While many fitness professionals would rather not turn to the unrealistic or downright ridiculous workout trends doing the rounds on TikTok right now, the viral 3-2-8 method does have some merit. Experts aren’t dismissing the exercise trend, which they say has real long-term benefits. keep some pointers in mind.
What is the 3-2-8 workout method?
The principles of the 3-2-8 method include:
- 3 days a week of strength training
- 2 days a week of low-impact exercises, such as Pilates or barre
- 8,000 steps a day
Multiple sources point to Natalie Rose, a UK-based trainer and barre and Pilates instructor, as responsible for the trend’s virality. Her fitness-oriented TikTok has many posts dedicated to the weekly routine where Rose claims it can reduce inflammation and build core strength among many other purported benefits including using it as a way to sync your exercises during your menstrual cycle.
While the science of cycle sync, the concept of optimizing your diet and activity for the phase of your menstrual cycle, is still somewhat murky, this exercise trend has merit. This often comes down to the benefits of individual activities (strength, Pilates/barre, and walking) as well as a balanced approach to fitness.
The benefits of the 3-2-8 method
While Rose and others on TikTok say the weekly exercise routine has helped them do everything from lose weight and ease PCOS symptoms, there are many other science-backed benefits to the 3 -2-8 proven.
Five days a week of grueling exercise (think: HIIT, heavy lifting, or long runs) is a recipe for physical and mental exhaustion and diminished results. Instead, the 3-2-8 method prioritizes recovery, variation, and complementary movement.
It’s a great balance, says Kristie Larson, CSCS, NASM-certified personal trainer, adding that the method helps prevent overtraining and burnout. You have strength training, which we all need, and we have Pilates or barre going on [with] lighter weight and less neurologically taxing and really good for stability and mobility, he says.
Plus, 8,000 daily steps is more achievable for most people than the generally recommended 10,000, Larson says. However, both numbers seem arbitrary, he added, citing a recent one JAMA Open Network study that indicates 7,000 daily steps as the main benchmark for long-term health.
Every activity has benefits.
Strength training is incredibly important for longevity and slowing the rapid decline as we age, Larson says. Progressive strength training leads to increased muscle mass and increased bone density, a huge bonus for older women since menopause is a major culprit for decreased risk of musculoskeletal health and injury.
Although both barre and Pilates are low-impact, it’s common for barre classes to use light weights with very high reps, leaving you feeling more sore than healed. This is why Larson says that if he were to prescribe a 3-2-8 method to his clients, he would lean more toward Pilates for its intense ability to work the smaller stabilizer muscles and core muscles.
Pilates helps build overall strength, especially in the core, defines muscles, improves balance and posture, and can also be good for your mental health, says Marisa Fuller, owner of Studio Pilates. Plus, Pilates’ low impact makes it a workout that’s accessible to most at any age, she says.
When it comes to the benefits of walking, the list is endless. Daily walking can help boost longevity, improve sleep, and reduce joint pain. Plus, if you add intervals and increase the speed, you’ll get even more perks.
But they also complement each other.
Although, there are clearly mind and body benefits to all three activities, it’s the magic of cross-training that makes them even better when combined. Another thing I like about this method is that it reinforces the idea that one workout isn’t everything, and not all workouts need to be intense, Larson says.
Using Pilates as a method of active recovery from your strength training ensures that you are repairing the necessary muscle damage that has accumulated from previous workouts, Larson explains. This will help promote blood flow, so you can recover faster, he says. This will help reduce the pain. The point of active recovery is to help your body repair the damage done through exercise to actually get the improvement you’re looking for.
Pilates is the perfect active recovery workout because it not only keeps your heart rate low, but it also provides deep stretching though some rehabilitating movement patterns, says Fuller. Plus, because Pilates focuses so much on your core activation, it’s been shown to improve your overall athletic performance, says Fuller. The main work done during Pilates activates more than your rectus abdominis in the front of the body, but also your obliques, which help to stabilize your entire core, and glutes, which are the big , strong muscles responsible for many complex lifts during strength. sessions.
It works perfectly.
The right exercises not only improve your fitness but also your pain-free movement in everyday life, and the 3-2-8 method is rooted in functional fitness.
When you add Pilates to your cardio and strength training, you’ll see injury prevention, improved bending and lifting in daily life, and improved balance and stability, Fuller adds.
Plus, regular strength training offers less risk of fractures from falls, increased independence, and more recovery if there’s any kind of musculoskeletal injury, Larson adds.
How to perform the 3-2-8 workout method
Here are some important details to keep in mind to reap all the benefits of this practice.
Stay true to the definition of active recovery.
Many boutique Pilates-esque studios offer very high-intensity classes, sometimes with medium-to-heavy dumbbells, which will end up prolonging your recovery, not helping. Opt for traditional mat or reformer Pilates. If you want to try barre during active recovery days, choose a studio or class format that includes plenty of opportunities to stretch between all the pulsating and contracting muscles.
Keep your expectations realistic.
Although this program seems balanced, it still requires you to complete five workouts a week, which is more than many people can achieve, Larson says. If three days of strength and two days of low-impact work isn’t achievable for your lifestyle, try two strength sessions and a Pilates or barre day on the weekend, for example, she suggests. And don’t be a slave to the step that aims to walk every day and give yourself grace if you miss the 8,000 mark.
The bottom line? Be aware of fitness trends and really think about what will work for you and be realistic for your life, says Larson. At the end of the day, that would be the most important thing for anyone.
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