Date 28.02.2023

The popular 12-3-30 treadmill workout: does it work?

The popular 12-3-30 treadmill workout: does it work?

The 12-3-30 treadmill workout has taken TikTok and the fitness world by storm. Lauren Giraldo introduced the workout on YouTube in 2019, but it picked up popularity when Giraldo posted the workout on TikTok in November 2020. Since then, people of all fitness levels and ages have tried the low-impact cardio workout.

So what is the workout? Here are what the three numbers mean:

  • Set your treadmill to an incline of 12
  • Set your speed at 3 miles per hour (or 4.8 kmph)
  • Walk for 30 minutes

The 12-3-30 workout is the perfect workout for those who are not runners and cannot seem to get into running as their form of cardio. In general, exercise physiologists and running coaches agree that walking in general is a great form of lower-impact exercise.

There are numerous benefits of regularly walking at a brisk pace:

  • Strengthens your bones and muscles
  • Boosts your balance and coordination
  • Prevents or manages conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes
  • Improves stamina and mood

“I used to be so intimidated by the gym and it wasn’t motivating,” said Giraldo, “But now I go, I do this one thing, and I can feel good about myself.”

At healf, we believe that moving the body in a way that makes you feel good and healthy is foundational to overall well being. If you are looking for a workout to substitute for norming running, here are a few tips we’ve put together to optimize the 12-3-30 treadmill workout.

Tips for the 12-3-30 workout

As a low-impact but thorough cardio workout, the 12-3-30 workout works the muscles in your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, low back and calf muscles). Since the workout is very accessible for all fitness and age levels, here are some tips to go by when deciding if you wish to try this TikTok viral workout that users swear by.

Self-assess if the workout will be good for you to try

In general, the 12-3-30 treadmill workout is good for people of all ages and fitness levels since it’s low impact. It’s also great for those who find themselves sitting at a desk at work all day or are in need of a little extra movement. 

However, those who have any underlying health conditions including heart or joint issues should refrain from trying the workout. If you have recurring lower back pain, also be mindful of the workout as walking up that steep of an incline puts more pressure on your lower back. Try less intense variations first and see what feels good to your body before trying the 12-3-30 settings at the beginning.

Stretch before and afterwards

Walking briskly at a steep incline for as long as 30 minutes may feel more tiring and vigorous for most people, so it’s important to warm up your muscles beforehand to avoid any strains or injuries. The two muscle groups to pay attention to the most when stretching beforehand and foam-rolling afterwards are the hamstrings and calves. 

We recommend taking a good amount of time to stretch because the incline causes your muscles to work extra hard due to the extra gravitational pull and resistance. A study found that when you run on a 2 to 7 percent incline versus a flat surface, heart rate increases by almost 10 percent.

Incorporate other forms of exercise along with the 12-3-30 workout

Although some people do the 12-3-30 workout 5 days a week, we recommend only doing it 2 to 3 days a week. It’s important to incorporate other forms of exercise with cardio including strength and resistance training. The 12-3-30 workout compliments strength training well as it is a lower-impact workout that offsets lifting days. It will help keep you motivated and progressing without overloading. 

By incorporating variety into your workout routine, you can better develop and use different muscle groups. Workout routine variety also helps maintain motivation and decrease boredom. If you find yourself overly tired and sore from doing the 12-3-30 workout, take a rest day or try a different kind of workout. Overall, you should find a fitness routine that works well for you.


The 12-3-30 workout has become popular for a very good reason, but it’s important to find a way to incorporate the workout into your daily routine that works well for you. As a great alternative to normal running, the workout is the best way to get some cardio into your daily schedule.

If you want to try the 12-3-30 workout, here are some products that we recommend to help you get started:


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