T Nation

Incline Walking? How Fast, How Far?

I’m thinking of using incline walking instead of running for my cardio source, since that seems to be the suggested source on these forums. What sort of parameters do you guys use for this; i.e. what speed, what incline, and for how long?

Thanks!

What makes you think incline WALKING can be cardio? Just because there is an incline you are still walking…IMO normal cardio would be better?

I used incline running to try and develop my calves…

I usually do 3 mph at a 15 degree incline for anywhere from 15-30 minutes. When the weather is nicer, there are some good hills around here that I’ll hike while wearing an X-Vest.

Cardio should never be easy, comfortable, etc. Use an elliptical or cross trainer.

When I’m mixing in some incline treadmill, I’m walking fast (3.5 speed) at an incline of anywhere between 10-14.

Agreed with G_B though, when I’m taking cardio seriously it’s plenty of jumprope sessions and 120yd sprints on a local highschool’s fieldturf. Then again, I prob only have these options because I’m not carrying around 225+ lbs of LBM.

EDIT - added last sentence

[quote]chillain wrote:
When I’m mixing in some incline treadmill, I’ll be walking fast (3.5 speed) at a incline of anywhere between 10-14.

Agreed with G_B though, when I’m taking cardio seriously it’s plenty of jumprope sessions and 120yd sprints on a local highschool’s fieldturf.

[/quote]

hm I had seen some people here talking about it as a cardio alternative that reduced catabolic states…not true?

I do 20-30 minutes at 3.0-3.3 and 12-13 incline. For me, that is much more challenging than running at 7.0 on flat ground for comprable time.

Any endurance activity can be catabolic. Long distance running probably takes the cake in that sense. So incline walking, which doesn’t stress the cardiovascular system in such a purely endurance way would be much less catabolic.

But that’s being picky. In reality, if you tone it down and don’t overdo it, any form of energy systems work will do just fine.

Heck, many bodybuilders used to run several miles a day.

hmmmm

My goal right now is to bulk up a good bit, but I don’t want to lose the cardiovascular shape that I’ve achieved. I thought incline walking would be a way to keep this, and reduce the catabolic effect of cardio

Like some on this thread I used to think incline walking was bullshit. But I finally tried it and when you are at 10-15 degree, 3-4mph, for 30-60 min, it gets your heart and a sweat going just as well as flat running but doesn’t feel nearly as taxing on your whole body. I think its especially important when you are really hitting the weights hard.

Incline walking is more compatible with bodybuilding than other forms of steady-state activity. It’s not as hard as running, but that’s the whole point. Running sacrifices muscular gains to produce a much higher degree of aerobic fitness than a bodybuilder needs.

Incline walking kills a few hundred calories, promotes an ADEQUATE degree of cardiovascular fitness, and won’t destroy your muscular gains. 30 minutes a day of incline walking won’t turn you into a cardio monster, but it will allow you to do whatever you need to do during the day without losing your breath, burn 10-15 pounds worth of calories in a year, and have health benefits. And it won’t kill your joints or your muscles.

Right now because of ankle issues I only do 3.0 - 3.2 mph with a level 1-2 incline for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Normally I would do 3.5 - 4.0 mph speed. I am on a fat loss cycle right now.

[quote]AngryVader wrote:
I usually do 3 mph at a 15 degree incline for anywhere from 15-30 minutes. When the weather is nicer, there are some good hills around here that I’ll hike while wearing an X-Vest.[/quote]

x2

[quote]belligerent wrote:
Incline walking is more compatible with bodybuilding than other forms of steady-state activity. It’s not as hard as running, but that’s the whole point. Running sacrifices muscular gains to produce a much higher degree of aerobic fitness than a bodybuilder needs.

Incline walking kills a few hundred calories, promotes an ADEQUATE degree of cardiovascular fitness, and won’t destroy your muscular gains. 30 minutes a day of incline walking won’t turn you into a cardio monster, but it will allow you to do whatever you need to do during the day without losing your breath, burn 10-15 pounds worth of calories in a year, and have health benefits. And it won’t kill your joints or your muscles.[/quote]

So you would do it every day? I was thinking in the 2-3 times per week range. Still adequate?

2-3 times per week is fine. It’s less good than 4-5 times per week, but still beneficial.

Like a couple of other guys I quit running years ago because it was too catabolic for me when trying to make gains. I also felt it use to jolt my joints more from the constant pounding. I also prefer walking on an incline 3.0 mph and start off at 10 degrees and finish of at 15. When cutting I’ll work up to 45 min session 4-6 times a week depending on how lean I wanna be. When looking for strength gains I barely do any at all cause it really kills my squat strength. If you’r trying to bulk I wouldn’t do more than 20 mins three times a week. But then again its individaul, some pople can get a away with a lot more, others like me can’t. Experiment and see how you feel.

The first time I heard of this was from a trainer back in Virginia Beach. She said start at 6.0 incline at 3.0 mph for 30 min.
when you can do it no sweat, increase the speed. when you can do 3.5mph for 30 min then jack the incline to 7.0 and start over at 3.0 mph. I hear it from a local guy who runs the nutrisport here in San Diego too.

I wound up tearing my labrum on deployment and had nothing to do but cardio and would spend up to 90 min on the treadmill and start at 9.0 incline, 3.5mph and just mess with the incline, all the way up to 15. I wore a 2 liter camelback and sucked it dry.
Good ways to make it fun are bring the incline up every 5-10min and then back down like a pyramid, or wave load it(ramp up, back down, then ramp higher than before)
The hard part is when you get to really high inclines it is hard not to hold on to the handrails or head unit on the treadmill, but makes it a whole lot harder if you can avoid it.
I still do it for cardio and throw it in on the tail end of weights, 30 min or so. usually level 10-11 at 3.5-3.7mph. and then a 60min session on off days (currently cutting).
One other piece of advice is if you do it excessively, for long periods (60min at a time), at high inclines (10+), without days off, you can develop shin splints (or at least I did 7 years ago on deployment).
It is without a doubt my favorite.
I can bang out 1000calories in an hour anytime if I want to at a weight of 219 and 40y.o.