The 12-3-30 workout without a treadmill is possible if you make a few tweaks. You might have seen videos on TikTok and may be wondering how you can achieve the same results without a treadmill. Is it possible to do a workout that is similar to 12-3-30 at home or with other gym equipment?
Fortunately, the 12-3-30 workout without a treadmill has various alternatives. However, you must first understand what the workout entails before you can modify it to suit your needs. Before looking at different modifications, let’s first find out how to do the 12-3-30 exercise on a treadmill.
What is the 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout?
The 12-3-30 workout was started as a TikTok trend by influencer Lauren Giraldo in November 2020 (14). It requires you to do the following on a treadmill:
- Set the incline to 12%
- Set the speed at 3 mph
- Walk for 30 minutes
Walking on an incline increases the resistance that your hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes must work against. It is a moderate to vigorous cardio workout that can help tone the lower body. Incline walking is a lower-impact version than running and has the following benefits (5):
- Less stress on your joints
- Engaging the core muscles
- Reduced risk of pain or injury from high-impact activities
In addition, Dr. Prestipino told Forbes that you may experience the following health benefits (14):
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Toning the lower body
- Improving your mood
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How to Do 12-3-30 Correctly
It appears to be simple enough if you own a treadmill or have a gym membership. However, you’ll need to modify the 12-3-30 workout if you don’t have access to a treadmill. Fortunately, you can get the same benefits with variations. But first, let’s establish how to do the 12-3-30 workout correctly.
12-3-30 Workout Treadmill Explained
The 12-3-30 treadmill workout is the classic TikTok fitness trend. Lauren Giraldo’s original workout requires setting the incline at 12%, adjusting the speed of the treadmill to 3 mph, and walking for 30 minutes. However, it’s a steep start, pun intended.
Beginners shouldn’t push themselves beyond their comfort and fitness levels with the 12-3-30 workout (14). You should start the workout according to your endurance, stamina, and fitness. For example, you can start with a 2% incline and then increase this every week until you reach 12%.
How to Know You’re Doing the 12-3-30 Workout Correctly
Any machine or treadmill with a heart rate monitor can help you see whether or not you’re doing it right. The 12-3-30 workout should see you maintain a level two maximum heart rate throughout the session (14). A heart monitor constantly reads 60-70% of your MHR during the workout.
How can you calculate your MHR to ensure you sustain the correct number? It can be calculated using this equation: MHR = 220 – your age (10). For example, a 30-year-old has an MHR of 190, but 60-70% of that will be 114-133 bmp on the heart rate monitor.
12-3-30 in KM
How many kilometers do you walk on the 12-3-30 workout? The speed at which you walk is in miles per hour. Walking for 30 minutes should see you cover an average of 1.5 miles. One mile equals 1.609 kilometers, meaning that you would walk 2.4 km in half an hour. The distance you walk will determine how many calories you burn during the workout.
12-3-30 Calories Burned
Determining the calories you burn while walking is also dependent on age, gender, weight, and speed. The calorie calculator shows someone who weighs 150 pounds can burn 104 calories in 30 minutes when walking at 3 mph (2). At the same time, someone who weighs 180 pounds could burn 122 calories in the same conditions.
12-3-30 Results (One Month)
Forbes shared the story of a YouTuber who lost 15 pounds after doing the 12-3-30 workout 2-5 times each week for three months (14). The YouTuber lost approximately five pounds per month, which is in accordance with the recommended weight loss guidelines from the CDC (8). The safest way of losing weight is to lose 1-2 pounds weekly. However, weight loss will occur with healthy nutrition, calorie deficits, cardio, and strength training.
What Is the 12-3-30 Workout at Home?
The 12-3-30 workout without a treadmill at home is when you use exercises that target the same muscles while increasing the cardio benefits. Depending on your fitness level, you can do the 12-3-30 workout at home for beginners or a more advanced workout.
12-3-30 Workout Without Treadmill for Beginners
The 12-3-30 for beginners requires some tweaks. Beginners may not be able to last for 30 minutes. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you start with 10-minute sessions and gradually work up to 30 minutes (4). You should use exercises that target the leg muscles while adding cardio.
Start with a 10-minute session, adding 1-2 minutes every time you do the workout until you can manage 30 minutes. Men’s Health has the ideal leg day workout blend that welcomes cardio (13). You should perform each exercise for 30 seconds and rest for 30-60 seconds between sets:
- Bulgarian hip hinge to the left
- Bulgarian hip hinge to the right
- Bulgarian split squat to the left
- Bulgarian split squat to the right
- Regular squats
How to Do the 12-3-30 Workout Without a Treadmill at Home
The 12-3-30 workout without a treadmill at home requires a combination of cardio and lower-body toning exercises for 30 minutes. Perform 10-12 reps of these lower-body exercises that incorporate cardio vigorously for 30 minutes while allowing for 30-60 seconds of rest between sets (12):
- Jumping jacks
- Split squats
- Forward lunges
- Lateral lunges
- Reverse lunges
Other 12-3-30 Workout Without Treadmill Variations
The 12-3-30 workout without a treadmill is also simple with other gym equipment. But first, let’s see how you can achieve the same results by exploring nature. You’ll then see how you can perform the same workout type using other equipment.
