Find out how you can combine high intensity interval training while using your treadmill desk for computer work.

I have done interval training while doing computer work on my treadmill desk, and I’m going to explain how HIIT is possible on this device while doing computer activity.

“Interval training” (not the high intensity kind) consists of brief efforts of a moderate level to a medium-high level alternating with easier segments.

Your treadmill desk may have a max speed of only 4 mph.

However, it may have an incline that goes up to 15 percent. A high incline is how you can achieve high intensity.

If you’re not in great shape, even a moderate incline will get your heart really pumping.

DO NOT HOLD ON during the work intervals, whether they’re in the HIIT range or “interval training” range.

How to do HIIT on a Treadmill Desk

Whether you can achieve a HIIT range or only an interval training range, here is what you do:

Set the machine at the highest incline.

Set the speed at slow enough where you can actually do computer work and are only minimally exerting yourself.

Every time the clock’s minute time on your computer (after you’ve warmed up) hits a multiple of five, increase the speed enough so that it’s difficult to maintain at the incline for 30 seconds.

After 30 seconds return to the baseline very slow speed to recharge.

Alternate this way for 30 to 45 minutes.

This is just an example. The working intervals don’t have to come every five minutes exactly. In fact, you can base your alternations on how you feel rather than the clock.

But bear in mind that basing your alternations on how you feel may cause you to take longer-than-necessary recovery intervals.

When it’s time to increase the speed, you stop doing your computer work.

If you can still conduct computer work during the work interval, it’s not challenging enough. Either increase the speed or the incline.

If you catch yourself continuing to read celebrity gossip or emails while doing your work interval — again, it’s not hard enough.

Should You Hold onto the Machine?

There is no reason whatsoever to clutch onto the rails or anywhere else on the treadmill desk while performing the work interval. Otherwise, you defeat the entire purpose!

In fact, do not hold on even during the recovery segment.

If your arms or hands must make contact with the unit in order to conduct computer activity, that’s perfectly fine.

But when it’s time to just read, there’s no reason to hold on.

What about longer work intervals?

If keeping track of when 30 seconds are up is too tedious, then do one-minute intervals.

Again, if you can perform computer tasks, even if it’s just reading and no keyboard/mouse activity, during that work interval, you’re not exercising hard enough for a truly effective interval training session.

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.