Epic HIIT StairMaster Workouts to Burn Way More Fat

In this article I am going to share two HIIT StairMaster workouts that get fantastic results.

The StairMaster is an exceptional machine for HIIT and today you are going to learn just how to hit your personal goals….and also few mistakes that people make when using it.

Most gyms have StairMaster’s available but if you don’t have access to one, just find a long set of stairs!

Lets get started!


Basic HIIT Stairmaster Workout

This is an uncomplicated workout but its still going to burn, and if you do it properly you will suffer enough to get that epoc going.


I would do a dynamic warm up at the beginning of the workout before anything. When it comes to the HIIT StairMaster workout I would probably spend between 3 and 5 minutes on the StairMaster just making sure my muscles are warm and loose.

What Exercises Should I Do?

For the basic HIIT StairMaster workout you wont be doing any fancy steps. Its a case of sprinting for 30 seconds and then resting to recover.

How Many Sets Should I Do?

Before you begin your workout, take a realistic look at your fitness level:

If you are just starting out, I would aim at around 6 sets with a rest of around 2 minutes per set. As you get fitter start bringing down your rest until you can recover in around 30 seconds.

If you are fitter you can do up to twenty sets.

The hard thing to remember about HIIT is that its not how long you exercise, its the intensity of the exercise that you do.

How long do I sprint for?

The sprint section of this workout is for 30 seconds

How long do I rest for?

Between 2 minutes and 30 seconds, depending on your fitness levels

How fast should the sprint be?

This is completely in your hands, some people can push the machine up to its max, others struggle at around 12.

The first obvious here is safety, don’t go over what you cant cope with and in for the first few times just get used to the machine.

After that you want to start pushing yourself.

You want to feel your legs burning by at least 10 seconds into your sprint, and then you want to hang on for the last 20 seconds.

Always remember that the point of HIIT is pushing your body past its aerobic threshold. Its when you go past this limit that your body starts to adapt.

How long Should I Exercise?

For the HIIT part of this exercise, no more than 20 minutes. If you are just starting, then finish up at 15 minutes with 2 minutes rest per set.

3 Step StairMaster HIIT Workout

This StairMaster workout is a little more complex. Make sure that you are comfortable on the StairMaster while doing high intensity before you attempt the other exercises.

What Exercises Should I Do?

There are three steps in this workout

How Many Sets Should I Do?

One set is going through all steps once.

  1. Double steps for 30 seconds;
  2. Rest;
  3. Sidesteps for 30 seconds on each side;
  4. Rest;
  5. Sprint for 30 seconds;
  6. Rest

How Many Repetitions Should I Do?

As a beginner start with one set. Work up to a maximum of of 5 sets with a 30 second rest in between.

How Long Should I Wait Between Sets?

For beginners, rest for two minutes between sets. Work down to a rest of 30 seconds.

How Fast should the sprint be?

The sprint should be as fast as you can go. The double step and side step need you to go a little slower.

How To Use The StairMaster For HIIT

The StairMaster is essentially a climbing machine with steps that move. As they move you need to keep pace by climbing.

StairMaster are often called StepMills.

You can control the intensity of the workout by controlling the speed of the stairs, or changing the type of steps that you are doing.

You can find a variety of these steps below.

When you are on the StairMaster stand tall and straight, don’t lean forward or backwards. When you get tired you might find yourself slouching.

Also, when sprinting on the machine try to not hold the handrails, you will end up pulling yourself up the stairs. This isn’t helpful as these workouts are designed to drain all the energy out of your legs!

Concentrate on your form for the most benefits. This means really pushing through your heals instead of your toes. This will really activate the muscles in your legs.

Warming Up for the Stairmaster

HIIT always needs a warmup.

If you have any pain in your knees or lower back I would suggest using a dynamic warmup on your ankles, calves and lower back. On top of that I would warm up the Stairmaster at a light pace for about five minutes.

After you finish your workout it is advisable to use a foam roller on your calves, inner thighs, quads and back.

Out of interest, if your sore back and knees are sore because of weakness in the glutes, a consistent workout on the Stairmaster could strengthen the muscles and remove the pain.

Can I Use The Stairmaster for HIIT Every Day?

The simple answer is no.

Here’s why….

The StairMaster can easily be used for a cardio workout, the same as treadmill or any other cardio machine, however…

Where it shines is in its ability to create a heavy workload on large muscles at a relatively low speed.

In fact a study found that you would hit your lactate threshold far faster on a StairMaster versus a Treadmill.

Lactate production in response to maximal and submaximal StairMaster PT4000 and treadmill exercise.

Lactate forms when the body breaks down carbohydrates to use for energy when oxygen levels are low .

This is exactly what you are looking for in HIIT

The means that your muscles are more taxed and the workout can move easily from cardio toward high intensity interval training.

HIIT exhausts your muscles and if you want all the benefits of Interval training, you need to let your muscles rest and recover.

For this reason you should do these workouts at most, every other day. If you are doing this with a weight training routine, do it on the same day directly after your weights.

What Muscles Does The StairMaster Work?

Considering the muscles the stair master works, we wouldn’t be surprised if this was a machine primarily favored by the ladies. This is not the case however as its also a firm favorite among weight lifters because of its fat burning abilities.

Stairmaster Butt Improvement

Your butt is primarily made up from a muscle called the gluteus maximus.

When you begin your workouts on the StairMaster, this muscle will ache. In time however, the StairMaster will strengthen, lift and firm this muscle.

If you want to concentrate on improving your butt, try StairMaster glute kickbacks which are described below.

Stairmaster Leg Toning:

Apart from the glutes, the StairMaster uses three other muscles in your legs. These are the quadriceps, the hamstrings and the calf muscles.

These are all hugely beneficial to a HIIT StairMaster workout because of one thing.

The size of the muscles.

The bigger the muscles the larger the effect of the HIIT. The legs make up some of the biggest muscles in your body.

For this reason, you get great results in fitness and fat loss with HIIT on the StairMaster.

StairMaster Exercise descriptions


HIIT Sprinting on the StairMaster can be a little controversial. Some people manage to ratchet the StairMaster right up to 25, others are praying for it to end at 12!

So what this means is that when you are doing a sprint on StairMaster HIIT workouts, set your sprint for as hard you can go personally.

There are a couple of rules though! You don’t want to be hanging on to the handles of the StairMaster. In your sprint phase you want your arms to be free and maintaining good posture while you sprint.

Double Steps

Double steps adds a lot more work without adding more speed. Just take skip a stair each time you take a step. This is a great example of an HIIT exercise that exhausts your legs, even though you are going slower on the StairMaster.

For the ladies who want to work their booty, a kick back after every step will add to the HIIT. Make sure at the end of every kickback you really squeeze your glutes.

Side Step

Side stepping is simply walking up the StairMaster sideways. This will target your glute and your thigh.

Do complete one set, spend 30 seconds walking up one side, then swap and do 30 seconds on the other side.

Remember to hold the rail while you are doing this.

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