Is the 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout Worth the Hype?

Photo by Intenza Fitness on Unsplash

The 12-3-30 workout was coined by 24-year-old social media maven and YouTuber Lauren Giraldo. It consists of setting a treadmill to a 12% incline and walking at 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes and no running. If you’ve scrolled social media recently, you’ve probably seen someone raving about the “12-3-30” workout. The hashtag #12330 now has over 145 million views on TikTok, and thousands of fans give it a whirl every day. But is it worth the hype? Let’s find out.

Low Impact

This workout is a solid pick for people who can’t do high-impact activities like running, but still want a more vigorous routine. It is gentle on the joints and suitable for various fitness levels. Unlike high-impact exercises that involve forceful movements, it minimize stress on the joints and reduces the risk of injury.

Builds Lower Body Strength

Another benefit of incline walking is that it can activate several muscles in your lower body, including your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Also, it can increase stability in your leg muscles, which boosts joint health and mobility in your hips, knees, and ankles.

Helps Improve Cardiovascular Fitness

12-30-3 increases heart rate and improves blood circulation and oxygen supply throughout the body. This boosts endurance, enhances lung capacity, and lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, ultimately leading to a healthier and fitter body.

Burns Calories

When you walk at an incline compared to flat ground, there’s more gravity resistance trying to pull you back down, and your muscles—particularly the muscles in your butt and the backs of your legs—have to work extra hard to overcome that added force. As a result, your heart will automatically work harder, burning more calories.

Any Drawbacks?

Depending on your fitness goals, there may be a better workout for you than the 12-3-30. That’s because it doesn’t increase strength or improve flexibility, two key components for overall fitness.

Giraldo claims to do the 12-3-30 five days a week with no other exercise. While this is good for cardiovascular health, it misses out on the many benefits of strength training and overall mobility. 

While the 12-3-30 is a healthy cardio routine to do from time to time, it should be paired with other types of training. Doing it as your sole form of exercise could lead to injury, and it won’t necessarily build muscle or increase flexibility.