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The Ultimate Guide to 15 Percent Incline Treadmill

Not every treadmill has an incline, which is unfortunate because running or walking on an incline is totally different than if you were doing the same thing on a flat surface. A 15 percent incline treadmill will challenge your body in a whole new way. It can push your limits and melt away calories in the process, so if you’re still thinking about whether or not you need this kind of treadmill, this is your sign that you do.

We’ll get into all the ups and downs (literally!) of why you need this treadmill, what you can expect from it, what is 15% incline on treadmill, and how to make the most out of every slope.

Lace up your shoes, grab your water bottle and let’s go!

What is a 15 percent incline treadmill?

It’s a treadmill that allows you to walk or run on an elevated surface and simulates a steep uphill climb. This specific level of incline makes your workouts more intense, targets different muscle groups, and enhances calorie burn.

Woman running on treadmill

What Is the Incline Level on a Treadmill?

Picture a treadmill standing flat on your floor. Now, picture the front of that same treadmill being slightly elevated. There you go – now you know what incline is.

Basically, it’s the angle of the running surface that determines the degree of slope. Incline adds versatility to your workouts, which means you no longer have just a flat surface to walk or run on; you have the challenge of an uphill terrain. Why does that matter, you ask? Well, it matters because incline engages different muscle groups and makes your workout more comprehensive.

There are two main types of incline – manual and motorized. Manual incline treadmills need you to physically adjust the slope by lifting the deck. They’re usually really cost-effective and they have a simple design. Motorized incline treadmills are a completely different story; you use electronic controls to modify the slope and there is usually a wider range of incline options. Both types have the same purpose, but motorized treadmills are more expensive.

What Does 15 Incline on a Treadmill Mean?

15% incline is the angle of the running surface. This level means that for every 100 horizontal units you move forward, you’re also climbing 15 units upward. 15% might not sound like a lot, but it’s a significant slope that really intensifies your workout. Imagine running or walking on a steep hill and you’ll understand why 15% is no piece of cake.

Not all treadmills have this feature, so check before you hop on. If your treadmill does have this feature, you adjust it through the control panel. There’s either a button or a setting that allows you to increase or decrease the incline on a motorized treadmill, and some of them even have pre-programmed workouts that automatically adjust the incline for you. If your treadmill is manual, you’ll need to adjust the incline using a lever or some other type of mechanism.

Measuring incline is a standardized process and it’s usually expressed as a percentage. So, when you set your treadmill to 15%, you create an uphill challenge.

1. Who Needs 15% Incline Treadmills

Are you bored with running on a flat surface? Do you want more challenge and versatility? If you answered yes to both of these, then you need a 15 degree incline treadmill.

These treadmills are great for people who want to simulate running or walking on an uphill terrain, so if you’re a runner or hiker and you want to improve your endurance, this is the perfect way to do that. A 15% incline will also be really good if your goal is to lose weight because it’s more intense (and effective in terms of fat loss) or if you have joint issues because the incline will make the exercise more joint-friendly.

2. Who Is Not Recommended to Walk/Run on a Treadmill With a 15 Degree Incline

As great as they are, not everyone will benefit from treadmills with a 15% incline. If you have a certain health condition or physical limitations, it may be best to refrain from trying to walk or run on this incline. People who are dealing with joint issues (like hip or knee problems) will probably find this slope too challenging for their joints. Those with high blood pressure or cardiovascular problems will need to be extra careful because the incline makes the workout more intense, which can strain the heart.

Pregnant women (especially those in later stages) should talk to their doctor before using a treadmill 15 incline, just to be sure it won’t hurt them or the baby. You can never go wrong with asking your doctor for some advice, especially when it comes to intense workouts.

5 Benefits of 15 Inclines on a Treadmill

15% incline setting isn’t just a random number – it has a bunch of benefits that can completely transform your exercise routine, and it has some health benefits, too. Let’s see why you shouldn’t be afraid to crank up that incline and what are some of the 15 incline treadmill benefits.

