20 Minute StairMaster HIIT Workout


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Work up a sweat with this quick and effective 20 minute StairMaster HIIT workout! Your legs will be burning and your heart will be pumping.

I have a love/hate relationship with the StairMaster. It’s HARD and takes a lot of energy, but it’s also one of my favorite machines at the gym because you can work your backside while getting your cardio in and you don’t have to stay on the machine forever in order to work up a good sweat. I usually only do like 20-30 mins on the stairmaster before I’m in need a serious water break… especially if I’m doing intervals like the ones in this workout.

And don’t let the short time fool you. 20 minutes on the StairMaster is no joke, I don’t care what level you’re using! I should note that this is an advanced HIIT workout. You can easily modify the workout to meet your fitness level.

I know it’s holiday weekend, but here’s a quick stairmaster workout — just in case you have time to pop in to the gym for a quickie. If you do end up trying this workout, let me know in the comment section or on social media. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

20 Minute Stair Master HIIT Workout

Level refers to the level on the stairmaster machine, which goes from 1-20.

Work up a sweat with this quick and effective 20 minute StairMaster HIIT workout! Your legs will be burning and your heart will be pumping.

Benefits of the StairMaster

Climbing stairs is known to be one of the most effective cardio (and strength building workouts) you can do for several reasons:

  1. Stair climbing engages the body’s largest muscle groups to lift your body weight up, step after step, so you burn more calories than you would exercising on a flat surface.
  2. Stair climbing raises your heart rate immediately so with a 20 minute workout you’ll likely spend 19 minutes with an elevated heart rate. Perfect for maximizing your cardio benefits.
  3. Stair climbing requires more balance and strength than other cardio modalities. The act of maintaining your balance while stair-stepping engages core muscles and increases core muscle strength.
  4. You’re toning and sculpting your lower body (glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves) while getting a cardio workout at the same time. More bang for your workout buck!
  5. Using the stairmaster is better on your knees, because with “real” stairs you have to go up to the top and then back down. Descending stairs is considerably harder on your knees than climbing up because your muscles and connective tissues are being used as “brakes” to fight the effect of gravity, and you are hitting each step with more impact. With the stairmaster machine, you get all the benefits of climbing while avoiding the negative elements of descending.


Question for you – Do you love or hate the stairmaster?

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
Chicken fajita filling on a sheet pan with a wooden spoon. Tortillas are resting on the bottom of the sheet pan.
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  1. Hi Brittany, I am a bit older (in my 50s) so do a little differently. I sometimes go for 20-30 minutes but depends how I’m feeling. I try to aim for around 160 floors rather than so many minutes generally. I was doing more floors but my ankle started playing up and I’ve had to cut back a bit. I do from level 10-12 the whole time. That is 92-93 steps per minute (spm) for around 3-5 minutes, then 93-94spm until about 3-5 minutes, then 94-95 for another maybe 10 minutes and then about 96spm+ for whatever I can manage. It has built my thigh muscles and definitely given me better aerobic fitness even than running. I love it. I should try your workout though. 🙂

  2. I am more advanced than most people on the stair master so I like to go faster for longer. I start around speed 15 because I’m fresh and not tired. After a few minutes I lower the speed for 30 seconds to a minute to catch my breath then repeat it for a good 30-45 minute workout.

  3. I love the stair master! Gave this workout a go and absolutely loved it! Love working up a sweat on the stair master!

    1. AH! I am so happy that you enjoyed this workout, Pat! Thank you so much for being here, I appreciate it!

    1. I am so happy that you enjoyed this workout, Pat! Thank you so much for being here, I appreciate it.

  4. Hey Brittany!

    Tried this workout for 30 minutes today and I absolutely loved it! Love working up a sweat with this workout and will be doing it again tomorrow!

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