One of the things at the gym that drives me crazy is seeing people (not to be sexist but it's almost always women) on a fully inclined treadmill, jogging or speed-walking at a fast pace, and holding onto the bar for dear life! They look like they're water skiing behind a boat, wearing out their arms & back more than their legs.
That's cheating, and it really bugs me. Last spring I spent a lot of time on those fully-inclined treadmills, so I can tell you first hand how hard that is. I was training for a triathlon which was going to have lots of steep hills, and I wanted to be prepared. I could usually keep the pace between 3.0 and 3.5 - any faster and it would burn me up. And I was in GREAT shape at the time. I would be drenched in sweat, with my calves ready to explode, and trying to think of anything else except the pain my legs & lungs were in.
To see these women skiing themselves uphill at a significantly faster pace than I could do, while they're talking to each other & enjoying themselves, just doesn't add up.
If you're trying to burn extra calories by walking uphill, walk uphill! Using a tow-rope isn't burning calories. Heck, why not just wear Heely's & roll yourself evern faster?
The same holds true for any other activity. It's one thing to use every advantage possible when you're being rewarded for your results. But when you're goal is self improvement, you're only cheating yourself when you cheat.