Treadmill Workout For Beginners

A treadmill is one of the most popular pieces of equipment in a gym. It’s also one of the most intimidating for beginners who don’t know what to do with it. In this blog post, we will take you through five treadmill workout for beginners that keeps you interested and gets results. We’ll also show you some tips to get started!

Beginner Treadmill Tips

It’s easy to get excited about starting something new like a fitness routine. Some of the biggest reasons for failure are due to several setbacks, such as too sore to workout the next day, lack of motivation, too busy to workout, and the list goes on and on.

Here are some helpful beginner treadmill workout tips to hopefully point you in the right direction so you start and achieve your fitness goals.

Walking as Warmup

It’s important to warm up before starting your workout and this is crucial to a beginner treadmill workout to prevent injury. Walk on the treadmill for five minutes at a slow pace, then gradually increase speed and incline until you’re running as fast/high of an intensity that feels comfortable without feeling out breath or dizzy (this will vary from person).

30 Minute Workouts

At a minimum, I recommend starting with a minimum of 30 minutes per workout. This will help you get used to the feeling of being on a treadmill and allow your body time for recovery.

Be Consistent

Humans are creatures of habit. When starting a new treadmill workout routine, consistency is key. You’ll be more likely to stick with your routine if you program a different workout every day at a set time and length of duration (e x: 30 minutes, five days per week).

If it’s not possible for some reason on one particular weekday or weekend then try compensating by adding an extra session during another workday

Cool Down and Stretch

When you start a new fitness routine, it’s common to experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) 1-2 days after the workout. To prevent or at least lessen the pain, it’s important to cool down and stretch.

Overweight beginners may feel they’re too tired or exhausted to spend another 15 minutes to cool down and stretch, but it’s even more important for these types of beginners.

I recommend that you walk on the treadmill for a few minutes after your workout, then take some time off before starting up again in order allow muscles enough recovery so they can build strength without injury or pain from overuse of muscle groups during exercise sessions (ie: DOMS).

Keep a Log

Another habit that is super helpful is to keep a daily log of your workouts. This helps you keep track of your progress and can be a great motivator to stay on top.

I recommend you write down the date, time duration for each session as well any notes about how it went (ie: felt really good today!). You may also want to include things like what type or intensity level was used during that workout.

Buy a Handheld Stopwatch

While every smartphone has a timer on it, we don’t recommend using it while working out on the treadmill. It’s too easy to get sweaty palms or hands and send your phone flying across the room.

Get one that has big buttons and you can operate it at times without needing to look at it (beeps, audible alarms and just 1-4 buttons is ideal). We really like the Marathon Adanac 3000 Digital Stopwatch.

Equipment for These Workouts

  1. Treadmill (some may call it a HIIT Treadmill). See this post for recommended beginner treadmills.
  2. Stopwatch. One with big buttons and an audible alarm such as the Marathon mentioned above.
  3. Logbook. Rather than a scrap piece of paper, we recommend something as simple as a notebook, but greatly prefer an exercise logbook.
  4. Various dumbbells (optional). You can add variations to these workouts by adding dumbbells and evolving these into a HIIT treadmill workout. We recommend a light dumbbell set with rubber coatings so they don’t break anything when they bump into your treadmill or other stuff.
  5. Heart Rate Monitor (optional). You can spend a lot of money here and get pro-grade heart rate monitors. But at the beginning of your journey, possibly with the goal of weight loss, I recommend spending as little money here as possible. My recommendation is to get a smartwatch that has a heart rate monitor and blood oxygen reader built into it. I use the YAMAY Smart Watch everyday, it’s simple to use, sync’s the results to my iPhone so I can track progress over time, and best of all, it’s pretty darn accurate!

Beginner Treadmill Workout

Below we’ve identified 5 different workouts you can do every day of the week. I’m a big fan of constantly varied workouts, so your muscles don’t get “comfortable” and it also keeps it interesting for you.

Feel free to change the days or modify the workouts. Think of these as a beginner’s guide. I hope over time you modify these workouts and make them progressively more difficult.

Workout 1: Monday

This workout focuses on agility thru walking in different directions. It may not get you much of a cardio workout, but it will increase coordination and increase mobility in all your major joints such as ankles, knees, and hips.

1. Walk at a slow pace for 5 minutes

2. While walking, turn your body 90 degrees clockwise, so your feet are going side-to-side. Continue for 2 minutes.

3. While walking, turn your body 90 degrees clockwise, so you’re walking backwards. Continue for 2 minutes.

4. While walking, turn your body 90 degrees clockwise, so your feet are going side-to-side. Continue for 2 minutes.

5. Increase speed, and repeat 2, 3, and 4. Do 6 rounds, increasing speed slightly with each.

Workout 2: Tuesday

This workout focuses on intensity. You want to build up to a challenging incline. As you get better, start the incline at a higher level and then go up by 1% from there.

1. Walk at a moderate pace up for 5 minutes 

2. Walk at a fast pace for 5 minutes 

3. Increase your speed to a jog and continue for another 5 minutes 

4. Gradually increase the incline of the treadmill, starting with 1% and increasing by 1% every 3 minutes until you reach 5%.

5. Cool down with a 15 minute walk

Workout 3: Wednesday

This workout focuses on endurance and intensity. This is achieved thru progressively increasing the speed and incline.

1. Start with a brisk walk for five minutes 

2. Increase the incline to 3% and speed up to 3 mph for three minutes 

3. Repeat steps one and two, but this time increase the incline to 5% and speed up to 4 mph for three minutes 

4. Repeat steps one through three, but this time increase the incline to 7% and speed up to 5 mph for three minutes

Workout 4: Thursday

This HIIT workout (high intesity interval training) is focused on building stamina. It achieves this thru a combination of brisk walking and jogging/running interval training. This is a simple HIIT workout that doesn’t require anything else other than your treadmill.

1. Start by walking at a brisk pace for five minutes

2. Increase your speed to a moderate jog until you’re out of breath, then walk for two minutes

3. Repeat this pattern of jogging or walking intervals until you have walked or jogged for 30 minutes

4. To complete the HIIT workout, cool down by walking on the treadmill at a moderate pace for 5 minutes, then slowing it down to a slow pace for another 5 minutes.

Workout 5: Friday

This workout is pure cardio. Incline stays flat and you’re focused on increasing how long you can jog at a consistent speed.

1. Start out slow and gradually increase your speed 

2. Try to jog or run at a steady pace for 15 minutes that is challenging enough where you’re on the verge of being out of breath

3. If you can’t make it that long, try walking for 10 minutes or running for 5 minutes 

4. When you’re finished with the workout, stretch before getting off of the treadmill


In summary, for those of us that haven’t built a habit of working out and seeing results, consistency and visualizing success are key to getting more fit and building a lifestyle change that works.

For overweight beginners, there’s no better lifestyle change you can make that will get you better results than a treadmill interval workout. It’s great for weight loss and easy on the knees and other joints.

These are done by having a simple workout plan you can do everyday and using a log to track your results.

And remember, cool down and stretching afterwards are super important to lessen or even prevent sore muscles the next day. Don’t skip on this!

Be sure to check out our article on the best treadmill under $300.

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