Stairmaster HIIT Workout: Get Fit in Just 15 Minutes

StairMaster HIIT Workout: Three workouts that will get your legs pumping, your heart pounding and your body fat running for cover. 

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I don’t know about you, but when I hear Stairmaster I immediately go to the stair type machines you find in a gym.

Yeah, I know you can get the for your home gym as well, but that’s what I think of.

Stepping machines. That are a bit like stairs.

I’m going to let you into a little secret….I used to be terrified of them. This was before I became a personal trainer. The first time I tried to use one, it just kept sinking. I couldn’t manage to stay at the top.

I couldn’t even put the telly on because I couldn’t reach.

Terrified that everyone was looking at me and laughing, I decided I’d be much better off steering clear.

Anyway, it seems as a company Stairmaster have branched out into many other forms of exercise machine. There’s a whole range of StairMaster HIIT products, treadmills, or HIIT mills, exercise bike, even boxing towers.

But they are clearly still most famous for the traditional StairMaster.

So, that’s what I’m going to focus on here.

Ready to learn all about them and get a few great HIIT workouts to boot?

Let’s get too it…

StairMaster HIIT Workout: Three workouts that will get your legs pumping, your heart pounding and your body fat running for cover.

Stairmaster HIIT Workout: What is a Stairmaster?

Well, I’ve kind of covered it up there, but I’m going to go into a bit more detail now…

StairMaster is a company that designs and manufacturers workout machines. They are most famous for the stair climbing machine that has been a favourite in gyms since, well, around the 1980’s.

Whilst they have branched out, the StairMaster HIIT Rower, the StairMaster HIIT Bike and the StairMaster HIIT Ube, are just a few, their signature still has to be the traditional StairMaster machine.

It is basically a moving staircase and the goal is, to keep up.

That sounds pretty simple doesn’t it, and I bet you’ve got stairs in your house. So why would you want to spend a fortune on a workout machine that basically does what your stairs do?

Ok, yeah I know working out on your stairs is completely different. It’s no fun, to begin with. At least with a StairMaster you can change the resistance, you can change up the workout, you can use it while you’re watching your favourite tv programme, and it’s got an accessory holder.

No, working out on the stairs is not the same.

But, why would you invest in a StairMaster over any other type of equipment?

Well, as always, that comes down to personal preference. What do you enjoy doing? What will you want to do?

Stairmasters certainly do have their benefits, apart from increased cardio health that comes with all cardio type workouts, Stairmasters are great for core health, bone health, stronger legs and bums.

Let’s look at these in detail….

Infographic entitled Benefits of a StairMaster shows six of the top benefits of using a StairMaster for your workout.

1. Core Health

 When you’re climbing you have to use your core for the entire time. Unlike any other piece of equipment. You have to keep your balance, and your core is the way you do that.

2. Leg Strength

Obviously you’re using your legs when you’re climbing the stairs, but because of the motion, one leg up and pushing your bodyweight up to the next step, you are strengthening your muscles as well. This is unlike when you’re using a treadmill or a bike, the motion for those don’t encourage strength building quite as much. They focus on speed.

3. Glute Strength

Again, as with your leg strength, the motion you’re doing climbing the stairs is a great strength building movement. So as you’re having a great cardio workout and increasing the strength in your legs, you’re also getting a nice firm booty.

4. Low Impact

Stairmasters are considered low impact, so if you have problems with your knees you’re all set to go. You won’t have the repetitive pounding motion you have when you’re using a treadmill, or your own staircase. And your legs will be strengthened which will take the pressure off you knees.

5. Great HIIT training Workouts

Another great benefit of the StairMaster, but to be honest, this is with most workout machines, you get a lot of programmable workouts. You don’t have to think, you don’t have to do internet searches, although I’m grateful you’ve come to my site, you can just hit a button and get a really effective workout. There are unlimited workout options.

6. It’s a Functional Workout

And by that I mean you’re more likely to walk up stairs than you are to row a boat. Yes of course rowing has cross over benefits, but the movements you do for a StairMaster is exactly what you do in real life.

7. Heart Rate Trackers

This is another one that’s not peculiar to the StairMaster, quite a few exercise machines have heart rate trackers. I’m highlighting it because if you want to do a HIIT workout, having something that can track your heart rate is really useful. Remember to be a true HIIT workout your heart rate has to be within 80-90% of it’s maximum. And with a tracker you can monitor that easily.

8. Isokinetic Resistance

That’s a fancy way of saying the StairMaster keeps the same level of resistance no matter what effort you’re putting in. The isokinetic fan resistance makes sure that, throughout your entire range of motion the resistance doesn’t change. In other words it adapts to the user’s fitness level. It’s going to help you get stronger, more flexible and help prevent injury.

9. Full-Body Workout

You might think a StairMaster is just going to give you just lower body workout. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can work your upper body as well. Firstly, don’t hold on. If you’re finding this difficult, or you’re losing your balance, lightly grasp the bars, but the goal is to not hold on at all. You’ll get your arms pumping and have a more effective workout.

Secondly, you can add in some dumbbells. Or, any type of weight. Do bicep curls, overhead presses, whatever you fancy.

10. You Can Mix It Up

You may think that climbing the stairs would get pretty boring, but remember you can mix up how you climb the stairs. You can side step, you can walk backwards, you can climb two at a time (I’d suggest you do this one a bit slower). Meaning you’re hitting more muscles and increasing that calorie burn. Something like this isn’t that easy on rowing machine or an exercise bike. Another benefit of the StairMaster.

