Let’s make one thing clear: I am not a runner. I’ve always aspired to be one of those people long term, but I’ve accepted that’s just not who I am. I get bored in the first 5 minutes, even if I listen to a podcast or music. Enter: the 12-3-30 workout, made famous on TikTok and treadmills everywhere, which instead focuses on walking.
As for TikTok workouts, my immediate guess is that they’re just hyped for cosmetic purposes and not really effective. This is true for some, but not for all. The 12-3-30 workout has real fitness benefits.
When I had the opportunity to try the 12-3-30 workout — walking on the treadmill at an incline of 12 at 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes — I was intrigued. I had heard of it, but never tried it. I assumed the 12-3-30 workout would be a breeze because it’s while walking. I regularly run and walk on the treadmill, so how would that be any different? (VERY, but more on that in a second.)
I also stick to a low/flat incline when using a treadmill, especially if I’m running, and if I’m walking it’s never above four. I expected the 12-3-30 workout to be tough, but I had no major expectations for results. Here’s what happened after making it part of my routine for three weeks.
12-3-30: Set the treadmill to an incline of 12, change the speed to 3 miles per hour, and walk for 30 minutes. Complete 2-3 days per week. (I chose to do this for 21 days.)
Not only is this treadmill workout a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, but it’s also “good for activating multiple muscle groups in your legs,” says Haley Gott, CPT. (Your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, thank you very much!)
12-3-30 Form and Safety Tips
There are a few tips that I kept in mind when I started, as this exercise is not for everyone and it is not low impact. If you have lower back issues, this workout might not be the best option for you. “Walking on a steep incline can really make your lower back worse,” Gott says.
Avoid bending over. Pay close attention to your posture and engage your core throughout the workout.
If you have lower back, hip, knee or ankle issues, set the incline lower to begin with. The 12-3-30 workout can also lead to injury in people with hip, knee, or ankle problems. If you have trouble with any of the above body parts, start with a lower incline and work your way up, she recommends. “You can still challenge your cardio and your legs at a lower incline,” adds Gott.
Nor can you just set the treadmill and walk out of the area. You are going to want to pay attention to your body as you walk. “When we start to tire, our bodies naturally start to compensate,” Gott says. This means that your lower back or other muscles can help you complete the workout, which can lead to pain and injury. If you experience pain that differs from typical workout fatigue, take a break, stretch, and reduce the incline.
Don’t skip the post-workout stretch. Either way, Gott recommends a deep stretch after the routine “because you exhaust your legs for 30 minutes in exactly the same way.” She encourages doing the workout two to three days a week in addition to other types of workouts.
This content is imported from the survey. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.
My plan was to do this workout during my normal morning or early afternoon sessions, listening to a podcast or music while I walked. After each walk, I planned to do my usual strength training routine, focusing on one body part per day (core, arms, and legs).
Week 1: I focused on posture and proper form to get the best workout possible.
Thoughts I had during my first 12-3-30 session: It’s hard – and I can’t tell if it was because I’m physically exhausted or if it’s really that hard.
During the first week, I went for my normal 8am workout time. Even though it is a walking workout, I felt extremely tired before starting the workout and after.
Many different parts of the 12-3-30 practice were difficult. It was especially hard not holding onto the treadmill bars where I was able to apply pressure and make walking a little easier. However, I frequently removed my hands to change the difficulty level of the workout, and when I did, I felt the work mostly in my butt and glutes, and a bit in my core. As the coaches said, it was difficult to maintain an upright posture. I felt myself leaning forward a lot trying to counter the tilt. The first week was a real challenge for me, and I had two more to go.
Week 2: I created modifications to the routine for my body.
I switched to midday workouts, and it was much easier. I had more energy at noon and already felt myself getting stronger. I found that I could walk longer distances without the support of my hands resting on the treadmill handles. My back and trunk hurt less than in the first week.
Of course, I always wanted to change the difficulty level of the walk for different slices of minutes. So, I even found a way to make it an intermediate level workout. I placed my wrists on the treadmill handles instead of gripping them. This change in position gave me just enough support, while still feeling the burn in my legs and core.
My normal strength training routine after the 12-3-30 workout was much harder than usual. Whether I did additional exercises for the core, arms, or legs, I felt more tired after the 30-minute walking session. I could tell my heart and back were cooked.
Week 3: My body was exhausted, but the walk finally felt more comfortable.
Heading into my final week, I continued walking with varying difficulty ranges, depending on how I decided to hold the handles (or not) or position my hands. I continued to feel the exercise mostly in my butt and core. (Score!) I struggled to find a balance between engaging my core and protecting my lower back from pain.
A few days after I finished, my treadmill workout felt super easy.
When I returned to my normal treadmill running routine (12 minutes at 5 mph with no incline) it felt much easier. When I walked for the last eight minutes to recover, I felt like I was going downhill – so much so that I increased the incline to 2. This makes any type of treadmill run much easier, so I really need to increase my speed and/or tend to feel more work. Hello surprise results!
My Biggest Takeaways for Workout 12-3-20
1. Half an hour is a long, long time on the treadmill.
When I first took on this training task, I thought that 30 minutes would pass each time I practiced. (I’ve endured 90-minute sweat sessions on behalf of Carrie Underwood’s strong legs, so this should be a breeze.) But…it wasn’t. It was hard work even though I had saved podcasts to keep me entertained during the walk. Not getting bored doing the 12-3-30 workout was a challenge in itself, for me.
It was mental training with the stimulation of podcasts, so it could be a lot harder without any entertainment as a distraction. Removing stimulation could leave you feeling less tired in the long run. Or, go in the opposite direction and watch a movie or TV show, that might just make the time pass faster anyway.
2. You can modify almost anything.
Creating a modification doesn’t require professional help, and it’s not as difficult as you might think. I learned to listen to how my body felt and made adjustments based on that. It was a whole new type of training for me and I felt super hard at first, so letting my muscles signal when to push and when to adjust made a huge difference.
For example, by resting my hands on the handles of the treadmill instead of hinging them, I was able to find a happy medium pressure in the exercise. I got stronger and finally released my hands for a longer period of time. Adding the modification to the start also allowed me to see my fitness progress.
3. Training may not be for everyone, and that’s okay.
This was the most difficult for me to grasp. I’m so grateful to have a healthy body, and even though I don’t take it for granted, there’s a part of me that thinks I can still do anything without hurting myself. I have a history of overworking my lower back in dance class growing up, that’s when I felt the brunt of that workout and had to take a few days off. It was humbling, but it was the best decision and allowed me to recover enough to continue to challenge after the.
I also realized that this workout is better if the lower back is in really good shape. If not, there are modifications and options to start at a lower incline and work your way up to gradually add strength, like I did.
At the end of the line : The 12-3-30 workout was great for testing my physical and mental health and changing my usual routine. While I didn’t see major physical results, I made feel I myself was getting stronger week by week and I gained mental strength.
Addison Aloian (her) is an editorial assistant at women’s health. When she’s not writing about all things pop culture, health, beauty, and fashion, she loves hitting the gym, shopping at Trader Joe’s, and watching any hockey game. on the television. His work has also appeared in Seduce, StyleCaster, The USA Official, Magazine Vand Modern luxury media.
#workout #days #major #cardio #results