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Build Speed In 20 Minutes With A HIIT Treadmill Workout

Running burns calories. There’s no doubt about that. But to really blast fat, running in one pace just won’t cut it.

To burn the most calories in the least amount of time, a high-intensity workout that gets the heart pumping and fires up your metabolism while using the largest muscles in the body is the way to go—especially since swim suit season is around the corner. One bonus is that high-intensity workouts improve run speed too!

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been around since the 1970s but has become all the rage in recent years, topping the list of the hottest fitness trends. It gained new attention when Japanese trainer and scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata found that this form of training not only increases aerobic capacity and stamina; it also improves anaerobic capacity, or ability to build muscle, shares Kimberly S. Clay, PhD, MPH, MSW and Executive Director of Play Like A Girl!

HIIT is short, intense periods or exercise at maximum ability, followed by short rest periods. Combinations of intense cardio, like sprinting and strength training in a short period of time forces you to push yourself harder and farther, making your workout more efficient.

“Using the HIIT method, you can even get a super effective treadmill workout in 20 minutes or less. Essentially, it takes 60 seconds of intense activity, then 30 seconds of rest, done 8 to 10 times to maximize results,” says Clay.

Notice your heart rate recovery during the rest. As you get stronger, your heart rate will recover quicker, which is a sign of endurance strength, which improves your run pace.

20-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout

  1. Start with a 5-minute jog at a reasonably steady pace to warm-up and get your muscles ready to go.
  2. At the 5-minute mark, choose your “high-intensity speed” (aim for 10.0) and sprint at that speed for a minute.
  3. Select your rest speed and walk at rest speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat the sprint at the highest intensity you can maintain adding an incline (preferably, 4.0) to mimic normal outdoor running conditions, and follow with 30 seconds of rest and recovery.
  5. During recovery, walk at rest speed to lower your heart rate and prepare for the next high-intensity interval sprint.
  6. Complete 8 to 10 rounds for a total of 20 minutes, including the workout and recovery.
  7. Cool down with a walk at a lower speed for two to three minutes, and stretch it out to avoid cramping.

Fara Rosenzweig

Fara Rosenzweig is a writer, editor, and certified personal trainer. She got her first taste of the gym at age 14 and fell in love with the fitness crowd. After suffering a back injury her freshman year of college, she had to set her ballet slippers aside and rehab her back. That’s when she found her passion for teaching fitness and helping others challenge themselves. Her senior year of college she ran in her first 5K and traded her ballet slippers for the latest (and brightest) pair of running shoes. Fara loves talking health, sports and fitness with any one and everyone. Her love for storytelling earned her an Emmy Award and has been seen in many other publications, such as Refinery29,, MyFitnessPal and Health.