StairMaster HIIT Workout: The HIIT Routines

Before we get on to the actual workouts let’s recap on what HIIT is. That way you can change these workouts around if you’re getting bored.

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and at it’s very basic level it’s short periods of intense exercise followed by an even shorter period of rest.

The period of intense exercise has to be an all out effort. Remember you will be getting some rest so you can afford to go all out. This all out effort does mean that high-intensity interval training is one of the most demanding workouts. You will definitely know you’ve had a workout.

Ok, let’s get to it...

StairMaster HIIT Workouts: Best StairMaster Workouts

As usual the three workouts here should take about 15 minutes each. You can do them individually or group them together for a longer workout.

Feel free to use weights, if you are confident in your fitness levels and you want to include some upper body training.

But please, please, please make sure you warm up properly. This warm up is a great all rounder, to get your whole body bit more limber and mobile. But make sure you start every StairMaster workout with a slow climb. Set the start-up resistance to 1 and increase it every 60 seconds until you’re at a level 5.

Then you should be ready to go.

StairMaster HIIT Workout: Let’s Keep it Simple

A simple HIIT workout for the StairMaster aimed at getting you fitter in 15 minutes

For this StairMaster HIIT workout we’re going to keep the movements and the time interval very simple. It’s going to be a sprint. But up stairs.

Five rounds of:

  • 45 seconds at resistance level 12
  • 15 seconds at resistance level 2

Five rounds of:

  • 45 seconds at resistance level 15
  • 15 seconds at resistance level 2

Five rounds of:

  • 45 seconds at resistance level 10
  • 15 seconds at resistance level 2

StairMaster HIIT Workout: Let’s Try an EMOM (every minute on the minute)

A 15 minute stairmaster HIIT workout. Every minute on the minute complete the required movements

Every minute on the minute for 15 minutes you’re going to do the following movements;

  • 5 two at a time steps going forward
  • 4 side steps
  • 2 backward steps
  • 4 side steps (on the other side)

You’ll want a slightly lower resistance for this one, because it is going to creep. Perhaps start with 8-10 and if you feel that’s too tough you can always go down.

If it’s not tough enough you can always go up.

You don’t have to keep the same resistance all through the workout. Keep the movements the same and the timing, but alter the resistance if you need to.

For the remaining time drop the resistance down to 2 and do a slow climb.

StairMaster HIIT Workout: Not Another EMOM?

A 15 minute HIIT stairmaster workout that incorporates bodyweight exercises to make it even more fun.

Yeah I do love an every minute on the minute workout. Work hard and you get a bit of rest. But just a bit, mwhah hah.

So for the first minute of this StairMaster HIIT workout you’ll be completing the first exercise and the second minute it’s a calorie burn on the stair master. Make sure you change your display to calories.

Each round is twice through with

1 minute rest before you move on. For a total of five minutes.

This one is good for a true total body exercise. The bodyweight exercises will work your upper body and core whilst the StairMaster will work your lower body and your core.

  • Minute 1 and 3: 8-10 push ups (on your knees if you have to)
  • Minute 2 and 4: 10 calories burned on the StairMaster
  • Minute 5: Rest


  • Minute 6 and 8: 8-10 tricep dips
  • Minute 7 and 9: 10 calories burned on the StairMaster
  • Minute 10: Rest


  • Minute 11 and 13: 10 plank up downs
  • Minute 12 and 14: 10 calories burned on the StairMaster
  • Minute 15: Rest.

You can adapt this workout by changing up the bodyweight exercises, and/or changing the calories you burn.

You can make it a real leg burner if you use lower body exercises instead of upper body exercises.

Are You Going to Try A StairMaster HIIT Workout?

Whether you’re looking to start a new fitness routine or you’re looking for a new workout, StairMasters are a great way to get some functional movement into your day.

They certainly have lots of benefits and system features. Quick set programming means you can get on and be working out in a matter of moments. It’s robust design means it should last you for quite a while.

And if you use it that’s great.

But remember, they’re not cheap.

So ask yourself, are you going to enjoy it? Are you going to use it? If you do, then cost per workout should be very low. If it’s just going to sit in the corner of your living room, it will really annoy you.

Hopefully these workouts will keep you interested and keep it feeling challenging.

As ever, if you do have a go and try these workouts, let me know how you get on. Email me here, or tag me on social media @mamasthatmove.

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Is HIIT on a StairMaster Good?

Both a stairmaster and HIIT work your body very hard. So you body is playing catch up for quite a while after your workout is finished. And when it's playing catch up, it's burning calories. All of that means, your body burns more calories for hours after your workout finishes.

What are the benefits of a stairmaster?

  • You'll have a stronger and more toned core
  • You'll have stronger and more toned legs
  • You'll have a stronger and more toned bum.
  • It's low impact so your joints won't hurt.
  • You'll work more than one muscle group at once and get your body stronger in a functional way.
  • You'll have a full body workout, so it's quick and effective. 
  • You can change up your workout easily keeping it varied, not boring. 

Is 15 Minutes on a StairMaster enough?

Yes. That's the short answer. 

The longer answer is, if that's all you have time for then yes, it's enough. Don't get me wrong, longer would be better. But, doing something is better than doing nothing. 

If you have only got 15 minutes, stick to a HIIT workout. They are much more effective for short workouts. 

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