✅ Calorie Burn

When you run or walk on an incline, you torch more calories than if you walk or run on a flat surface. The incline makes the workout more intense and adds resistance, so your muscles need to work harder and, as a result, you burn more calories.

✅ Muscle Engagement

Running or walking on a 15 incline treadmill engages more muscles. This helps you tone and strengthen them, and your workout ends up being more comprehensive.

✅ Cardiovascular Boost

Inclined treadmill workouts give your cardiovascular system quite a challenge. Since you need more effort to move uphill, you increase your heart rate and oxygen consumption, which contributes to improved cardiovascular health and endurance over time.

✅ Releasing Endorphins

Intense workouts, like a 15 incline treadmill workout, trigger the release of endorphins, which are your body’s natural feel-good hormones. This makes your mood better, reduces stress, and gives you an overall sense of well-being.

✅ Weight Management

When you combine increased calorie burn with muscle engagement, you get a fantastic way to manage your weight. 15% incline helps you both lose and manage weight because it makes your workout more intense.

Useful Workouts on a Treadmill With a 15 Degree Incline

Treadmills are more versatile than you think. Walking or running with the same tempo while staring at a wall has its perks, but if you want to switch it up and not get bored after 5 minutes, you might want to do some other exercises.

Man running on incline treadmill

1. Power Walking Intervals

Alternate between brisk walking and recovery periods. This high-intensity interval training boosts calorie burn, improves cardiovascular health, and engages multiple muscle groups.

icon run

Pro Tip:

Engage your core by doing standing oblique crunches or twisting your torso from side to side. This will take your workout up a notch, and you’ll pay some attention to your core, too.

icon run

Pro Tip:

Engage your core by doing standing oblique crunches or twisting your torso from side to side. This will take your workout up a notch, and you’ll pay some attention to your core, too.

2. Interval Running

This is a walking-running combo. First, you run at a pace that is challenging for you on a flat surface, and then increase the incline to 15% and walk for 2 minutes to recover. Repeat this cycle a few times. It’s a dynamic workout that will boost your endurance and calorie burn.

3. Hill Sprints

Set the treadmill to 15% and sprint for 30 seconds, then reduce the speed and walk for another 30 seconds. This is an intense interval workout that will make your legs stronger and it will do wonders for cardiovascular fitness. These short, intense workouts are great for running performance.

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4. Reverse Incline Walk

Walk backward on a treadmill that has the incline set to 15%. This workout challenges your muscles in a different way (especially quads and calves), and it also improves coordination and balance. Just make sure your pace is slow and controlled so you don’t lose your balance and fly off the treadmill.

5. Up-and-Down Intervals

Go between lowering and increasing the incline levels. Start at a 5% incline and gradually increase it to 15% over 5 minutes, then reverse the process. This is a really fun workout and if you’re bored with regular exercises you can do on a treadmill, you’ll love it.

Our treadmill recommendation – BJMX US Treadmill with Incline

BJMX US Treadmill with Incline Folding

BJMX US Treadmill with Incline

This treadmill has a 16.9-inch wide running belt that’s made of PVC, polyester fiber, and cotton yarn, so the surface is non-slip and super comfortable. The shock absorption is excellent thanks to the 8-layer construction, and with the belt being 43.3-inch long, you’ll have more than enough space for a comfortable workout.

You can connect your phone to it through Bluetooth and enjoy your music while you work out, and don’t worry about the treadmill being noisy. You won’t hear it over the music because the motor is quiet. The LED display that you’ll find on the armrest shows all metrics (calories, distance, speed, incline, step count, heart rate), so you know exactly where you’re at at any moment.

There’s only one not-so-great thing about it, and that’s the belt. It skips a little here and there, which isn’t something that will completely ruin your workout, but it’s definitely distracting.


  • Easy to assemble
  • Powerful motor
  • Foldable


  • The belt skips a little from time to time
BJMX US Treadmill with Incline Folding

5 Safety Precautions When Using a 15 Degree Treadmill

If you challenge yourself and work out at a 15% incline, your body will thank you for it. However, you still need to be safe and know how to prevent potential mishaps and injuries.

