The best cardio machine for HIIT is the one in which you can do the greatest variety of routines, while including impact.

The best cardio machine for HIIT is one in which all levels can reap rewards — including the abs you’ve always wanted.

It is the treadmill.

The treadmill not only provides impact, but for those for whom impact is not a smart idea, the treadmill can also provide a softer strike by slowly walking a steep incline.

The best machine for HIIT is definitely the treadmill because of the many permutations that can be done on it.

You can walk, skip and jump, as well as jog, run and sprint. You can go forwards or backwards, even sideways. And of course, you can add the incline.

Another reason that the treadmill is the best cardio machine for HIIT is because it most closely mimics real-life movement.


HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, and the truest definition of this form of training is alternating about 30 seconds of your hardest, most strenuous effort, with 2-4 minutes of a casual recovery pace.

The reason the intensity interval lasts no more than 30 seconds is because this is the time frame, 30 seconds or less, in which a person can sustain their absolute hardest effort.

If you can sustain a pace for longer than 30 seconds, then it isn’t your absolute all-out effort.

An example would be a 13 mph run on the treadmill. You may only be able to sustain this for 18 seconds.

This would be a great intensity interval. If you can run 13 mph for 38 seconds, then this would not be the most effective training interval.

What you would need to do is increase the speed of the treadmill, or add an incline, so that within 30 seconds, you have totally run out of steam and are left feeling hammered.

Some people believe that the best machine for HIIT is the stationary bike, because it is gentler on the joints, and if you have knee issues or plantar fasciitis, I recommend the stationary bike.

But for the average, “healthy” person, I say that the treadmill is the best machine for HIIT.

However, another great piece of equipment for high intensity interval training is the revolving staircase and the “Treadclimber.”

I explain to my clients why holding onto these machines, as well as the treadmill, is wrong, takes work away from the large muscle groups, is a bad cheating habit, and should only be done when you check heart rate or turn around momentarily, to prevent falling.

Otherwise, hands should be free, arms moving in unison with your lower body, the way you would be moving if walking, jogging, running, stepping or hill climbing outdoors.

Ultimately, the best cardio machine for HIIT is the one that you look forward to using the most.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


Top image: Shutterstock/George Rudy