The fitness world is not immune from social media trends. Once in a while, a new exercise, like the 12-3-30 treadmill incline workout, takes gym fanatics’ feeds by storm. The question is, does it work?

The 12-3-30 workout combines cardio and muscle activation in one go, making it excellent for cardiovascular health and weight management. Also, walking uphill is not an easy feat, which is perfect for improving your stamina. It’s a low-impact exercise that most people will enjoy doing.

However, like any treadmill exercise, the 12-3-30 is not free from risks.

Keep reading to learn more about this viral workout and how you should incorporate it into your fitness routine.

What is the 12-3-30 Treadmill Incline Workout?

Social media influencer Lauren Giraldo introduced the 12-3-30 workout in 2019.

But it only gained significant traction after she posted it on TikTok in late 2020.

So, how do you do it? It works by setting your treadmill at a 12% incline and 3 mph speed, then walking for 30 minutes – hence, the name 12-3-30.

Lauren said this workout helped her lose 16 kg (30 lbs) and build up her gym motivation.

I think the charm of this exercise is its recall and straightforward design. When a workout is not complex, anyone will like to try it.

Also, as a low-intensity, steady-state (LISS) type of exercise, the 12-3-30 treadmill incline workout suits most fitness levels.

What are the Benefits of the 12-3-30 Workout?

The most crucial question to address here is what you will get if you try this exercise.

How effective is the 12-3-30 treadmill workout in achieving your fitness goals?

This workout is mainly a treadmill walking exercise. And while most see walking as a moderate activity, walking is good for health.

Adding a 12% incline also turns this low-impact exercise into a more vigorous activity.

Compared with walking on a flat surface, an uphill walk puts more muscles to work since you’re exercising against gravity.

Working more muscles, in turn, increases your heart rate and caloric burn considerably.

According to Lauren’s TikTok video, she does her 12-3-30 treadmill incline workout five times a week.

That means her weekly 150-minute moderate-to-intense routine meets the activity requirement for adults.

Doing this exercise regularly then leads to these health benefits.

Benefits of the 12-3-30 Exercise

Improved Stamina

Walking uphill for 30 minutes sounds easy, but people who’ve tried it can attest that it is not.

And that’s because this exercise can get your heart rate up. Plus, the addition of the muscle workout will surely test your endurance.

Weight Loss

Any physical activity can help you burn calories, especially with a good diet. But what makes 12-3-30 a better option for others is its low-impact nature.

Doing it allows you to lose weight without too much body strain.

That means it encourages workout consistency because of better and faster body recovery.

Its enhanced muscle activation also results in continuous caloric burn post-workout.

Better Cardio Health

Maintaining a healthy weight through exercise contributes to good cardiovascular fitness.

In the long run, it also lowers your risk of cardio diseases.

And an aerobic activity such as the 12-3-30 treadmill workout is one way to counter sedentary lifestyles.

What are the Downsides of the 12-3-30 Treadmill Incline Workout?

The 12-3-30 workout may sound like a magic fitness formula made for everyone.

But like other workouts, it is not a cure-all for your fitness needs.

Also, it poses potential risks, especially if you do not prepare your body for it. Here are some of its drawbacks that you should know.

Higher Risks of Muscle Pain

Walking on a steep incline can strain your lower back. It also puts a lot of stress on your calves and hamstrings.

And this is why it’s crucial to assess your body before doing this workout.

While it is low impact, you need strong enough leg and core muscles to do this regularly.

Moreover, you must not have any existing knee or ankle problems. Otherwise, repetitive walking exercises can aggravate your condition.

Preparing your body, particularly your legs, beforehand is absolute to avoid soreness or pain.

Lacks Upper Body Movement

Like most treadmill workouts, the lack of upper body action is a problem with the 12-3-30 routine.

It only means that you still need to add other exercises to your fitness plan for balanced results.

One good tip is to combine your treadmill walks with strength or resistance training.

This additional exercise can target your upper body muscles and boost workout diversity.

Workout Boredom

Walking indoors at a fixed speed and incline may not be challenging enough for some people.

Monotonous exercise can also lessen interest over time, affecting workout consistency.

It also doesn’t provide the same benefits as a workout with varying speed and incline levels would.

Also, repetitive exercise movements put you at risk of overuse injury and the dreaded fitness plateau.

Downsides of the 12-3-30 Exercise

How is the 12-3-30 Treadmill Incline Workout Done?

Despite the drawbacks, we cannot discount the benefits of doing the 12-3-30 workout.

Moreover, there are ways how you can ease yourself into it without putting your body at risk.

Here’s how to do it safely.

1. Start walking more.

Begin by incorporating a daily 30-minute walking routine on flat terrain. This exercise should make your lower-body muscles strong enough for walking uphill.

You can do this for about 2 to 3 weeks or until you no longer feel pain after your walk. While you’re at it, make sure to practice the correct walking technique, too.

2. Incorporate low inclines.

Instead of doing 12% right off the bat, start with 3-4%. Give your body time to adjust before trying steeper inclines.

You can progress every week by adding an incline about 10% higher than your last.

However, if you’re experiencing pain, shift to a lower incline level and stay there until you’re ready to level up.

Note that you should be at a treadmill speed and incline level that doesn’t sacrifice the proper walking form.

Otherwise, you won’t get the maximum benefits of the exercise.

3. Try doing the 12-3-30 treadmill exercise.

First, warm up by brisk walking on the treadmill for 5 minutes.

Then, adjust the speed level to 3 mph and an incline level at 12%, and start walking uphill for 30 minutes.

Finish the workout by walking on the treadmill for 5 minutes at 0% incline.

If you think your body is not ready for a full 30-minute workout, cut it by half in your first week.

Then, add 5 minutes weekly until you reach the 30-minute mark.

Complement this workout with a strength training plan to optimise fitness benefits without overloading your body.


Most of the time, people focus only on achieving their fitness goals and then lose sight of the actual journey.

And I think this makes the 12-3-30 workout effective for Lauren Giraldo and others who’ve tried it — they enjoy doing it.

Workouts, after all, should be something we like doing consistently. Otherwise, they won’t work.

The 12-3-30 treadmill incline workout is easy to remember and doable with only one cardio machine. And consistently doing it results in several benefits.

Its steady-state moves may not be for everybody.

But if you love straightforward exercises that combine cardio and muscle toning, give this workout a try.

Complement it with other exercises you like, particularly those that involve your upper body, to avoid monotony.

Also, check out my list of top treadmills and find the perfect model for your 12-3-30 workout routine.

How-to 12-3-30 Treadmill Australia Incline Workout

1. What other treadmill workouts help with fat loss?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) on the treadmill is ideal for fat loss. This exercise involves short, intense exercise followed by brief periods of rest. With faster pace intervals, you’ll boost your heart rate, optimise oxygen utilisation and encourage higher caloric burn. As HIIT workouts use varying exercise speeds and duration, you can avoid fitness plateaus for continuous weight and fat loss.

2. How long should I run on a treadmill to get abs?

Running on a treadmill for 30 minutes five days a week can lead to weight loss. When you complement this routine with consistency and a balanced diet, your belly will naturally shrink within 4 to 6 weeks. Once you achieve a healthy weight, you can switch to more targeted treadmill exercises for a more defined midsection.