The Simplest 12-3-30 Workout Without Treadmill
Incline walking is a lower-impact alternative to running (5) and you can perform this type of workout while walking moderately through your own neighborhood. An advantage of this is you can enjoy the fresh air while walking for 30 minutes at 3 mph uphill. Enjoy a nature workout in national parks or mountainous regions if you don’t live in an area with a suitable natural incline.
12-3-30 Cycling Equivalent
You can modify stationary cycling to the 12-3-30 workout to achieve similar results but you must match the intensity, cadence, and time. The famous TikTok workout recommends walking at 3 mph, which is the average speed for a brisk walk. At the same time, the average cycling speed is 50-60 rpm for beginners or occasional riders(11).
So, you should stick to a 50-60 rpm cadence for 30 minutes to complete a cycling experience that is similar to the 12-3-30 workout. Your resistance cycling level is dependent on your maximum heart rate (MHR). Stages Cycling says that an endurance workout will reach 60-70% of your MHR (10).
The 12-3-30 is a level-2 endurance workout that averages a 60-70% MHR throughout (14). Therefore, you can determine your bike’s intensity level setting by trying to keep your MHR within that range. For example, the correct intensity will keep a 36-year-old’s MHR at 119 during the workout.
In summary, the cycling equivalent is 50-60 rpm for 30 minutes on an intensity setting that maintains a heart rate at 60-70% of your MHR. You should adjust the intensity levels to keep your heart rate in the correct MHR zone to match the 12-3-30 workout perfectly on a bike.
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Can You Do 12-3-30 on a Spin Bike?
Spin bikes recreate the intensity of an outdoor cycling session and offer more resistance settings than a stationary bike (3). You can use a spin bike by following the same principles as a stationary indoor bike for the 12-3-30 workout. However, increased resistance levels may help you better achieve and sustain the right MHR.
12-3-30 Elliptical Equivalent
Alternative gym equipment for the 12-30-30 workout means using similar settings for the same period. Some elliptical machines have inclines. In this case, you can change the incline to the highest level while setting the resistance to three and exercising for 30 minutes.
Alternatively, a good elliptical machine has a heart rate monitor that can help you adjust the MHR to match the 12-3-30 workout (6). Play with the resistance level until you achieve the desired 60-70% MHR before exercising on the elliptical for 30 minutes (14). You’ll use higher resistance levels in order to accomplish the MHR without an incline.
For More Running Alternatives and Advice
What is a substitute for 12-3-30 Workout?
A similar FitTok trend tones the lower body while giving you a vigorous cardio workout. The 25-7-2 workout is a close substitute you can perform using a StairMaster. Simply set it to level seven and work out for 25 minutes twice a week (7).
Can I just do 12-3-30 and lose weight?
No, successful weight loss requires three key factors. The CDC recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week, with two resistance training days for optimal health and weight loss. Maintaining a calorie deficit is the key to successful weight loss (9). The 12-3-30 workout is focused on toning the leg muscles and providing a cardiovascular workout. However, for a comprehensive program, it is recommended that you also include whole-body strength training and an appropriate calorie deficit.
What will happen if I do 12-3-30 every day?
You may overwork your muscles with a daily 12-3-30 workout. The CDC suggests cardio can be performed up to five days a week (9). However, this workout uses a steep incline that targets the hamstrings, glutes, and quads (14). Research has found that it takes muscles 48 hours to return to their baseline before you should work them out again (1).
The Bottom Line
The 12-3-30 workout without a treadmill has many variations that can be performed at home or the gym. You should determine how you want to modify the trending FitTok experience to start burning calories while toning those leg muscles and then, you can start your gradual progression as a beginner, or test your endurance with advanced options.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A Series of Studies – A Practical Protocol for Testing Muscular Endurance Recovery (2003, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Calories Burned Calculator (n.d., calculator.net)
- Exercise Bikes vs. Spin and Indoor Cycle Bikes: Choosing the Right One for Your Home Gym (n.d., cathe.com)
- Fitness Program: 5 Steps to Get Started (2021, mayoclinic.org)
- Here Is Why You Should Add Incline Walking Into Your Life Routine (2022, betterme.world)
- How to Choose a Home Elliptical Machine (2021, webmd.com)
- I Tried the 25-7-2 StairMaster Workout Everyday for a Week, and This Is What Happened (2023, womenshealthmag.com)
- Losing Weight: Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity 2023, cdc.gov)
- Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight (2023, cdc.gov)
- Power vs. Heart Rate: Which Is Better? (2023, stagescycling.com)
- The Average Exercise Bike Pedaling Speed | Livestrong (n.d., livestrong.com)
- The Best Lower-Body Workouts | U.S. News (2023, health.usnews.com)
- The Leg-Day Workout That Counts as Cardio, Too (2016, menshealth.com)
- What Is the 12-3-30 Workout? – Forbes Health (2023, forbes.com)