What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Incline in a Treadmill?

When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Running on a treadmill offers a convenient and comfortable alternative to outdoor running, especially when harsh weather conditions or challenging terrain are a concern.

With a treadmill, you can enjoy your workout without having to brave cold weather, navigate rough paths, or worry about dark mornings. This makes it an ideal choice for those who prefer a more controlled environment for their running routine.

One feature that’s undeniably impressive about a treadmill is its inclines. That’s why it is considered one of the most versatile fitness you will ever come across.

This feature is known for effective cardio, but it offers more benefits. It ensures that you don’t increase the speed or time of your workout despite increasing its intensity.

Nevertheless, despite having a long list of benefits, it is worth noting that the incline also has its drawbacks. So, do the benefits make the drawbacks worthwhile?

Fortunately, this piece puts this matter to rest. Without much ado, let’s discuss in detail the benefits and drawbacks of incline.

Benefits of an Incline in a Treadmill

Whereas running on a treadmill has excellent effects, opting for the incline setting often means getting more. Some of its advantages include the following;

Enhances One’s Cardiovascular Health

If you want to enhance your cardiovascular health, you need to increase your heart rate. Walking uphill is effective since your body has to work relatively hard to move you forward.

Every body part you need to move forward requires oxygen and nutrients. The body transports these components through the blood, and it is up to the heart to pump them to those areas.

Consequently, the more the parts of the body that need blood, the higher the heart gets for it to handle the demand. Under such circumstances, cardiovascular and cardio health will improve over time.

Besides improving your cardiovascular endurance, it also usually enhances lung capacity over time.

Improves Calorie Burn

Incline walking is known for burning calories, and doing it on a treadmill has the same impact, if not a better one. After all, this workout is similar to walking uphill.

When climbing a hill, one’s body uses a substantial amount of energy. It requires your body to put extra effort into achieving this daunting task, thus burning many calories.

Promotes Workout Effectiveness

It means short periods of workouts are effective enough to burn calories and strengthen one’s lower body. After all, the slope increases your workout intensity, thus leading to faster and better results.

Works on Body Muscles

Since an uphill climb engages various large muscles, your body can easily lose excess weight by burning calories. Besides weight, the core muscles also enhance balance and stability.

Lack of strong core muscles is a major cause of muscle strains, lower back pain, and injuries. It would be best if you strengthened yours to avoid such issues.

Fortunately, an incline can achieve this easily. Remember, it works on lower body muscles, including glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

Upon working on these muscles, their strength translates to a strong lower body. Equally important, they become quite defined for a perfect look.

Prepares You for the Actual Rough Terrain

It prepares you for the endurance and power you need for strength training or running. Why not when it works on lower body muscles, including calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes?

Drawbacks of an Incline in a Treadmill

As we look at the benefits and drawbacks of incline, it is only fair to mention its advantages. Consequently, even as you strive to reap the benefits of the incline in a treadmill, you don’t overlook its demerits.

Unsuitability Among Some Groups

For instance, there are times when an incline is a bad idea.

Since it is steep, it can do more harm than good to someone suffering from an injury on their lower body. That includes injuries on the hip, knee, ankle and foot.

Health Problems

According to experts, an incline of 12% and above can damage one’s knees’ meniscus.

If you are old or overweight, avoid inclines, especially the ones that are extremely steep. After all, the excess weight exerts substantial pressure on joints, thus leading to health problems.

Sore Muscles

Whereas an incline is great, too much of everything is poisonous. Avoid extreme inclines to save your knees from the harshness of such routines.

First, not all your muscles will experience this wrath of an incline. Some of the muscles that face the issue are the sleus, gastrocnemius, peroneals and tibialis anterior.

As a beginner, avoid the incline for a while. Ensure your body is comfortable with the treadmill’s flat surface and proceed to inclines afterward.

After all, sore muscles usually arise following a transition from a flat treadmill to an incline one. Consequently, this switch exerts pressure on your legs’ back and front muscles.

Otherwise, a fast transition could see your joints suffer extreme damage. It also increases your chances of incurring severe injuries.

Alternatives to Treadmills

Having discussed the benefits and drawbacks of incline in a treadmill, what’s your take?

Upon realizing that using an incline isn’t your thing, don’t give up just yet. On the contrary, try out the available alternatives, including the following;


If jogging or walking has proven too tough for your knees, consider cycling. Look for the stationary cycles with inclination features. If you have a regular bike, use it in a hilly area, which will do the trick.

Using an Elliptical

Its notable characteristics are large foot pedals and long handles. It is also known as a cross trainer thanks to its working mechanism.

It allows you to combine the lower and upper body exercises. Under such circumstances, you will experience a workout that strikes a balance in working on all your body parts.

Climbing the Stairs

After all, climbing the stairs also strengthens one’s lower body. The good thing is its minimal effects on joints.

Besides working on the glutes, the routine enhances cardiovascular endurance.


The benefits and drawbacks of incline are at your disposal. It is up to you to decide if the good outweighs the bad.

As a beginner, only consider the incline once your body can handle its intensity. Otherwise, you will experience more challenges than benefits.

Equally important, you don’t have to use the incline on a treadmill to acquire the various benefits. After all, some alternatives can offer similar results.

Pin It on Pinterest