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Will High-Incline Treadmills Help Or Hurt Leg Bulk?

Long story short, my wife is looking to add a treadmill to the home gym. I’ve been hesitant to invest in one, but she has convinced me that we need to do more cardio than we currently do.

So the question here is if we got an incline trainer, and I jacked the thing up as high as it could go, would that still tone/slim down my calves like with most treadmill running? Or would it possibly bulk them up?

https://www.nordictrack.com/treadmills/x22i-incline-trainer is the one I’ve looked into because it talks about a 40% incline which sounds pretty damn hard to do after a few minutes. The hope here is it could at the very least maintain my legs bulk without compromising it. Anybody with any experience out there on something similar?

Thanks in advance

Word of caution, I got one of these models and it broke the second time I used it, and from my research they have high failure rates when using them at high elevation.

With that said, I “returned” it when it broke, but nordictrak didn’t want to spend the money to have it shipped back to them so I got the thing for free. I had it repaired by an independent repair shop and it’s worked fine, but I don’t exceed 10 degree elevation.

Guy I work with uses a stair climber and one of those never ending ladder set up things and loves them. If you’re doing it right I wouldn’t imagine being able to be on them long enough to see muscle disappear but I honestly have no idea.

Thanks for the advice John. I’ll keep that in mind. And a stair climber would be good too, but I think my wife is more interested in having something for running when the winter months come back.

High incline treadmill work will hit the calves more than a regular treadmill, so I definitely wouldn’t expect calf size to reduce. You’ll lose bodyfat, which should make things smaller overall, but in terms of spot-reducing calves… that’s not really a thing.

That’s a monster machine and likely overkill for home use. You should be able to find a quality treadmill that’s significantly less expensive and just as useful even if it “only” inclines to 12-15%.

Remember that the goal is to not be holding the handrails during incline work, so the standard incline is plenty for the overwhelming majority of people.

That’s not likely from just cardio unless you’re doing hard sprints and not basic walking. Muscle preservation will come from high intensity work, preferably weight training.

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Makes sense. Thanks for the feedback Chris

Nordic Track

Nordic Track is owned by ICON Fitness. ICON is one of the largest fitness companies in the business; I work in the fitness equipment sales business.

ICON sells low end fitness equipment. Most of the equipment they sell is at places like Walmart.

In the fitness equipment business, ICON products are termed as “Disposable” products. That because the cost to repair them is more than it is to replace them.


That is why when John wanted to return his when it broke, Nordic Track told him to keep it. It was NOT worth the cost of shipping it back to Nordic Track.

ICON Brands To Avoid

Gold’s Gym
Jillian Michaels’ Body Shop
Nordic Track

Kenny Croxdale