Bennett’s straightforward treadmill routines consist of picking one of her roughly 30-minute playlist organized by songs in ascending beats-per-minute order and hopping on the treadmill to walk to the rhythm. Her first strut workout—a playlist full of Taylor Swift hits—has amassed more than 3.6 million views and kickstarted a treadmill frenzy.
The key component of these strut workouts is that you only bump up the speed by .1 mile per hour (mph) every time the song changes. Most playlists begin somewhere in the three mph range, so that by the end of it, you’ve steadily worked your way up to a power walk or perhaps even a jog—maybe without even noticing. “It makes it very beginner friendly, very accessible, which is, I feel, hard to find on TikTok because it’s all just ‘sprint for this long and then do a back handspring,’” Bennett says, emphasizing that extreme feats of fitness tend to attract eyeballs on the social media platform.
To try and change the narrative on “GymTok,” the 23-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina decided she wanted to create a workout that empowers people to move their bodies for the sole purpose of feeling good—and jamming out to their favorite artists.
But are treadmill strut workouts as effective as they are fun?
In short, heck yes. Exercise doesn't have to leave you soaked in sweat to be beneficial. Walking is an incredibly powerful form of exercise with a low barrier to entry and major benefits—and that's true whether you're a marathoner or you can't remember the last time you laced up a pair of sneakers.
Logging just 21 minutes a day of walking can reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 percent, for example. The good news is you can meet that goal by doing just one of Bennett's strut workouts. The TikTok creator is constantly creating new playlists inspired by her favorite artists, from a booty shaking Lizzo workout to a strut devoted entirely to early 2000s bops.
The format also gives you a lot of flexibility to adjust it to your fitness level, Bennett says. If you don't want to pick up the pace during the faster songs, stick with a speed that feels comfortable. Want to up the ante? Throw in a pair of light dumbbells or ankle weights while you strut. Alternatively, some people like to throw in treadmill struts as a warm-up or cool down activity.
No matter how you modify, Bennett urges people to remember the true spirit of the strut. It's not about dropping pounds or setting PRs. It's all about reminding yourself that moving your body can—and should—be fun.
The mental benefits of TikTok treadmill struts are good, too
Beyond the physical benefits of walking for 30 minutes, it turns out there's a whole lot of mental magic going on in these workouts that makes them almost addicting.
The simplicity and seemingly "easy" nature of these struts makes us feel competent, says Angie Fifer Winter, PhD, CMPC, a high performance coach at HigherEchelon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And while it may seem like a low bar, competence is one of our three main psychological needs when it comes to motivation—the other two being autonomy and relatedness.
The hesitation we feel when we hit the gym with no plan or get ready to run a particularly difficult interval drill is because we feel unsure about our ability to perform the task at hand. Sometimes that feeling can be so strong that we avoid the workout altogether because we're afraid we'll fail.
Bennett's struts solve that problem by giving us a clear plan that we're confident we can complete with a piece of gym equipment that most everyone is familiar with. It's nearly assured success.
In fact, a lot of people are finding that they're capable of more than they thought when they turn up one of Bennett's playlist. Typically, the last two or three songs are designed to be run, and even people who wouldn't normally classify themselves as "runners" are surprising themselves. "Part of it is that you build confidence as you go," Winter says. "I think a lot of times we hold ourselves back by thinking we can't do something, and so we don't really try.” But this progressive ramp up primes you to perform, she adds.
The last—and arguably the most compelling—component of these treadmill struts? Music that makes you feel like a boss. "Music is a big game changer," Winter says. It gives our mind something to occupy itself with and something for us to connect with emotionally. "And the songs are picked intentionally to be very upbeat, positive, uplifting." Not only does this give us a nice rush of endorphins, but it can motivate you to push yourself a little harder than you might normally.
Bennett releases new playlists all the time, so her squad of strutters always has a fresh batch of bangers to choose from. And since these workouts leave you feeling confident and capable, you're more likely to lace up again, leading to a more consistent workout routine, which in turn, ups your fitness level.
If you want to strut your stuff to one of Bennett's treadmill playlists, you can find her on Spotify here.
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