HIIT on other machines than treadmill - curious of what others do and use

  • Howdy : )

    I have always done my cardio HIIT on the treadmill.  I do this as you set the pace and have no option but to go at that pace.  I would like to try a different machine, but im thinking on a bike or running outdoors or what have you, you kind of have to set the pace and keep at that speed, the road or bike or whatever, wont just keep turning as does the treadmill.  I know i could watch the speed on the machine and 'try' to keep at that per min, but it would prob go up and down etc.. how do other people do this and get it right as such??? also, if i wanted to run outside, how do others 'know' at what speed to be going?  Sorry, i hope im making sense, early here and im posting before going to do upper body.

    : )


  • Hi Spinney,

    Since I have a rebuilt knee, I can only walk on the treadmill, which is why I use an elliptical machine.  I can raise or lower the resistance easily, increase or decrease the speed for intensity and there are pre-programmed choices you can choose.  For me,  it allows me to sweat and keep a low impact workout on my knee.  I have found it to be an excellent cardio workout.  If you haven't tried one, I would recommend it highly.  Hope that helps!


  • My greatest fat losses came from doing HIIT on the elliptical.

    Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right ~ Henry Ford

    Michelle Simpson ~2009 Body-for-LIFE Champion 46+ Catagory

  • I can't do the treadmill with an all-out sprint unless I revive an injury, which is why I am keeping the treadmill at one week, alternating it with the bike for one week, elliptical one week, rowing machine one week, and so on.

    Courage isn't lack of fear. It's our ability to carry on despite our fear

  • I know what you mean, the treadmill is one of the few machines where you HAVE to go the speed you set it at or you will fly off!  Hey, have you tried the stepper machine or the escalator-type? those also give you the same discipline. If you don't go to speed, you'll hit bottom.

    otherwise on the other machines, I jot down what speeds/inclines/resistance levels I do for each level of 6, 7, 8, and 9 on a post-it note stuck to the machine.  I go along thinking, 'ok, this feels like a 7' or something like that.  then try to match those speeds for each cycle.

    And I do HIIT running outside.  It's impossible to gauge my speed, but I just go with the feel.  For me  a 6 is walking fast to catch my breath.  A 7 is slow jog, 8 is faster, and 9 is hard.  It's too hard to keep glancing down at my watch each minute, so I pick a landmark that looks to be about 1 minute away so I know when to change to next intensity level.  For my 10, I go as fast as I can to a certain landmark, then try to surpass that landmark!  I usually feel like my blood has drained to my feet and i'm almost going to fall over, but still in control.

    oh, and skipping rope is a popular choice for HIIT, I haven't tried it yet. Watch a clock and count how many you can do, change the intensity each minute.  I see some people count to 2000, I don't know if they're taking breaks or what, but I don't think I could keep concentration long enough to even count to 200, let alone 2000.

  • oh and I alternate machines too like Ruby.  But I like to alternate each and every time, not by weeks.  my knees can't handle 3 jogs in 1 week.

  • Run up and down stairs in my apt building

    Soft sand runs at the beach

    Sprints on a treadmill at 10 degree incline

    Elliptical using arms and leg action

    Elliptical using only legs (after LBWO I cannot do this)



    Skip rope


    I went out walking through the city center, it happened just the other day. Sometimes Sydney Harbor in the winter, blows a little luck my way.

  • Thanks Dogsbrekky, all great ideas.  I was more so wondering how you keep at a certain level on diff cardio.  On the treadmill, you set the pace and the treadmill will just keep going at that speed so you have to keep going.. thats why i pick it.  On a cycle, for example, i would think it would be difficult to set the speed and keep at that speed, if you get my drift.  If it wasnt winter and freezing id be keen to get out on the road for some HIIT running, i was thinking maybe power walk for like 10 lamp posts, jog 10, sprint 10 or something.

