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How to Effectively Burn Calories on an Incline Treadmill

 Written by 

Ilinka Trenova

 Last updated on 

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Wonder how many calories are burned using incline treadmill? There’s no doubt that a good treadmill workout has a host of benefits, from improved cardiovascular health and endurance to enhanced muscle tone. But one of the main draws for many people is the potential to enjoy a higher calorie burn rate than they would with other forms of exercise. An incline treadmill is an ideal tool to help you achieve this goal.

Factors Influencing the Rate of Calorie Burn

Despite the promise of a higher calorie burn, there are numerous factors that can affect the rate at which you’ll be able to do it. Not everyone has the same caloric burn potential, nor does everyone respond to a certain level of exercise intensity in an equal fashion. Here are some of the pillars that affect your incline treadmill calories burned.

a man using incline treadmill to improve calories burned
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Speed and Incline Adjustments

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Of course, the treadmill speed and incline you select will have a direct impact on the total amount of calories burned during your session. A faster pace, with an increased elevation grade, can help you burn more calories in a shorter period of time.

The variation in angles in terms of treadmill incline settings can vary from a minimum of 0.5% to as much as 15%. This allows you to explore new heights and terrains of physical activity, offering a challenge that you can tailor to your individual capabilities. You can start with a low incline to warm up and then work your way up, giving your body plenty of time to acclimatize.

So, assuming that an average 180-pound person exercises on an incline treadmill for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity and a speed of approximately 4-5 mph, he or she can expect to burn approximately 350 calories. If you want to get specific, that’s about as much as one burger and a small side of fries.

Workout Intensity

The math here is simple – the faster your heart pumps blood while you exercise, the greater your oxygen consumption becomes. This, in turn, leads to a higher calorie burn count. So, while it may be tempting to take things slow and steady on the incline workout, gradually increasing your exercise intensity can have a positive effect on the overall efficiency of your treadmill routine.

Using the Handrails

Though they can be tempting to lean on or hold onto for balance, using the handrails during your treadmill session can minimize your exertion and hinder your calorie burn. This occurs for two key reasons – you either reduce your speed or take part in less of an incline for fear of instability.

After all, handrails are there to help you get on and off the machine with ease, not to make your workout easier. Instead of using them, try to focus on your posture and stability while engaging your core. This way, you can prevent injury and stay safe without sacrificing your exercise intensity.

Current Body Weight

The irony behind this particular factor is that it can actually act as a double-edged sword. On one hand, the bigger you are, the more calories you will lose since you’re moving a heavier weight against gravity. Naturally, it’ll take more energy to move a greater mass and the scale will, in turn, tip in your favor.

But this also means that many larger people tend to be at a disadvantage due to the added strain and stress of excess weight. It’s not exactly easy to train when you’re working against the burden of an additional few pounds.

Age and Sex

The age gap between two people plays a role in calorie burn, as well. It’s no secret that metabolism slows down as the years go by, meaning that you may need to increase the duration or intensity of your exercise regimens to get similar results.

Sex-based differences in metabolism and muscle mass can also play a role in just how many calories you burn during your workout. Generally speaking, men tend to be at an advantage in this regard due to their lean muscle mass and higher basal metabolic rate.

How to Calculate Your Calorie Burn Estimate

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Guesstimating your calorie burn can be a tricky task, especially if you don’t have access to the right tools. More often than not, this can throw you off track in terms of weight loss goals and progress. Fortunately, several tools can help you get an accurate number:

Custom Treadmill Calorie Calculator

In many cases, a general number will be displayed on your treadmill dashboard to give you a rough estimate of your calorie expenditure. However, there are also some custom calculators available online that take into account various factors such as age and sex.

The former is obviously easier to use since you can access the data on the spot, but it’s worth noting that a custom version can provide a more accurate weight reading. Oftentimes, these calculators will also incorporate additional stats such as body fat percentage into the equation.

Dedicated Fitness Tracker

These days, there are plenty of fitness trackers and watch-style devices that offer real-time calorie monitor readings. Most of these gadgets are equipped with a standard accelerometer to precisely assess your speed and incline levels, while keeping tabs on your exercise intensity as well.

Heart Rate Monitor

Last but not least, a rather underrated means to calculate your incline treadmill calories burned rate is to use a heart rate monitor. This device indicates the average number of beats per minute, which can be directly linked to your current exercise intensity.

Is walking incline good for weight loss?

Yes, walking on an incline is a great way to shed a few extra pounds. The raised incline puts more strain on your muscles and tendons, meaning that you will be burning calories at a higher rate.

Is walking with incline better than running?

From a calorie-burning standpoint, yes. Both walking and running on an incline will burn more calories than a flat track, but the former tends to be gentler on the joints and offers a more balanced exercise regimen.


Hey there, I'm Ilinka Trenova, a self-proclaimed CrossFit addict and content creator extraordinaire. I've been pumping iron and perfecting my snatches and squats for a solid decade now, and I still get a thrill every time I hit a new PR. What I love most about both CrossFit and writing is the sense of community they both provide. My CrossFit crew is full of people who push themselves to be their best, both inside and outside the gym. And let me tell you, I've never felt stronger or more confident than when I'm crushing a WOD. As a content creator, I've had the privilege of connecting with readers and other writers from all over the world and explore different topics and aspects of life together. Whether I'm writing a blog post, a product review, or crafting a witty social media caption, I always strive to create valuable and entertaining content. At the end of the day, I believe that both CrossFit and writing have helped me grow and become a better version of myself. And I'm truly excited to see where these passions will take me in the future!

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