12-3-30 Treadmill Workout Pros & Cons

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Last Updated: July 6, 2023

The 12-3-30 treadmill workout is a workout making its rounds on social media. You might have even seen people doing it at your local gym. So, what is it, and does it have benefits? Is it for you or is it just another random TikTok workout?

If you aren’t familiar with the 12-3-30 workout, here’s what it’s about. Social media influencer, and Youtuber, Lauren Giraldo, created the workout that she says helped her lose 30 pounds.

The 12-3-30 treadmill workout is where you set the incline on your treadmill to a 12% incline at 3 mph and walk for 30 minutes. The treadmill stays at that incline and speed for the duration of the workout.

12-3-30 Treadmill Workout

Treadmills aren’t only meant for running. Walking is a great way to get in shape. We’re big fans of low-intensity steady-state cardio, just check out the benefits, here. However, before you jump on the 12-3-30 trend, here are the pros and cons and some things to consider.

Pros Of The 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout
  • It’s a low-impact cardio workout.
  • Since it involves walking, most people can do it, although not everyone which I’ll get into below.
  • Most treadmills with this high of an incline can handle this level of use. (Check out these if you’re looking for one!)
  • Your posterior muscles will burn and it can help strengthen your lower body.
  • There is a possibility that it could help with weight loss. (More on this later.)
  • It can help strengthen your cardiovascular system and improve your overall fitness, as well as aid in other areas of your health like sleep, blood pressure, and general wellness. (It is exercise after all!)
  • It could help you get in the recommended daily amount of exercise.
  • If you hate high-intensity cardio workouts, this could be a better alternative.

Cons Of The 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout
  • It’s repetitive. Walking at that level of an incline for a long period of time could result in over-using certain muscles.
  • This workout isn’t for everyone. While it is accessible to a lot of people, the exact workout metrics might not be realistic for some people. Walking at a 12% grade for 30 minutes could be too long and too steep. 3 mph could be too fast for some people to keep a consistent pace.
  • It puts pressure on your lower back.
  • You might get bored which could result in less of a desire to work out and be active.

Is The 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout Right For You?

If you’ve ever cranked your treadmill’s incline up to 12%, then you know that it’s harder than it looks! While the 12-3-30 workout is said to put you at a walking pace, it’s not exactly easy. If you’re new to exercise, or getting back into it after some time off, you will probably need to adjust the metrics a little bit. 12% might be too steep and 30 minutes might be too long. The ultimate goal of this workout is to increase your heart rate to a moderate level. Since it’s steady-state cardio that keeps you at a consistent low to medium pace, your heart rate shouldn’t be at its max during this workout.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is where you push at a hard, if not an all-out max, effort for a short period of time followed by a period of rest at a lower effort to let your heart rate come down. 12-3-30 isn’t meant to be a high-intensity workout, so if this incline level, speed, and pace are too much for you, then it’s important to listen to your body and modify it accordingly. Something like a 5-2.5-15 might be a better alternative for you. Doing this 5 days a week might not be practical either. So, this could be something that you do only 1-3 days a week, and that is totally fine.

I don’t think that this should be the only form of exercise that you’re doing, as Giraldo claims is hers. Walking on a treadmill at an incline engages your posterior muscles definitely, but it can also put stress on your lower back, especially if your core isn’t engaged and you don’t have a good posture. If you were to just do the 12-3-30 as your form of exercise, it could lead to over-using certain muscles. This could make you more prone to injuries.

With that said, I think adding in the 12-3-30 (or whatever variation of it works for you) is a great idea if you’re wanting to add some low-impact steady-state cardio into your routine.

Will The 12-3-30 Help Me Lose Weight?

There are many factors that go into weight loss. Diet, exercise, lifestyle, and overall health all come into play when trying to lose weight. There isn’t one workout that can guarantee it. However, the 12-3-30 workout burns calories which could help with weight and fat loss. I just wouldn’t rely on it alone to get you to your goal weight.

There have also been claims that this workout can grow your glutes. While your glutes will definitely be engaged and most likely burning after a few minutes or so during this workout, strength, and resistance exercises that target the glutes are a better bet for growing and strengthening these muscles. Also, it’s important to make sure you consume enough protein throughout the day, too.

Bottom Line: 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout

While the 12-3-30 is a trending workout on social media, it does have some benefits. It’s important to modify it if you need, to fit your fitness level. I also recommend adding this to your workout routine along with other forms of exercise, instead of just doing this workout. Doing the 12-3-30 too often could lead to stress on your lower back and overusing certain muscles. It also could lead to boredom, if you don’t like zoning out while you exercise.

Like other forms of exercise, you can see similar benefits from the 12-3-30. It could help with weight loss, but diet, lifestyle, and overall health are other important factors to consider if this is your goal.

Overall, walking, in general, is great for our health. This workout definitely takes it up a notch with the incline, but I am here for it as a good steady-state cardio workout. Let us know in the comments, have you tried the 12-3-30 treadmill workout?