2 Main Treadmill Settings Explained

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Running on a treadmill effectively requires a good understanding of its primary settings. Treadmills, a staple in gyms and increasingly common in home fitness setups, offer a range of features to enhance your workout experience.

In this guide, we will focus on explaining the two primary settings you’ll encounter on most treadmills: speed and incline.

These settings are pivotal in tailoring your workout to match your fitness goals, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced runner.

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The speed setting on a treadmill is quite straightforward. When you start the treadmill, it begins at the lowest speed. You just need to increase this speed until it’s right for you.

Keep in mind, that some treadmills show speed in miles per hour and others in kilometers per hour. The unit used usually depends on the country and what’s commonly used there.

The maximum speed varies between treadmills. Commercial treadmills, like those in gyms, often go up to about 15 MPH. Home treadmills usually have a top speed of 10-12 MPH or less, which is plenty fast for most people.

Treadmill speed is an integral factor if you plan to use the treadmill to achieve weight loss goals or train for a race.

  • Treadmill walking speeds typically range from a very slow pace of 0.1 mph up to a brisk walking speed of 4 mph.
  • Jogging is a moderate-intensity exercise, faster than walking but slower than running. A good jogging speed typically ranges from 4 to 5 mph.
  • Running is more intense than jogging and requires a faster pace. Generally, any speed over 5 mph (8 km/h) can be considered running.


Many people use treadmills just to run on a flat surface, adjusting only the speed.

However, if you want to burn more calories, make your workout tougher, and target muscles like your glutes, calves, and quads, you should consider using the incline feature, which changes the angle of the running track.

On most commercial-grade treadmills at the gym, the incline can go up to 15%. Home treadmills usually offer an incline up to 10-12%.

The exception is with some low-cost, entry-level models, which may not have electronic incline controls.

These typically have two or three manual incline settings that you need to adjust by getting off the machine.

It’s also worth noting that some of the more advanced machines have decline settings.

This feature allows you to experience running downhill, offering a more comprehensive training workout that can be beneficial for preparing for road races.

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