best treadmill workouts 15 minutes

Oh, if only we could tack an extra hour on to every day. Those extra sixty minutes would without a doubt answer the age-old question of how to possibly get everything done and still be home in time for dinner. An extra hour would surely get us fitter faster, stronger, swifter and healthy more hastily…or would it?

Hard-core fitness pros have been known to choose quality over quantity in their everyday workouts – and thankfully, more and more of us mere mortals are finally starting to catch on. Hours of slaving away at the gym is now being seen as a thing of the past, and many experts are touting the benefits of shorter, more efficient workouts that can fit into any schedule. These quick routines not only improve our bodies in record time, but can also make us more productive at work, more loving at home, and more fulfilled way after we leave the gym. We’ve been hard at work testing this theory out, and all evidence points to proof positive: less is more!

To start off, we’ve thrown together five cardio sets that burn serious calories and can be done on the treadmill in only fifteen minutes. 9-5 getting you down? Pop into your neighborhood fitness facility for a lunch-break quickie, and be showered and out with time to spare. We recommend a couple minutes of brisk walking beforehand, especially if you’ve been sitting all day. Ready? Let’s run!

5 Treadmill Workouts In 15 Minutes

How hard do I work?

Easy: a pace or incline you could do for an extended period of time; easy to talk, easy to breathe only through your nose and sweat isn’t coming so quickly.
Moderate: a pace or incline that feels like work; talking is starting to get a bit tougher and you’re breaking a sweat.
Hard: a pace or incline that definitely feels strenuous; talking is difficult and you need to breathe through both your nose and mouth. You’re definitely sweating!
Breathless: a pace or incline that cannot be sustained for much more than a minute at a time; talking is impossible and you’re going to need a towel handy!

Routine 1:
Intervalactic Interval Run

Find an incline of 0-1
1 minute easy pace to warm up (walk or run)
2 minutes moderate to hard pace to finish warm up
1 minute 6 mph – moderate run
1 minute 7 mph – hard run
1 minute 8 mph – extra-hard run
Repeat set of 6-7-8 three more times

Routine 2:
Slow-Growing Endurance Run

Find an incline of 0-1
1 minute easy pace to warm up (walk or run)
Every two minutes, increase your speed by .5 mph until you hit 15 minutes.
Note: In our test run, we went from 6.0 all the way to 9.0, but do what works best for you!

Routine 3:
Fast-Track Time Trial Run

Find an incline of 0-1
1 minute easy pace to warm up (walk or run)
3 minutes running at a moderate to hard pace
3 minutes running at a hard to extra-hard pace
1 minute easy pace to recover
0.10 mile time trials – Look at your distance on the treadmill. In your head, add 0.10 to your current distance. This new number is your goal. Set a timer on your watch or phone and when you are ready, press start, sprinting at a breathless pace until you reach the the new distance you calculated. Recover for 30 seconds to one full minute, and repeat until you hit the 15 minute mark, each time trying to beat your last speed. Our favorite when we’re feeling like a challenge!

Routine 4:
Incline Up! Run

Find an incline of 0-1
1 minute easy to moderate pace to warm up
1 minute moderate to hard pace at a 3.0 incline to get excited
12 minutes (six sets) alternating between a 4.0 incline and 8.0 incline a moderate to hard pace, one minute each (i.e. 6mph speed at 4.0 for one minute, 6mph speed at 8.0 for one minute, repeat, and so on)
1 minute extra hard speed, lowering the incline all the way back down to 0-1. Your buns will love you.

Routine 5:
15 x 15 Run

Find an incline of  0-1
30 seconds easy pace to warm up
30 seconds hard to extra-hard pace 
Deep breath…Repeat 14 more times, 30 seconds at an easy recovery, 30 seconds at an extra-hard to breathless sprint. Or for the incline-hungry, perform the exact same routine, yet adjust the incline back and forth instead of the speed, maintaining a moderate to hard pace the entire time. Say goodbye to that second cup of coffee – this is the only energy boost you’ll need!

No matter which routine you choose, remember that the best workouts are also the smartest and safest. Listen to your body, and take the levels listed in each of these treadmill workouts as a guideline for what’s best for you. If something doesn’t feel right, scale back or stop. The ability to listen to your body is a strength, not a weakness. Now that’s how you make strides!

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