As over 25 million people praise the lower-body benefits of #StairMasterWorkout on TikTok, we reveal whether this step machine is actually worth the hype, and how to squeeze in a workout of your own.

We’re sometimes apprehensive about TikTok fitness trends, but the latest #StairMasterWorkout has left us intrigued.

Not only because one social media user commented: “I don’t care how fit you are, the stairmaster will beat your ass,” but also because nearly 25 million people have viewed or taken part in this lower body viral trend.

But we’re wondering, is this piece of cardio gym kit actually all it’s cracked up to be? 

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Personal trainer Lauren White says that yes, it’s definitely worth the hype.

“This is a machine that works several muscles in the body, whilst also providing a big cardio boost. It’s also going to get those feel-good endorphins flowing, fast.”

First, what actually is it the StairMaster? Essentially mimics walking up stairs with a rotating step machine that requires work from the legs, glutes and core muscles. The quicker you set the StairMaster to go, the harder it will be. Plus, going faster works the muscles that little bit harder, so it starts to feel like you’re trudging through mud.

Each machine also has handles and tends to have a screen too, so you can see metres climbed, steps taken and other information such as heart rate. 

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The benefits of the stairmaster

There are several reasons why the StairMaster could become a key player in your workout routine.

“The big pro is that it helps strengthen the lower body without a squat in sight. Several muscles are recruited when using the StairMaster including the hamstrings, quads, calves and glutes. Increasing the resistance of the StairMaster can increase the impact on the muscles,” explains Lauren.

The fact that the StairMaster places such a great emphasis on the glutes is ideal for those who spend a lot of their day seated. Glutes are the biggest muscle in our body but, if they are underactive your other muscles have to compensate during exercise and day-to-day activities. This can lead to injury, which naturally, we want to avoid at all costs. 

Desk job? You might find your glutes need a rude awakening, and the StairMaster could do just that!

Lauren adds that in order to stay balanced as you climb up the rotating StairMaster, the core muscles also fire up. A strong core means better posture, a lower chance of injury and an improvement in all other exercises including running, cycling and weight lifting.

“The StairMaster offers somewhat of a unilateral workout, too, in which one side of the body is worked at a time. This is ideal to keep the core muscles fired up as they work to maintain balance.”

If you need a cardio workout that isn’t running or cycling, the StairMaster could be your new BFF. Climbing stairs work our cardiovascular system, aka the heart and lungs, helping to improve our fitness and reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers.

Using a stairmaster is great for your cardiovascular system and your leg muscles

 Mastering your StairMaster technique  

As with any exercise, it’s vital to ensure your technique and form is on point to help avoid injury and to get the most out of the movement.

Nail your posture

Hinge forwards at the hips just a touch, but don’t hunch over completely when using the StairMaster. Otherwise, your back will soon start to take the slack which can lead to pain.

Try to keep your gaze forward and engage with the core muscles – essentially, if someone was to come over and give your stomach a little shove, it should be rock solid.

Wake up your glutes before you go

With any lower body exercise, prepping muscles beforehand can be really helpful. With your glutes being as important as they are, making sure they’re raring to go means they’ll help power you through your training. Try some activation work using resistance bands before jumping on the machine. 

Use the handles only when you really need them

The handles are there to support you, but you don’t want to become reliant on them. To work your core stability, let go of the handles so your midsection can do more work. Plus, gripping onto the handles for dear life takes some of the pressure from your lower body muscles. As the aim is to work and strengthen the lower body muscles, we want to avoid taking this pressure off. 

Drive through heels, not toes

As you push down on each step, and as you drive up from each step, make sure the majority of pressure is placed on the heels. This way the hamstrings and glutes are targeted more effectively. 

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StairMaster workouts 

Give one of these four easy-to-follow workouts a try and get your #StairMasterWorkout game on. And there isn’t a squat in sight! 

Beginner StairMaster workout

In just 20 minutes, you’ll be able to get to grips with the StairMaster, plus you’ll feel your lower body firing up.

3 minutes: steady pace.

1 minute: faster pace – should be breathless by the end of this minute.

2 minutes: steady pace

30 seconds: faster pace.

Repeat three times


This is a short and sweet workout that is guaranteed to make you sweat. It’s a high intensity interval workout that can be wrapped up in one quarter of an hour.

2 minutes: fast pace

30 seconds moderate pace. Catch your breath in this time. You should be able to hold a conversation.

1 minute: fast pace

15 seconds: moderate pace

Repeat four times

The remainder of your 15 minutes should be slower, allowing you to cool off.

The heavy leg workout

If you really want to attack all the muscles, then incorporating forward and backward climbing is the way to do it.

For 18 minutes, work in blocks of 3 minutes, going for 3 minutes forward, 3 minutes back, on a resistance that you can maintain. It shouldn’t feel too heavy but it should also feel a little ‘muddy’, aka, as though you’re feet are slightly covered in mud and walking isn’t as light as it should be.

3 minutes: forward climb, moderate pace

3 minutes: backward climb, moderate pace

Repeat three times

Two stepper

Here we’re mixing it up between one step at a time and two steps at a time. The larger steps place a greater emphasis on the glutes. 

Set a timer for 20 minutes.

3 minutes: fast pace, single steps. You shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation at this pace.

1 minute: fast pace, double steps

1 minute: single steps, slow recovery

Repeat four times

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