Treadmill Running Tips for Toning Your Thighs

Treadmill Running Tips for Toning Your Thighs

You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that the treadmill offers more variety than you think when it comes to toning your thighs and glutes.

Use these 6 treadmill exercise tips to firm and tone your thighs quickly:

1.Lunging routine

Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do lunges on the treadmill! Treadmill lunges can be far more taxing than regular ones, burning more calories and engaging more muscle groups in the legs and glutes. This isn’t a movement that should be performed at a high speed setting. Set the belt speed to the lowest or second-lowest setting and alternate from one leg to the other for 10 or 20 repetitions per side.

After 10 or 20 reps, consider that a “set” and jog for 5 or 10 minutes, then do another 10 or 20 lunges. Continue this for a half hour and you’re done! Alternatively, you can alternate between lunges, jogging, sprinting and the other movements described on this page. As you become more comfortable lunging, use different incline settings to add even more resistance.


Sprints engage every single muscle group in your lower and upper body. Sprinting has proven far-superior to jogging alone for increasing cardiovascular fitness and burning more calories in a shorter time period, which is essential for toning up those thighs quickly.

Much like the lunging routine described above, you want to alternate between sprinting and jogging/walking. After all, you can’t sprint full-out for 30 minutes or more, right?

The best and most sustainable way to get a good sprinting workout in is to sprint as quickly (and safely) as possible for 1 minute, then walk (approximately 3 – 5mph) for two minutes. As your fitness improves, begin to jog at a comfortable pace for the two minute interval. Increase your sprinting speed when you can.

3.Side Shuffle

Side shuffles target the inner adductor muscles on the inside of your thighs, along with the outer quads and abductor muscles on the outer part of the legs.

Do the side shuffle on your treadmill for a minute per side, switching back and forth. There’s no need to break this exercise up with walking or jogging intervals, unless you find them particularly taxing, but intervals are great to combine with the other exercises on this page to completely burn out your thighs!

4.Use a weighted vest

Adding a 10 or 20 pound vest on top of your bodyweight will definitely get all the muscle groups in your thighs and calves working harder. Studies have shown that the addition of a 20 pound vest can burn up to 15% more calories while exercising (source).

5.Walk backwards

Walking backwards on the treadmill targets the front of the thighs much more than any of the other movements described on this page. This movement will take some time for many of you to master, so start off slow and never turn the speed up to a level where balance becomes a challenge. If it feels too uncomfortable, skip this one. Safety first!


Every degree of incline beyond 2% begins to torch your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings considerably. Using the incline for extended periods also increases your calorie expenditure, so they’re a double win!

Alternate between 2 – 15%, using 2 – 5 minute intervals, lowering and increasing to varying incline settings throughout your workout to tax your thighs as much as possible.

Final thigh toning tip: ditch the handrails

Once you’ve finished warming up, handrails just take stress off your thighs. They should only be used if you’re a beginner or when making adjustments to the settings on your console.

Best wishes and good luck with your thigh-toning goals!