TikTok treadmill trend: troublesome or terrific?

Isabella Thomas, Sports Editor

Namely, TikTok has engulfed many adolescents’ lives and strangely become some individuals’ main form of information. While there are many fads on this video sharing app, the 12–3-30 workout is the frontrunner of the exercise videos. Many have attempted this workout, but there are questions revolving around the risks and distress your body may experience. 


The 12-3-30 treadmill workout has a peculiar name to those who are unfamiliar with it. The “12” represents the incline of the treadmill, or the slope of the platform. The “3” signifies the speed of the treadmill- three miles per hour. Finally, the “30” denotes the duration of the workout as 30 minutes. 


The workout was coined by TikTok creator Lauren Giraldo. She wanted to get out of her slump and wanted to get back into shape.


“I was out of shape and didn’t have a great relationship with fitness at the time,” explained Giraldo. “I found a lot of the fitness advice and workouts online were extremely overwhelming and impossible to stick with long term.”


The workout is extremely enticing to beginners, as there is no intimidation from lifting weights. However, for some, it is not the best fit. 


Jess Mena D.P.T., certified strength and conditioning specialist, suggests that a regular person should start off slower. Jumping into this workout may cause your body too much stress. Instead of starting at the intense incline and speed, Mena recommends gradually building up your strength.


“You can even start at a lower incline or slower speed,” said Mena. “Since walking on an incline builds strength in your glutes and hamstrings, it can serve as a stepping stone for strength training.”


Even Giraldo could not handle the full 30 minutes at the 12 incline when she had first started her new workout. 


Dr. Dennis Cardone, osteopathic sports medicine specialist and chief of primary care sports medicine at NYU Langone Health also said this is not a workout you should jump right into.


‘“The problem is people don’t think that walking is a stressor. They think ‘what’s the big deal using an incline? I’m only walking.’ But it really is a big stressor: low back, hamstring, Achilles tendon, knee, plantar fascia … these are the areas where we see some significant injury related to inclining a treadmill,” said Dr. Cardone. “As a general observation, anytime anybody begins or changes a workout or adds something like an incline, they have to follow the rule to do it slowly, otherwise they are certainly at significant risk for an overuse injury.”


Furthermore, Dr. Cardone warned not to overwork yourself with this workout, and not to do it everyday. 


“If someone is 20-something, young and healthy, and they are struggling, you see it was a pretty significant workout. It’s just too much too soon and it should really have a recovery day as well,” stated Cardone. “Almost whatever the routine is, the general rule is there should be a recovery day or at least alternating with some other activity in order to try to avoid overuse injuries.”


For people more accustomed to cardio and working out, this is a good stamina and endurance exercise. It is challenging enough to improve yourself in a safe way. However, it is safest to follow the same guidelines: do not do it everyday, do gradually increase the incline, and do pay attention to the signs your body is giving you. 


The bottom line is make sure to assess your personal fitness needs, and consult with a trained professional to safely meet your health goals this year.