Incline Walking for Fat Loss: Does It Really Work?

Written by Noleen Arendse

Does it feel like losing weight is an uphill battle? Incline walking for fat loss can help you burn more calories and reach your weight loss goals. Plus, regular incline walking along with a healthy diet can help keep it off.

Discover the top 5 benefits of incline walking and try our three easy workouts to lose those extra pounds. 

Incline walking for fat loss

Contents

Incline walking for fat loss - will it help you burn more fat?

Walking regularly is a great low-impact exercise that can help you improve your overall fitness, and maintain a healthy weight. It’s also great for stress management and your mental health.

Incline walking takes regular walking to the next level by adding an extra challenge to your workout. But does incline walking for fat loss really work?

The short answer is yes. If you’ve climbed a few hills, you’ll know that it’s more tiring to walk uphill than on a flat.

For weight loss, that’s good news! The more energy it takes to climb a hill means that you’ll burn more calories which can help you lose fat. 

How many extra calories do you burn with incline walking?

There are a number of factors that can influence how many calories you burn while walking. This includes your weight, height, walking speed and the duration that you’re walking for. 

Generally, walking on an incline burns about 58% more calories than on a flat surface. However, this will depend on the incline and other factors.

To get an approximation, have a look at the table below of the calories burned by a 155-pound (70kg) person on different inclines. 

Activity Calories Burned
Walking on Flat Surface (0% incline) 267
Walking on Incline (5% grade) 352
Walking on Incline (10% grade) 422
Walking on Incline (15% grade) 492
Walking on Incline (20% grade) 562
Walking on Incline (25% grade) 632

The steeper the incline, the more calories will be burned. A 25% grade incline burns about 137% more calories than walking on a flat surface. But keep in mind, that to maintain the speed, you’ll have to be quite fit! 

As an extra bonus, incline walking for fat loss also builds muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn while resting. If you have a healthy diet and monitor how many calories you eat, then burning a few extra calories by upping the incline will help with the fat loss. Need some workout inspiration? 

Top 5 benefits of incline walking

Here are some of the main benefits of incline walking to get you motivated to add an incline on your next walk. 

You burn more calories walking on an incline

Even though we’ve already covered this benefit, it deserves another mention. After all, burning more calories than you consume is the underlying reason behind fat loss. If your diet is already in a slight deficit, then burning more can only speed up your progress! 

If you only have a limited time to walk, boost your calorie burning by increasing the incline on your treadmill or heading for the hills. 

Incline walking is good for your heart

The extra effort required to walk uphill increases your heart rate and strengthens your heart and lungs — which is an excellent cardiovascular workout. 

Regular cardiovascular exercise can help improve overall cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Walking on an incline increases your endurance

Incline walking can be challenging because of the effort it takes. However, it’s a great way for you to build your endurance. Gradually increase your speed and incline to increase your cardiovascular fitness and build endurance.

Incline walking builds muscle

Walking uphill targets and engages your glutes, hamstrings and calves more than walking on a flat surface. Having strong leg muscles not only helps you burn more calories but also supports the rest of your posture and can help prevent back pain and other injuries. 

 Also, the more muscle mass you have — the more calories you will burn at rest — making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Walking on an incline is good for your joints

If you walk on a flat surface, especially hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete, you can experience stress on your joints. Incline walking reduces the impact on your joints, which makes it an ideal low-impact activity that’s gentle on your ankles, knees and hips. 

Incline walking for fat loss — treadmill workouts

Before starting any exercise regime, it’s important to check in with your healthcare provider before you start, especially if you have a health condition. 

You can checkout our favorite treadmill that we use for automated incline training runs in the NoblePro treadmill review. Here are three simple incline walking for fat loss programs that you can do on a treadmill. 

Beginners program — incline walking for fat loss

StageInstructions
Warm-upWalk on a flat surface for 5-10 minutes.
WorkoutWalk at a comfortable speed on a 2% incline for 10 minutes. Increase the incline to 4% for 5 minutes. Decrease the incline to 2% and walk for 5 minutes. Repeat this cycle for 30 minutes.
Cool-downWalk on a flat surface for 5-10 minutes.

Intermediate program — incline walking for fat loss

StageInstructions
Warm-upWalk on a flat surface for 5-10 minutes.
WorkoutWalk at a comfortable speed on a 4% incline for 10 minutes. Increase the incline to 6% for 5 minutes. Increase the incline to 8% for 5 minutes. Decrease the incline to 4% and walk for 5 minutes. Increase the incline to 6% for 5 minutes. Increase the incline to 8% for 5 minutes. Decrease the incline to 4% and walk for 5 minutes. Repeat this cycle for 45 minutes.
Cool-downWalk on a flat surface for 5-10 minutes.

Advanced program — incline walking for fat loss

StageInstructions
Warm-upWalk on a flat surface for 5-10 minutes.
WorkoutWalk at a comfortable speed on an 8% incline for 10 minutes. Increase the incline to 10% for 5 minutes. Increase the incline to 12% for 5 minutes. Increase the incline to 15% for 5 minutes. Decrease the incline to 12% and walk for 5 minutes. Decrease the incline to 10% for 5 minutes. Decrease the incline to 8% and walk for 5 minutes. Repeat this cycle for 60 minutes.
Cool-downWalk on a flat surface for 5-10 minutes.

Top tips for walking on an incline for fat loss

Here are our top tips to get the most out of incline walking for fat loss:

  • Start with shorter times and build up gradually
  • Warm-up and cool down
  • Monitor your heart rate, speed and calories burned
  • Try different gradients
  • Try HIIT sessions – 40 seconds fast, 20 seconds slower
  • Pump those arms! Don’t use the handrails
  • Lastly, get some music going and enjoy the workout!

FAQs

Aim to walk at least 30 minutes every day on an incline for at least 5 days. Remember to warm up and cool down. Start gradually with 10 minutes and slowly increase your time. This will help prevent stiffness.

Although walking on an incline won’t target lower belly fat, it can definitely help you burn more calories which will influence your fat loss everywhere. Keep in mind that diet is key – to lose fat you need to be in a calorie deficit which means you have to burn more calories than you’re eating.

The best incline to lose weight is between 4 and 15%. This will depend on your treadmill’s incline settings as some do have levels as opposed to percentage. In general, if the incline is angled between 6 to 15 degrees up from the ground, the incline will help you to burn more calories.

If you are wanting to lose weight, then walking for 30 minutes on an incline can help. You can also walk for longer once you’ve built up your fitness and endurance.

Incline walking is a great way to help with fat loss. It’s an effective way to burn more calories during your training as well as build muscle and endurance.

Summary

  • Incline walking burns more calories that can help with fat loss
  • For best results, make sure your diet is healthy and balanced to help you lose weight
  • Start gradually and build up your speed, incline and time

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