  • Thankfully I'm blessed with where i live to run pretty much anywhere.. out doors or in the gym I use an app on my phone to track my HIIT runs it uses my GPS on my phone to tell me speed distance covered.. and I can even set the voice feedback to update my speed or distance or a combination everyminute.. (no staring at watches) listen for the voice and u know another minute has passed. The best part is after your done you can see a gps map of your route.. and also a bar graph of the entire time you ran showing the various speeds you held each minute.. I don't mean to sound like an ad but that's how i try and track my runs off the treadmill

  • I find that on my cycle (I have an American made cruiser with no gears), I have trouble differentiating cause I don't feel I hit 10s or even 9's easily ... so I rarely do that... and find it so easy to rest.. hence less distress hence worse for HITS

    FOR ALL EXERCISES I USE HEART RATE and my level of distress to judge levels

    In my apartment building in NYC we have an amazing gym (new) with very high tech treadmill, elliptical and bikes but I find if I do treadmill at zero angle I have to run so hard that is hurts my legs...

    e.g. On zero degree incline on the treadmill, a 680 calorie burn is about 7mph.... on a 10 degree incline 7mph is around 1300 calorie.... I get my heart rate way up there on the 10 degree inclines so my speeds for that are

    Resting heart = 64-68

    5's (10 degrees) - 3.4  mph,  heart = 68 up to 95

    6's (10) - 3.7 (fast walk), heart after rep 1 = 135-142

    7's (10) - 4.7 (jog), heart = 135 - 149

    8's (10) - 5.2 (run), heart = 145-158

    9's (10) - 5.8 (fast run), heart = 155 - 170

    10's (10) - 6.8 to 7 mph (exhaustion run), heart = 165-187 (usually keep under 174 which is 100% max for my age)..

    On the elliptical (I get mega distressed using this bloody machine), I use a  5 degree incline (so all legs muscles working) and then vary the levels and speeds to get the near above heart rates

    5's = level 5, revs to get heart rate to 100 in 2 minutes

    6's = level 5, revs above 60 pm heart to 120 on 1st rep

    7's = level 7, revs above 65 pm, heart to 130s by end 1st rep, makes it to 140s 2nd rep etc

    8's = level 8, revs above 70 pm, heart to 152 by 2nd rep

    9's = level 9, revs above 75 pm, heart to 162 by 2nd rep, up to 167 by 4th rep

    10 = level 12, revs above 75 pm, heart maxxing out near 170-175

    On the elliptical I am totally stuffed and after minute 4, I am distressed the whole time

    Running outside = I start with a fast walk for 2 minutes, then 6's are a jog, 7's are a fast jog, 8's are a run, 9's are a sprint and 10's are exhaustion sprints..

    Stairs - I think are the best exercise, they HURT me the most

    5's go slowly up 3 flights, then down 3 flights for 2 minutes

    6's go slowly up flights for 20 secs, down quickly for 40 sec

    7's go quicker up etc for 30 secs, down for 30 sec

    8's, go up flights for 40 secs, down for 20

    9's run up flights for 1 minute

    10s (if you are still alive), sprint up for 1 minute

    On rep 2, run down for 6's so you are at lower levels etc....

    Swimming - I just do different strokes for different levels at different speeds.... My 10's are full speed "Aussie crawl", 6's-7's are breastroke, 9's are butterfly


    Indoor Cycle - I use different load levels (our bikes can simulate hills etc) so I do gradual hill climbs with different speeds and loads.. I find I burn less with this than any other HITS


    Spinney - running when the body is COLD (distressed) is the best cause you burn off so many more calories etc... sadly for me being from a very hot place is that anything in NY under 32 makes me physically ill......... so in winter, the stairs are a great exercise

    I went out walking through the city center, it happened just the other day. Sometimes Sydney Harbor in the winter, blows a little luck my way.

  • Optigirl.. that's a good idea! I can alternate every time, not by week. Hmmmm what was I thinking lol. I have ITBS. I can barely do stairs in daily life. They have the escalator type machine in my gym. I only ever see the very same two people use it.

    Courage isn't lack of fear. It's our ability to carry on despite our fear

  • Elliptical has been my "go to", bread & butter for fat burning.  I used fixed resistance and incline, but vary the speed, or rpm.  Don't monitor distance or total steps, but rather the rate, in rpm or cycles / minutes.  I change the rate to achieve the 5/6/7/8/9/10 levels for HIIT.  It works incredibly well.

    Even though C1 took me to an optimal weight for leanness, it still took me another year of intense LB lifting to get legs strong enough for the TM.  I love the TM, and vary the speed to get the HIIT levels, always running it in manual. 

    Whenever conditions are ideal, I run for 20 - 30 minutes outdoors.  It is the purest form of cardio, in my humble opinion.

    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • Elliptical seems to be a fav round here and my flatmate has one here in my house!  fantastic! come tuesday i will give it a go.. i will have a play with it today - thanks all : )