Your Health Questions Answered

What is the '12-3-30' Treadmill Workout Everyone Is Raving About?

We over the pros and cons of a viral workout with a Sarasota personal trainer.

By Allison Forsyth June 8, 2022

Treadmill Workout

Image: Kari Perrin

Treadmill workouts can seem boring, but they don’t have to be. One workout that’s trending on TikTok, called the "12-3-30," is super easy to follow and even fun. The concept is simple: set the treadmill to an incline of 12 and speed of three, then walk it out for 30 minutes.

The workout was created by social media influencer Lauren Giraldo after she decided to get back in shape. She was intimidated by the gym, and not much of a runner, but felt like the treadmill was the easiest and least intimidating place to start. The 12-3-30 workout helped her ease back into exercise. She eventually lost 30 pounds.

@kelsgracefit easier version of the 12/3/30 treadmill workout for beginners! modify to your fitness level 💖 #12330 #treadmillworkout #treadmill #beginnerworkout ♬ Do We Have A Problem? - Nicki Minaj & Lil Baby

 Many other people have tried 12-3-30 and can’t get enough. But is this workout actually good? Does it produce results? On The Go Therapy Services in Sarasota has some tips from their website about why workouts like 12-3-30 can be beneficial.

Does the workout actually work?

Walking at a fast pace regularly strengthens your bones and muscles, and helps reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. The incline is more intense than the average treadmill walk, making it an even more effective exercise. The added incline offers resistance and helps tone muscles in the hamstrings, glutes and hips. Your heart will start pumping harder,s too, making it a great cardiovascular exercise.

This makes it a pretty effective exercise method overall.

How often should you do the 12-3-30 workout?

While Giraldo does it fives times per week, it’s probably best to start off slow, especially if you are new or returning to exercise. Try once or twice a week at lower settings and shorter duration and work your way up. If you complete a walking regimen every day for 30 minutes, however, you are completing the Physical Activity Guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control.

What are the pros to treadmill workouts like 12-3-30?

When you make it creative, you can have a lot of fun on the treadmill. Other popular trends have been walking to the beat of popular songs, like the Taylor Swift Treadmill Strut workout, which include about five different-paced songs by Swift. There are also HIIT versions of treadmill workouts—where you run or jog for 30 seconds to one minute and then walk for one to two minutes. This pattern is repeatable and produces results.

Besides having fun, you’ll also get exercise that is low impact on the joints, a controlled environment where it’s easy to track your progress and pace, and tone muscles while improving heart health at the same time.

What are the cons to treadmill workouts like 12-3-30?

There is still a chance that you could experience some joint discomfort or pain from running and walking on the treadmill. Walking on an incline as steep 12 can cause overuse injuries in the lower back, hip flexors and hamstrings if not careful and properly stretched.

And while you can tone muscles, you can’t necessarily increase muscle mass from treadmill workouts. This would require a combination of strength training exercises like lifting weights or body weight exercise such as squats, lunges, push ups, sit ups and more.

There is still a chance you could get bored, too—so try watching  TV or a movie while walking and maybe even purchasing a treadmill for your house to avoid boredom.

Are there other risks to the 12-3-30 workout? 

While it’s generally safe for those who are already in good health, there are some factors to consider when getting started. Slowly work your way up to the full 30 minutes or full incline. This is not a workout you should just jump into.

Cardone says anytime someone begins or changes a workout or adds something like an incline, they have to follow the rule to do it slowly, otherwise they are at a significant risk for overuse injuries.

How can you get started?

Customize the treadmill’s settings to meet your needs. Work up the 12 incline setting.

On the Go Therapy suggests focusing on improving strength in other areas when you are taking rest days.

Leave a day to recover between each workout. Stretch legs daily.

Track progress over time to see if the 12-3-30 workout is effective.

Cross-train with other low impact workouts like elliptical training or swimming.

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