistance 9, Incline 11 (2 minutes)
  • Max Intensity Interval: Resistance 14, Incline 11 (1 minute)
  • Moderate Intensity Interval: Resistance 9, Incline 9 (2 minutes)
  • Max Intensity Interval: Resistance 12, Incline 9 (1 minute)
  • Moderate Intensity Interval: Resistance 7, Incline 9 (2 minutes)
  • Cool down: Stretch

Once you start to find your aerobic edge, you can adjust the length and intensity of these workouts as needed. The most important thing to remember is to alternate between maximum and moderate intensity during your main workout. Get ready to sweat!

Interval Training Is a HI(I)T!

Cardio HIIT training will rev up your metabolism, boost your cardiovascular health, and maximize your workout efficiency. You can vary the length and intensity of your workouts to suit and push your maximum aerobic capacity. 

If you’re searching for a treadmill or elliptical machine that can stand up to your intense HIIT workouts, check out the range of exercise equipment at your local G&G Fitness Equipment store

Have a Fitness Question or Tip to Share? Leave it in the comments.


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