Learning to step in sync on a treadmill

Learning to step in sync on a treadmill

(Read the entire blog post and then print out this handy tip sheet to take with you on the treadmill)

Start with treadmill walking

The treadmill is the easiest place to learn to walk, jog or run in sync with Counterpace guidance because you have control over both your speed and incline at all times (or course you can learn to use Counterpace without a treadmill but it does make it easier!) A treadmill simplifies the task of matching your HR to a comfortable step rate at different speeds or effort levels.

Make sure you can hear the guidance

Begin by making sure you can hear the audible guidance from the app. We recommend headphones to ensure you can hear the app and timing prompt (beat) over the noise of the treadmill or a gym environment. Select “Treadmill” and tap start in the Counterpace app.

Begin walking slowly

Start the treadmill at a very slow walk - try 2 miles per hour - and your heart rate and step rate will soon appear on the screen. (if you don’t see a heart rate, make sure the strap is moist and in direct contact with your skin.) To get into sync, you need to match your heart rate to your step rate.

Increase incline to raise heart rate

Assuming your heart rate is BELOW your step rate, begin increasing the incline to raise your heart rate towards your step rate. Once you are stepping to the beat, if your steps feel too long, increase the incline, so that your heart rate rises, until your stride length is comfortable. If you are very fit you may need to raise the incline to the treadmill’s maximum level.

Focus on the beat

When your heart rate is close to your step rate, you will begin to hear the audible guidance from the Counterpace app. Once the prompt begins playing, focus on stepping precisely to the beat. When you find the rhythm, the app will announce that you are in sync.

Adjust to step naturally

If your heart rate continues to increase and your steps feel too short or choppy, then you will need to reduce the incline to lower your heart rate (you can also increase the treadmill’s speed - see the next section). As your heart rate lowers you will increase.

If you find your heart rate is dropping and you must take uncomfortably long steps, then you want to increase your incline to get to a higher heart rate. When your heart rate increases you will be able to take shorter steps.


Raise speed and effort

Once you get really comfortable at 2 mph and you're in sync, we recommend trying to increase the speed and effort a little bit. For example, you might increase to 2.5 mph and increase the incline slightly, if necessary, to raise your heart rate a bit higher.

Once you’re comfortable walking, you can continue to increase the incline. So let's say that you're at 3 mph, which for many is a brisk walk. You can slowly increase the incline until your step rate and your heart rate rise - this means your steps will need to be shorter and faster. If you continue increasing speed and incline, you will eventually get to the point where the step rate feels too high for walking. When this happens, may find it more comfortable to begin jogging.

Jogging and running

When you begin jogging, you may experience awkward, loping steps as you try stay in sync. As your heart rate continues to rise, your steps will shorten and begin to feel more natural.

As your steps become shorter and more natural, you can slowly decrease the incline so that a comfortable step rate and effort are maintained. This change to jogging might be a little challenging at first, but with practice, you should eventually be able to stay in sync throughout the entire transition, if desired.

Sync guide for different exercises


To raise HR,
to work harder,
or to speed up steps
To lower HR,
to work less,
or to slow down steps
Treadmill walk
or run
raise incline
&/or increase track speed
lower incline
&/or decrease track speed
Elliptical increase resistance lower resistance
Stair Stepper (pedal style only) lower resistance raise resistance

Outdoor walk
or run

lengthen stride
consider accessories:
- a short sprint to raise HR
- ankle or hand weights
- walking poles
shorten stride

1 comment

Apr 30, 2020 • Posted by Gymsportz Fitness

Great blog! The steps mentioned will surely help a beginner to get in sync with the treadmill.

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