You could hop on a treadmill to do a long run, a power walk, or the ever-popular 12/3/30 workout — or you can turn the piece of fitness equipment into your own personal runway. It’s the latter that TikTokers have been more into as of late (and who can blame them?).
The movement has been dubbed the model walk challenge, and its hashtag currently has over 46 million views on the platform. While a lot of the videos show people demonstrating their signature struts, others show folks hilariously attempting the #modelwalkchallenge on a treadmill as a way to have more fun while working out. Consider it the newest iteration of the #hotgirlwalk.
Specifically, the challenge goes something like this: Your background music, which is the 2007 classic Timbaland “The Way I Are,” stars playing. You hop on a treadmill and begin to walk as you normally would — or really ham it up and act like you’re miserable and don’t want to exercise. Then, right as the beat drops, throw your shoulders back, sway your arms, and start to strut like the most in-demand model in the world. Essentially, treat the treadmill like a runway and you’ll definitely be doing it right.
One of the biggest draws of this trend is that it’s surprisingly fun to try your best Bella Hadid, Naomi Campbell, or Kate Moss impression, even if you’ve never tried to walk like a model before. And fitness pros believe it counts as a legit (and fun) way to exercise. “As a trainer, I’m excited to see anything that gets people excited to go to the gym,” says Tyler Read, personal trainer and CEO of Personal Trainer Pioneer. If nothing else, he says the model walk workout is a great way to change up your usual routine.
Sure, it might seem scary — or even kind of embarrassing — to dramatically swivel your hips in front of strangers at the gym, but, honestly, that’s part of the thrill. You can try it with your friends, be brave and do it all on your own, or even make a TikTok. If it gets you moving, that’s all that matters. Read on for the actual wellness benefits of walking like a model.
The Benefits Of The Model Walk Challenge
A good model walk requires equal parts swagger, grace, confidence, and posture. And according to Read, that’s one of the key reasons to give the challenge a try. “The model walk, when done correctly, will help people be more aware of their posture,” he tells Bustle, adding that proper posture is a super important element of walking, running, or exercising with good form.
The sway of the model walk also requires more muscle control than your average stroll, says Rob Wagener, a NASM-certified personal trainer. “Any change in walking style will require a shift in body balance,” he tells Bustle. “This is especially true with changes in how the arm swings when walking. Whether the arms are straight down at your sides or fashionably swaying like you are on the runway, the body will need to do extra work to make sure you stay balanced.” Welp, sounds like coordination on the runway goes beyond staying upright in heels.
Also noteworthy? In some ways, walking like a model may help with gym anxiety (you know, that all-eyes-on-you feeling that can make it tough to exercise without feeling self-conscious). “If you are experiencing gym anxiety, you are usually just trying to blend in and go unnoticed in the crowd,” says Wagener. But committing to walking like a supermodel basically forces you to project confidence.
If it still feels daunting, call on a friend to try it with you, or wait until the gym is just a little bit emptier. Also, remember that it’s supposed to be silly. “I recommend trying anything that keeps you moving and smiling,” says Wagener. “Whether it's just for the TikTok trend, or trying something new to keep your gym time fresh, keep an open mind and take it step-by-step — fashionably, of course.”
Consider walking like a model for 10-second bursts whenever you’re on the treadmill — or whenever the mood strikes. “Doing this once or twice won't have much physical benefit,” says Wagener. “But like all exercises, consistency and repetition can improve your overall body ability and performance.” So, as RuPaul says: You better work, cover girl.
Tyler Read, personal trainer
Rob Wagener, NASM-certified personal trainer