by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
The 12-3-30 workout has got a ton of attention across social media platforms since health and beauty influencer Lauren Giraldo first posted a video of the fitness routine on YouTube back in 2019. Over the last three years, there have been many variations of the 12-3-30 workout that have gotten billions of views on TikTok.
The 12-3-30 workout is a treadmill-based cardio workout that focuses on burning calories, losing weight, and growing your glutes. Overall, it boosts your fitness and cardiovascular health.
In this article, we will discuss everything about the popular 12-3-30 workout, so you can determine if it’s something you want to give a try.
Disclaimer: It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before trying any workout program to ensure you are healthy enough to do so and to ensure you don’t have any restrictions that would get aggravated by engaging in the workout.
What is the 12-3-30 Workout?
The numbers in the 12-3-30 workout focus on different aspects of the workout’s features. This workout lasts for 30 minutes on a treadmill, walking at an incline of 12, and a speed setting of 3 miles per hour. While the workout may be easy to remember and perform, you have to remember that the incline grading system differs from one treadmill to another, as some treadmills may not go up to 12.
To adapt the workout for your treadmill, preferences, or fitness level, set the speed at a walking pace that is challenging for you and provides enough incline. The 12-3-30 workout aims to get your heart rate up without running. The incline is the main component of the workout, along with the moderately paced walking at a speed of 3 miles per hour.
Benefits of the 12-3-30 Workout
The 12-30-30 workout claims to mix two elements of physical fitness — cardio and muscle toning. This combination leads to various health and wellness benefits, such as being able to help improve cardiovascular health, build lower body strength, improve mood, and more.
Let’s look at some of the important benefits you can experience by using the 12-3-30 workout.
1. Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
The 12-3-30 workout is a form of cardiovascular exercise, as it can improve your heart health by keeping your heart rate elevated for an extended duration. Once your heart rate is elevated to a moderate level, it stays at the same level while you continue performing the exercise.
Keep in mind that depending on your individual fitness level, your heart rate will respond to this workout, so it may be higher or lower than the moderate level.
2. May build lower body strength and muscle
The 12-3-30 workout is a simple, short, and effective workout that will help you build some lower-body strength and muscle. Resistance training is suggested as the most effective muscle-building activity, but it’s not uncommon for those who perform the 12-3-30 workout to also build lower body muscle and improve strength.
When you walk at an incline, you activate the lower body muscles, such as the hamstrings, quads, hips, and glutes. The 12-3-30 workout can help build stability in your leg muscles and improves your joint health.
3. Burn more calories and helps in weight loss
Any cardio exercise increases your daily energy expenditure, but incline walking boosts the intensity of your walk and increases your heart rate, which pushes your body into the fat-burning zone.
The number of calories you’ll burn via incline walking depends on many factors, such as your age, weight, and fitness level.
According to a 2012 study, it was found that energy expenditure increased on average by 17% on a 5% incline and by 32% on a 10% incline.
4. May improve mood
Regular exercise can improve your mood as your body releases “feel good” endorphins when you work out.
In the same way, the 12-3-30 workout may help improve your mood and can be beneficial for various mental health conditions. This happens because it increases your heart rate, so blood flow increases throughout your body, which also improves brain function. This means that it helps improve cognitive abilities, which can help improve memory as well as learning capabilities.
5. Low-impact workout
If you are searching for a joint-friendly low-impact cardiovascular workout, then the 12-3-30 workout is for you. Whether you are a runner or not, performing low-impact forms of training can help decrease overuse injuries while still getting the benefits of a cardio workout.
The 12-3-30 workout is a fast and efficient workout, which only requires access to a treadmill. It is considered a low-impact workout as it does not involve any jumping, running, or twisting motions. It is gentle on the joints of your lower extremity, such as the knees and hips, which are some of the most injury-prone areas.
If you have joint pain or face difficulty performing high-impact cardiovascular exercises, the 12-3-30 workout uses incline, not speed. Therefore, this workout helps get your heart rate up without triggering any issues.