The hardest workouts are also the most rewarding. One of the best things you can do for your health on a daily basis is to take the stairs.1 Stair climbing activates all the muscles in your body, especially your legs, arms, back and abs, which leads to a good workout for your heart as well.
This is why the Stairmaster machine is so popular. They combine the practical exercises of regular stairs with repetitive movements that are a feature of exercise, endurance strengthening and muscle building. This makes a Stairmaster workout a HIIT workout (for those who don’t know, HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training). They’re also good for when you don’t have access to long flights of real stairs.
But what are the best StairMaster workouts? Keep reading for five exercises to get the most out of your stair climbing machine.
#1 Easy Step Workout
Whether you’re new to the StairMaster machine and want to ease yourself in or you’re looking for an easy, low-intensity way to burn calories and build muscle mass, the easy step workout is for you.
This workout takes full advantage of the activity the Stairmaster was designed for—climbing. By doing this, it’s a great way to do your job:
- core muscles
- the glue
Simple step workouts are also great for cardio. Here’s how to do it:
- Set your effort to easy (3 – 4 RPE) and do 30 seconds of crossover for each side.
- Reduce effort to 2-3 RPE and walk for 30 seconds.
- Increase effort to 3-4 RPE and do 30 seconds of side or parallel steps for each side.
- Return the effort to 2-3 RPE and walk for 30 seconds.
- Increase moderate effort to between 6-7 RPE and kickback 30 seconds per side.
- End your workout by walking for 60 seconds at an effort of 2-3 RPE.
#2 Interval-focused workouts
You’ll need a resistance band for this workout, but the extra equipment is well worth it. Before you start, loop the resistance band around your ankles. Resistance bands are a great way to add the muscle-building benefits of weight training to any workout.
To enhance this workout, you can repeat the following four steps as many times as you like. For the first three steps, set your StairMaster effort to 6–7 RPE. Then:
- Perform box walks for 60 seconds, stepping to the far corner of each step.
- Perform three-quarter squats for 30 seconds.
- Kickback 30 seconds for each side.
- Reduce effort to 3-4 RPE and crossover for 30 seconds on each side.
Throughout this workout, make sure there is enough tension on the resistance band to engage your muscles.
Looking for a Stairmaster workout that will whip your glutes into shape? Then look no further than the Step-N-Squat. Among the Stairmaster exercises, this one is the best for achieving a toned, shapely bottom.
Here’s how to perform the step-n-squat:
- Set a moderate effort of 4-5 RPE and kickback for 30 seconds
- Increase the effort to 5-6 RPE and walk for 60 seconds
- Reduce the effort to moderate and walk for 60 seconds
For extra burn, repeat these steps as much as you want.
#4 High-intensity cardio burn
Ready to step it up a notch? This high-intensity workout puts extra emphasis on your cardio health and helps you strengthen your core muscles, glutes, and hamstrings. But be warned—this Stairmaster workout is not for the faint of heart.
High-intensity cardio burn involves:
- Set your effort to 5-6 RPE and skip one stair at a time for 60 seconds
- Reduce effort to ease (3-4 RPE) and perform side steps for 30 seconds on each side
- At the same effort, perform sideways step-ups for 30 seconds on each side
- Finish your workout by doing back steps for 30 seconds at an easy effort
If a single repetition doesn’t take too much out of you, you can repeat these steps for a more intense workout.
#5 HIIT Cardio Stairmaster Crunches
In fitness speak, HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. HIIT workouts are cardio-intensive exercises that combine high-intensity intervals with low-intensity intervals to raise and lower your heart rate. HIIT workouts are considered the best way to burn more calories in less time, increase your metabolic rate, and burn fat, among other potential benefits.2
The total HIIT cardio Stairmaster crunch takes about two and a half minutes, so for the best balance between high and low intensity, you should repeat each step about eight times for a 20-minute workout. The steps are:
- At an effort of 4-5 RPE, walk the stairs for 30 seconds
- Reduce effort to 2-3 RPE and walk for 30 seconds
- Increase effort to 6-7 RPE and run 15 seconds
- Bring the effort back to 2-3 RPE and walk for 60 seconds
- Increase effort to 9-10 RPE and sprint for 15 seconds
Other tips for an effective workout:
While a Stairmaster workout is effective, a little variety can also benefit our exercise regimen. On certain days, you might do a bare workout, on others you might do a yoga vs. Pilates routine or circuit training vs. HIIT. However, if you go crazy with all these workouts, you should know your body’s limitations and needs. Research what to eat before a workout and whether you should exercise if you’re sore.
Choose Fitness – The obvious choice
If you think a Stairmaster is the right workout routine for you, get ready for a HIIT workout. Ready to recommit to your fitness goals? Choose Fitness has everything you need to get started, ie Fitness class For all levels and an original Spotify Playlist That is calibrated for maximum motivation.
When fitness is your goal, there is only one choice: Choose Fitness. find a “gym near me“Online today.
Ani is Vice President of Fitness at Chuz Fitness and oversees the Group Fitness and Team Training departments. He had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Annie lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and son and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.
- Very good health. 6 reasons to take the stairs. https://www.verywellhealth.com/reasons-to-take-the-stairs-2509609
- Healthline. HIIT Benefits: 7 Reasons to Try High Intensity Interval Training https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit