This low-impact cardio routine is Kylie Jenner-approved.
Let’s face it, intense cardio isn’t always the vibe. Some people can wake up in the early morning and jog 10 miles, while others can’t be bothered to go on a long, boring run. It’s important to move your body and strengthen your cardiovascular system on a regular basis, but you first need to find a workout that’s enjoyable to you. A low-impact cardio workout that’s always trending on TikTok is the 12-3-30 treadmill routine, and it’s proof that you can still attain major results and benefits just by walking uphill. It’s a full-body burn that helps to tone muscles and raise your heart rate, and only takes 30 minutes to complete. Here’s how to do the 12-3-30 treadmill workout and modifications you can try, depending on your fitness level.
This treadmill workout is now a household name, but it was originally posted by influencer Lauren Giraldo, who’s sworn by it since she started her fitness journey back in 2019. In a YouTube video, she shared that the more and more she followed this treadmill formula, she “started feeling really good and confident,” with a motivating feeling of accomplishment. For a year straight, the consistent challenge became a baseline to her gym routine, where she would hit the treadmill as many times a week as possible, and occasionally add on strength training moves like weighted squats, lunges, or leg presses.
Today, it’s so viral that you’ll find hundreds of TikTok testimonials singing the praises of 12-3-30 and sharing their results. In 2022, Giraldo even spotted Kylie Jenner following the routine from a workout pic she posted to her Instagram story. Jenner shared her version of the routine in the caption: “30 mins a day!!! 12 incline 3.2 speed and then jog at the end as long as I can!” This workout is a fool-proof way to incorporate a realistic challenge to your fitness routine. It’s kind of like taking a “hot girl walk,” but in the gym. And, with the right walking playlist from TikTok, you can bust out into your best runway walk.
What Is The 12-3-30 Workout?
12-3-30 is an an easy way to remember a specific treadmill setting and duration. It refers to a 12% incline at 3 miles per hour (adjust to kilometers per hour if you don’t live in the U.S.), for a brisk 30-minute uphill walk. The low-impact workout is a slow build, and you might be surprised at how challenging it is. By the end of the 30 minutes, you’ll notice your heart rate has spiked and you’ll probably break a sweat. The TikTok challenge prompts you to repeat the routine fives times per week, for a total of 150 active minutes.
One of the best parts about this treadmill routine is that you’re not running in a jog or a sprint, so, as long as you’re focused on your form and balance, you can spend those 30 minutes catching up on shows or even scrolling TikTok on your phone. It’s a great method for people who find indoor cardio machines monotonous and benefit from having distractions to pass the time. Afterwards, you can follow-up the cardio workout with strength training mat exercises, tend to your muscles on gym machines, or cool down with some yoga.
@bodybybrookeb on TikTok demonstrated the proper form for 12-3-30, so that you don’t strain the wrong muscles and you’re able to get the most impact from the short workout. She shows that you should not lean back as you walk with your hands gripped to the top of the machine handles. This is because it will minimize the incline and essentially flatten your walking surface. Instead, drop your arms to your sides and walk forward, as if you were scaling a hill IRL. This will relieve tension from your arms and shoulders, and engage your abs for bonus core toning.
For just 30 minutes on the treadmill, you can actually receive a lot of physical benefits. Because the low-impact routine is a slow burn, after a few weeks of consistency, you’ll gently build lower body strength and improve in cardiovascular fitness. According to Women’s Health, 12-3-30 is also easy on the joints, strengthens bones, and may improve overall balance and stamina.
How To Modify The 12-3-30 Workout
Even though this is a walking workout, that doesn’t mean it’s not designed to be difficult. If you’re not used to this kind of cardio, it may feel overwhelming when you first try it out, so consider this beginner-friendly variation posted by TikToker @kelsgracefit. You’ll still walk at a 3 miles per hour speed setting, but do the first 15 minutes at a 2.5% incline, rather than 12%. Then, for the second half of the workout, you’ll up the incline to 8.5%. You can increase the intensity every time you hit the treadmill, as you get stronger and improve stamina.
If you’re an avid cardio bunny, 12-3-30 may feel mild for you, so @its2021and shared a “spicy version” to make it a little harder. It includes ramping up the last five minutes of the workout to a 4.5 mile per hour speed setting or higher, which will bring you to a comfortable jog. After you hit minute 25, you’ll finish the workout with an extra 12 minutes as you reduce in incline. So, from minutes 25-26, stay at the 12% incline, then progressively reduce it down by one point, at 11% for minutes 26-27, then 10% at minutes 27-28. Maintain your pace down-hill, until you reduce down to a 0% incline. @its2021and loves this method because the first 25 minutes at the standard pace will warm up your body and get it to begin burning calories without overworking it. Then, you’ll finish with a blast of intensity to release pent-up energy, tons of endorphins, and really challenge your cardiovascular fitness.