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Treadmill Stride Rate, Incline and Speed: Learn how to focus your workout

Running Stride Rate

A good running stride rate is 85 to 95 single-leg strides per minute— 90 is ideal.

Shorter, faster strides allow you to run more efficiently with less impact on your joints.

To calculate your stride rate, use a stopwatch, watch with a second hand or other device to count the number of footfalls on your right foot for one minute. This number is your stride rate.

If your stride rate falls below 85, shorten your steps.

Try to increase your number of strides by two or three per minute each week until you are within the optimal range. This will allow your body to adjust to the new stride rate over time until it becomes your normal rate.

Speed vs. Incline

Get to know the benefits of varying your speed and incline to reach your fitness goals. Both options will help improve your endurance.

Because your body can adapt to a strength workout fairly quickly, and a significant increase in your aerobic fitness takes more time, you'll want to focus on cardio workouts most days, with power workouts about once a week.

Higher speed + lower incline = better cardio workout

Lower speed + higher incline = better power and strength workout

Warm Up

Whether you walk or run on a treadmill, always gently stretch or walk slowly for five or ten minutes to give your muscles a chance to warm up.

Walking Form

  • Hold your head up and keep your eyes level.
  • Stand straight but relaxed.
  • Bend your arms ninety degrees and swing them rhythmically, close to your body. Don't let your hands rise higher than mid-chest, or clench them in fists.

If you're walking, as the incline rises, don't lean into it. Stay upright.

When you increase speed, increase the number of your strides, not their length. And shorten strides as you increase the incline. Shorter, faster strides will allow you to walk more efficiently with less impact on your joints.

Running Form

  • For running, your feet should strike the ground at midfoot, with the knees bent, directly under your body—not reaching out in front.
  • Land lightly and quickly roll forward.
  • Keep your ankle flexed.
  • Your chest should be out, but you shouldn't lean forward, especially as the incline rises.
  • Bend your arms ninety degrees and swing them rhythmically, close to your body. Don't let your hands rise higher than mid-chest, or clench them in fists.

And when you increase speed, increase the number of your strides, not their length. And shorten strides as you increase the incline. Shorter, faster strides will allow you to walk more efficiently with less impact on your joints.