20 Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout

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Last updated on February 12, 2023

Are you frustrated with your rate of fat loss? You’re not alone. Millions of people pound the treadmills of gyms all over the world every day, hoping to melt away the pounds – and getting very little result for their efforts. There has to be a better way! There is. It’s called HIIT and if you aren’t doing it, it’s about time you started. In this article written on 20 minute HIIT treadmill workout , we provide you with a HIIT workout to help you burn more calories and achieve your fat loss goals in less time.


What is HIIT?


HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It involves switching up your training between very fast, high intense intervals and shorter rest periods. This type of training was first used in the mid-90s by the Japanese Olympic speed skating team. The results produced, both in terms of calorie burn and cardio-respiratory improvement, were so impressive that this training protocol has become extremely popular around the world.

A HIIT workout can be done with a wide range of exercise applications. The original HIIT training performed in Japan was on a treadmill and an exercise cycle. However, you can also do HIIT workouts on a rowing machine, running outdoors or even using your body weight. An example of bodyweight high intensity HIIT is to do 30 seconds of burpees followed by a 10 second recovery for a set number of rounds.

When it comes to the specific training protocol used for HIIT training, there are a wide number of options. The original HIIT workout was as follows:

  • 2-minute slow intensity workout
  • 20 seconds high intensity
  • 10 seconds recovery

Repeat 8X

  • 2-minute slow warm-down

If you work out the duration of this workout, you will find that it comes to just 8 minutes, including 4 minutes of warm-up/warm-down. However, within that 8 minutes you will get more total calorie burn than if you were to do a whole hour of steady state cardio on the treadmill. That is because of what is called EPOC. This stands for excess post exercise oxygen consumption. The extreme amount of effort that you place upon your cardiovascular system when you perform HIIT workouts increases your need for oxygen in the hours after your exercise session is over. This requires an enhanced rate of metabolism which increases your calorie burn for up to 24 hours after your workout has finished.

What this means is that your 8-minute workout will have you burning calories for the whole of the next day – even when you’re lying on the couch watching Netflix!

Of course, you do not have to limit your workout to 8 minutes. Of course, you cannot keep up the intensity for as long as you could if you were doing slow steady state cardio. 30 minutes seems to be about the limit for an effective HIIT workout before the intensity level drops off due to exhaustion.

20 Minute Treadmill HIIT Workout


Treadmill workouts are ideal to do HIIT training on. It allows you to sprint at max intensity and then quickly adjust to a resting pace without having to lose time. You can also easily adjust your speed and inclines on a treadmill. However, doing HIIT on a treadmill is not a good idea if you have joint problems. The impact on your ankles and knees will be too much. If you have joint problems, you will be better off doing your HIIT training on an exercise bike (upright bikes or recumbent bikes) or a rowing machine. Simply transfer the HIIT treadmill workout protocol to whatever type of equipment you choose to use.

The Workout


With this 20-minute treadmill workout, rather than increasing your speed or intensity level for each high intensity interval bout of your training, we will provide you with a percentage of your maximum training intensity. This allows you to customize your workout for your own level. After all, running at a level 7 may be intense for one person but moderate for someone else.

Training at 100% of intensity means, obviously, that you are going all-out. Imagine being chased by a big, nasty (and hungry) dog! When you first do this workout, you will have to experiment a little to find the speeds that equate to your intensity level.

Before you get on the treadmill, do some dynamic stretching exercises to prepare your body for the work to come.

Ok, let’s check out the workout . . .

Begin with a 2-minute warm-up at 30% intensity (build speed easy pace). Then ramp it up to 70% intensity (increase speed) for 1-minute. Now go back to 30% for a 30 second recovery. Repeat this 60 seconds at 70% followed by 30 seconds at 30% pattern until you have clocked up 9 minutes, 30 seconds. Now take it to 60% intensity for 2 full minutes, followed by another 30 seconds at 30% intensity. You will now be at the 12-minute mark. Next, ramp the intensity level up to 80% intensity for 45 seconds. Follow this up with 30 seconds at 20% intensity. Do this for 8 rounds. Now finish with a warm-down of 2 minutes to complete your 20-minute HIIT treadmill workout.

Here’s the HIIT Treadmill workout breakdown:


Amount of Time

Intensity Level

00-2:00 minutes Warmup






































15:45- 16:30




17:00: 17:45





Wrap Up


This 20-minute HIIT treadmill workout is very intense and a good cardio workout are important components of fitness. Be sure to provide yourself plenty of recovery time between workouts. We recommend that you do this workout no more than 3 HIIT treadmill workouts per week and to make sure you do a cool down walk at the end of each session.

Never do this HIIT workout on consecutive days. On the days that you are not doing your HIIT treadmill workouts, perform steady state cardio training for 20 minutes and/or weight training workouts.

Make sure, too, that you stay hydrated during this treadmill HIIT workout. Have a water bottle in the water bottle tray and sip from it during the 30 second low intensity bouts of your workout.

This will be easier for those who have a treadmill, which come with modern fitness accessories, as part of their home gym. Also make sure you have decent running shoes as HIIT running workout means a hard run.

Read more “Best Elliptical Workouts For Weight Loss

Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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