If you're looking to shake up your fitness routine and build a smokeshow booty, try this fun and intense cardio stairmaster workout routine.
Cardio can get really boring. You pick a machine and plod along. You tell yourself you're not allowed to check the time. You go and go. You're getting so sweaty. You listen to a million songs. You adjust your pineapple bun. You try not to stare at the woman on the treadmill who's butt has totally eaten her shorty shorts. "Ok," you tell yourself, "I can look now. It's definitely been at least 45 minutes." When you hit the button on your phone, it's only been 6! ARGHHH!
I've got the cure for cardio boredom: the stairmaster! Some people call it a stair machine, some a step mill, but it's all the same thing. It's that machine that looks like a mini stairway to nothing. Climbing stairs is hard. The American Council on Exercise calls walking uphill, "the best combination of aerobic activity to burn fat and anaerobic activity to shape muscles." And trust me, it's effective.
But how can it help you get a hot butt? The stairmaster is one of my favorite machines because it shapes and strengthens your glutes. Climbing actually helps build muscle because it's bearing the weight of your entire body as the muscles contract to pull you up above a resting point. Contracting muscles while they're bearing more weight than they're accustomed to is what makes them strengthen and grow. It's called the principle of overload. The repetitive motion of lifting and propelling your legs forward targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. These are large muscle groups, so when you're climbing quickly and firing those muscles, your heart rate is going to skyrocket, igniting a major calorie crush. Burning calories can help you lose fat and reveal those gorgeous muscles you're building.
Then we're gonna take it next level by mixing things up and adding a little intensity to your stairmaster experience. We're gonna get bonkers on that machine! When you incorporate these boredom busing moves, you're going to work all the lower body muscle groups in slightly different ways. This will activate additional muscle fibers, resulting in a tight, toned butt and lower body. Get ready to feel a very serious burn and watch the time fly right on by.
Remember, safety first! Always warm up before the workout. Practice the moves on a very slow speed before really going for it. Some of the motions take some getting used to. Always stay hydrated and cool down after the workouts. Don't forget to stretch! Always use proper form. If you're unsure of form, consult a professional.
- Skip a Step: Booty and quad burner. Pick a lead leg step to over the second step to the third step. Bring your back leg up to meet the lead leg and then quickly step your lead leg up and over the next step to the third step again. Continue pulling your body up on the same leg. Then switch lead legs. Squeeze through the glute when you pull your back leg up and press through your heels to activate your butt even more.
- Cross Over with a Lateral Leg Lift: This one really works the medial glute, or the outside of your hip. Turn sideways on the machine and just climb for a bit to get your bearings. Hold the middle bar with your inside hand for balance. Once you're comfortable, cross your outside foot over your inside foot to step up on the next step, then bring your back foot up to the step above that and quickly sweep the outside leg up into a lateral leg lift. Bring that same foot up and on to the next step. Step, step, lift. Step, step, lift. Work each side.
- Wide and Narrow Jump Squats: Cardio killer! Always make sure and use a pretty low speed for these. Bring your feet into a wide stance on one step. Squatting down as low as possible jump up to the next step and bring your feet together into a narrow stance. Squat as you land to absorb the impact. Jump up to the next step into a wide stance. Then narrow, then wide, etc. I like to hold the railings when I do these just in case I miss a step or slip. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
- Side Step: Great for hips and quads. Turn sideways on the machine and get your bearings. Hold the middle bar with your inside hand for balance. When you're ready, lift your inside foot to the next step. Quickly move your outside foot to meet it on the same step. Then lift your outside foot up again and so on. Switch sides to work the other leg.
- Reverse Climb: This one works the quads, hammies, and calves a little more. Hold the railings securely without leaning on them. Lower the speed until you're moving pretty slowly. Carefully turn around backwards and climb in reverse. Hold the railings the entire time in case you miss a step or slip. This one takes some getting used to, so be patient with yourself and go slowly.
- Low Cross Over: This is one of my butt-building favorites. It hits every glute fiber ya got! Turn sideways. Hold the middle bar with your inside hand for balance. Climb the machine sideways crossing your outside foot over your inside leg to the step above it. Step your inside leg to the next step and then your cross your outside foot over and up to the next step. Now bend your knees until you're in a low squat and continue to cross over climb. Stay low while you climb. Don't come out of the squat if you can help it. Switch sides to work the other leg.
- Sprints: Cardio blast and quad crusher. Face forward and start climbing. Rest your hands on the railings for balance but try not to lean on them. Increase the speed until you're running up the stairs. This is one of the most challenging cardio exercises I know of. Good luck.
You can do these moves for as long as you can stand, or try my HIIT* routine if you're unsure of how to organize your workout.
Stairmaster HIIT Workout
Rests:For this workout a rest will mean that you decrease the speed of the machine until you are climbing very slowly. This will allow you to catch your breath without having to climb off the machine each time.
- Warm Up
- Skip a Step-1 minute on each leg
- Sprint-25 seconds
- Rest-30 seconds
- Cross Over with Lateral Leg Lift-1 minute on each leg (be careful switching sides, go slowly)
- Sprint-25 seconds
- Rest 30 seconds
- Wide and Narrow Jump Squats-40 seconds
- Rest 30 seconds
- Side Step-1 minute on each leg (again, careful switching sides)
- Sprint-20 seconds
- Rest 40 seconds
- Reverse Climb-90 seconds
- Sprint-25 seconds
- Rest 30 seconds
- Low Cross Over-1 minute each side (careful switching sides)
- Sprint-30 seconds
- Rest for 1-2 minutes
(Repeat this sequence twice more for a total of 3 times.)
Try this intense cardio and lower body shredder of a workout twice a week for results that'll have you buying new jeans to show off your eye-catching derriere. Remember to be consistent and eat clean so you can the see results of all the hard work you're putting in!
Video yourself doing some of the moves and tag me (@this_fit_mom) with #stairmasterworkout on IG!
*HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. You exercise in very short, but intense bursts with very short recovery periods after each interval. HIIT has been proven to give you the same benefits as endurance cardio in shorter amounts of time along with the additional benefits of strength training.
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Stair Machine Photo via Shutterstock
Video: Sarah Olive Bergeson