Have you ever heard someone say they could really “feel the burn” after a walking workout? Chances are, they were using incline to their advantage. The good news is that you can do the same thing—all you need is the right incline treadmill!
Here at Treadmill.com, we’re all about helping you find the best treadmill for your needs. If that means finding a machine that can make you feel like you’re walking up and down hills without ever leaving your home gym, we know just the incline treadmills for you.
Read on to see our top picks (and to find out why incline is such a big deal for your workout)!
Benefits Of An Incline Treadmill Workout
The more you increase your treadmill incline, the harder your body has to work (2). That’s called “metabolic cost,” and it’s one element of an effective workout. Incline workouts may also be a particularly effective way to target certain leg muscles—for example, those responsible for strengthening and moving your ankles (3).
Workouts on a high-incline treadmill like the NordicTrack Commercial X22i have been recorded to have additional benefits. One study found “significant decreases” in measurements like body weight and fat mass when participants regularly used the X22i and made dietary changes (5). The study indicates potential benefits of an at-home incline treadmill workout combined with a healthy diet and other lifestyle improvements (5).
There’s one more benefit to consider, and that’s entertainment value. Using treadmill incline settings is a great way to switch up your routine so you don’t get bored, giving you a chance to climb mountains or descend gentle slopes without having to travel anywhere. You can also combine your speed and incline level in different ways to make the same workout feel brand new.
The Best Way To Use A Treadmill Incline
If you want to get the most out of all these benefits, there’s one easy solution: iFIT®. It’s how virtual training gets real, and all of our choices for the best incline treadmill have full iFIT compatibility.
iFIT gives you access to a constantly expanding library of workouts and programs, each led by a trainer who can show you the best ways to use your incline settings. In fact, our favorite treadmills work with iFIT SmartAdjust™, an auto incline feature that scales your settings to match your trainer’s. That means you can focus on the scenery or your form without having to worry about tapping the right buttons at the right times.
Here are just two examples of iFIT series that can help your incline treadmill take you to new heights:
Intro To Incline Training Series
This beginner series, led by iFIT Trainer Heather Jenson, gives you a chance to hike without leaving your house. You’ll experience different incline intervals as you enjoy a realistic hiking experience, all while Heather helps improve your form and get even more from your treadmill incline workout.
Alps Beginner Series
iFIT Trainer, John Peel, invites you to join an incredible Alps adventure. This six-week series offers short, low-intensity workouts that guide you through incline and interval training while immersing you in breathtaking scenery. If you want to explore France, Italy, Switzerland, and more, all while getting great exercise on your incline treadmill, this is the workout program for you.
Our Top Choices For The Best Incline Treadmill
When it comes to high-incline treadmill options, we’re big fans of NordicTrack. That’s not just because of NordicTrack+, which helps you get more from your iFIT membership, or the incredible lineup of NordicTrack incline trainers. It’s because this is one of the best treadmill brands with a consistent track record of quality, power, and comfort—which is why they’re at the top of our list.
Here are some of our favorite NordicTrack incline treadmills, plus a ProForm option we can’t help but love:
NordicTrack Elite Treadmill
With a 32” Smart HD touchscreen, innovative Google Maps™ technology (paid iFIT membership required), and full iFIT compatibility, it’s no wonder the NordicTrack Elite Treadmill is a shining star. Its ergonomic design makes it an excellent choice for a workout program, even if you aren’t quite ready to tackle its impressive speeds of up to 12 mph. It’s 300 lb. user capacity means it’s also sturdy and reliable.
While these features alone may be enough to win the Elite a spot in your home gym, we haven’t even touched on what makes it stand out from its competitors: the higher incline. (And when we say “higher,” we mean way higher!) This isn’t just a regular treadmill—it has an industry-best auto incline range of -5% to 40%.
If you’re looking for the best incline treadmill, we’re pretty sure you just found it.
NordicTrack Commercial X22i Treadmill
Sure, the Elite might be a hard act to follow—but the NordicTrack Commercial X22i deserves a place in the spotlight, too.
What makes the X22i a winner? We fell in love with its incline settings—an impressive -6% to 40%—and its customizable AutoAdjust™ technology. It also boasts dual fans, a 22” x 60” tread belt, and other comfort features that might just make your workouts feel like a walk in the park.
NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill
When it comes to the NordicTrack Commercial 1750, you don’t have to take our word for it. This machine has also received shoutouts from third parties—which means the workout world shares our fondness for the 12 mph maximum speed settings, 14” Smart HD touchscreen, and a host of other impressive features.
Of course, you’re here for the incline—and the Commercial 1750 doesn’t disappoint. With a range of -3% to 15%, you can use your automatic incline treadmill to simulate all the ups and downs of a hike or mountain climb.
ProForm Pro 9000
Although the ProForm Pro 9000 breaks our pattern of NordicTrack favorites, it’s well worth the departure. Like the NordicTrack incline treadmills, it’s fully iFIT compatible and even includes a free 30-day trial for new member purchases. Its 22” Smart HD touchscreen is a favorite here at Treadmill.com—in our experience, it fully immerses you in iFIT workouts and makes everyday walking feel like an adventure.
The Pro 9000 also offers an incline range of -3% to 12%. Along with its speed range of up to 12 mph, this makes the incline treadmill a solid choice our runners call “the perfect workout buddy.”
From NordicTrack treadmills with the benefit of NordicTrack+ to the ProForm Pro 9000 that we fell in love with, we’ve covered all our top picks for the best incline treadmill. Now, the rest is up to you. It’s important to choose a machine that fits your lifestyle and needs—that way, it can become a fun, effective addition to your workout routine.
Need a little extra help? Treadmill.com has you covered. Check out our buying guide for more information on speed, weight capacity, features, and incline settings.
iFIT memberships start at $15/mo. + tax, and auto-renew unless canceled in advance. Cancel at any time. Credit Card required for activation. Internet and Wi-Fi™ required.
This article is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Treadmill.com assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article. Always follow the safety precautions included in the owner’s manual of your fitness equipment.