Running workout on incline treadmill

1. Start With a Warm-Up

Don’t start your workout without warming up first. You need to warm up your muscles and joints, especially if you’re exercising at an incline. Walk or jog for a few minutes to increase your heart rate and prepare your body.

2. Use the Safety Clip

Most treadmills come with a safety clip that you can attach to your clothing before your workout starts. If you stumble or fall, the safety clip will automatically stop the treadmill.

3. Controlled Pace

It can be tempting, but you shouldn’t sprint immediately on an incline. Start with a moderate pace and increase your pace little by little as your muscles adapt. If you maintain control, you’ll prevent sudden jolts to your joints and you won’t lose your balance.

4. Stay Hydrated

Incline workouts are more demanding and you will perspire more. It’s really important you stay hydrated throughout the entire workout, so keep a water bottle near and take a sip every once in a while. Dehydration can be dangerous and it will compromise your performance.

5. Cool Down

It’s important to start with a warm-up, but it’s also important to cool down when you’re done. Reduce the treadmill’s incline and speed to let your heart rate and breathing return to normal, and then do some stretches to prevent stiffness.


Does Incline Treadmill Work Abs?

Yes, an incline treadmill will engage your core, which includes the abs. The uphill slope will activate your abs to keep you stable and, although it’s not a direct ab exercise, it still contributes to core strength and toning.

Does Incline On The Treadmill Build Muscle?

Of course! Treadmill workouts can help you build muscle, especially in your lower body. Since there’s more resistance, the incline engages your glutes, hamstrings, and calves more, which promotes strength and toning.

Is 15 Incline On A Treadmill Good?

If you want a challenging workout, then it’s great. It will make your workout more intense, boost calorie burn, and engage different muscle groups.

What Degree Is 15% Incline?

15 incline in degrees comes down to 8.53. It’s quite a challenge, even though 15% might not sound like a lot, but it will make your workout very intense.

Is 15% Incline On A Treadmill Good For Weight Loss?

It sure is! Since the workout becomes more intense when you crank the incline up, your body needs more energy to complete it, which means it burns more calories. On average, a person that weighs 155 pounds can burn roughly 400-500 calories during 30 minutes 15 incline treadmill, but this can vary.


Regardless of the type of treadmill you choose, make sure it has an incline because now you know exactly what is a 15 incline on a treadmill and why you need it. You don’t have to use it every single time, but it’s something that’s good to have because it can add a lot of variety into your routine. Treadmills are great, but if we’re being totally honest, there’s not that much you can do on them, so having an incline really helps make things more interesting.

Have you tried running or walking at a 15% incline? Do you use the treadmill incline 15 speed 3? Which speed do you think works best with this incline? What was the most challenging part for you?

We’d love to hear anything you have to add to this!


  1. Andrea J. Fradkin, Tsharni R. Zazryn, James M. Smoliga “Effects of Warming-Up on Physical Performance: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 24, no. 1 (2010): 140-148.
  2. Derek Ferley, D. T. Hopper, Matthew D. Vukovich “Incline Treadmill Interval Training: Short vs. Long Bouts and the Effects on Distance Running Performance,” International Journal of Sports Medicine 37, no. 12 (2016).
  3. Honor Whiteman “Endorphin Release Differs by Exercise Intensity, Study Finds,” Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319157 (accessed March 5th, 2024)
  4. Mason Haggerty, D. Clark Dickin, Jennifer Popp, Henry Wang “The Influence of Incline Walking on Joint Mechanics,” Gait & Posture 39, no. 4 (2014): 1017-1021.
  5. Stacey Carter “Why It’s Important to Cool Down After Exercise, According to the Science” LiveScience, https://www.livescience.com/why-its-important-to-cool-down-after-exercise-according-to-the-science (accessed March 5th, 2024)
  6. All photos are made by diana.grytsku, by prostooleh from Freepic, PacePassion Media Team.

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