Here are 2 new stairmaster workouts.

This article contains:

1 HIIT stairmaster cardio plan.

1 LISS stairmaster cardio plan.

These are heart-rate targeted cardio workouts to help you burn fat (and build booty) effectively.

Let’s take a look at the workouts.

Updated Oct. 20, 2021





Here are 2 new stairmaster workouts.

This article contains:

1 HIIT stairmaster cardio plan.

1 LISS stairmaster cardio plan.

These are heart-rate targeted cardio workouts to help you burn fat (and build booty) effectively.

Let’s take a look at the workouts.

Updated Oct. 20, 2021

Toning your thighs is a b****, especially if you don’t want to put on muscle.


To develop strong but lean legs, you’ll find 2 cardio workouts in this article.


They are:


HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) 




LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State)


HIIT and LISS are heart-rate targeted cardio routines that you can do on the Stairmaster to start seeing results in the next 2 weeks.


Whichever one you choose will be based on your goals, your current fitness level, and the amount of time you can make during the day to train.



These are CARDIO workouts for the Stairmaster, they cannot replace resistance training.


Miss Tennessee Wellness and CPT-CN, Jessica Young, says cardio is simply a way to increase your calorie deficit. 


You cannot only rely solely on cardio to build legs, so once again.



In fact, a 12-week study on cardio vs. resistance training in a calorie deficit revealed these results.


Cardio is far from ideal to build muscle, so let me clarify why I’ve advised cardio to tone your thighs.


The ideology behind the workouts in this article is that you will stimulate muscle growth, not just while lifting, but while doing cardio as well, as the Stairmaster is unique in the way it works.


Here’s a quick and dirty explanation. 


Lifting will help you actively build muscle and the Stairmaster will help you passively build muscle while trying to simply expend calories to meet a calorie deficit.


For more information on how the Stairmaster will help you add muscle, scroll to the bottom of the page.


Now, before we dive into the actual workouts, I will clear up what HIIT and LISS workouts actually involve.


The reason I need to explain these things is because you, yourself, will need to decide whether you want to do HIIT or LISS or both.



Table of contents


1.   What are HIIT and LISS


2.   Stairmaster HIIT Workout Plan


3.   Stairmaster LISS Workout Plan


4.   Which is right for you?


5.   Why I chose the Stairmaster to tone legs?


What are HIIT and LISS?


First, let’s get the acronyms out of the way.


HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training


and LISS stands for Low-Intensity Steady State.  


Both HIIT and LISS are heart rate targeted cardio routines.


Stairmaster Hiit vs LISS


The best way to describe the distinction between HIIT and LISS is through the, albeit overused, but most appropriate example of a sprint vs. a marathon.


Now if you don’t have a Stairmaster at your gym, you can use this guide to buy one. Expensive as a Stairmaster is, it has a ton of other benefits beyond cutting fat.




Similar to a sprint, in HIIT you put 100% of your effort into the exercise for a short period of time.


Then after you’ve gone all out for a few seconds, you rest for a few seconds and do it again. 


Nikki, who is a personal trainer (and body goals..!), demonstrates both HIIT & LISS workouts below.

For example, you can climb a Stairmaster at 120 steps per minute for 40 seconds and then reduce the speed to 40 steps per minute for 20 seconds before cranking the speed back up to 120.


Alternate between these high and low speeds for 20 mins and you have a HIIT circuit ready.




When it comes to LISS, it is more like a marathon. You conserve your energy so that you can continue walking for a longer period of time.

In a LISS workout, you will usually do one or more low intensity exercises like walking up stairs or cycling for about 30 – 90 minutes

It is worth mentioning that you do not have to do HIIT or LISS exclusively.


As advised by Pro Football Conditioning coach, Mikhail, you can even combine the two.


Doing HIIT on some days and LISS on others.


Ok, now that we are clear with the terminology, let’s get to the main point.


You have access to a Stairmaster, at your home or your gym, and you need a HIIT or LISS cardio plan that helps you build lean and strong thighs effectively.


Here you go.


Stairmaster HIIT workout

Stairmaster HIIT Workout

You will start your HIIT workout with 5 minute warm up.


This is imperative to HIIT, because performing high intensity movements without proper warm up will almost always lead to injuries.


After the warm up, you will alternate between high and low intensity intervals, each lasting 1 minute and 30 seconds, respectively.


This HIIT workout will consist of 10 cycles.


I have color-coded the HIIT cycles in purple for you to refer to them easily while working out.


You should take a screenshot of the HIIT table to look at while you’re training, so that it’s easier for you to train by not having to rack your brain to remember when your next high-intensity interval is supposed to start.


After the last low intensity interval, you’re going to cool down for 5 mins at 40 steps per minute.


Cooling down will prevent your muscles from getting stiff and help with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).



Points to consider


·    Following a 20 min HIIT routine 4 times a week is enough. Anything more can lead to over training and injuries.


·    You need to go all out during the high intensity part. If your heart rate is not high enough, you won’t burn fat efficiently.



Stairmaster LISS workout

Stairmaster LISS workout

You start with a 5 – 10 minute warm-up to raise your heart rate.


Once you’ve successfully raised your heart rate, you can begin your LISS workout by bringing your heart rate down to 100 – 120 BPM.


Keep it in this zone for the duration of your workout.


50 steps per minute is usually a good bet to keep your heart between 100 – 120 BPM.


You can adjust the step speed lower or higher depending on what you need to keep your heart rate in that zone.


After 30 minutes, reduce the speed to 30 steps per minute for a 5-minute cool down.


Points to consider


·      While working out, make sure your heart rate is within the 100-120 bpm range. Anything lower and your workout won’t be as effective.


·      Since most Stairmaster monitors are inaccurate, invest in a heart rate monitor to measure your daily progress.


·      A typical LISS workout should last anywhere between 30- 90 mins. You can stick with a 30 min workout in the first week and gradually move on to 45 min workouts in the second week and so on.



Which to choose



Is HIIT right for you?


HIIT workouts need you to have a certain level of fitness as a prerequisite. 


HIIT is the way to go if you don’t have a lot of time to workout, but your body is still in decent enough condition to put it through a hurricane of a workout for 15 minutes.

What you can notice from the graph above is that HIIT workouts help you burn calories 65% faster than LISS, so if you don’t have a lot of time, HIIT is the answer for you. 


Furthermore, with EPOC, you are not only burning calories in the gym but also hours after you are actually done with your workout.    

Stairmaster requirements for HIIT


You need a Stairmaster that can increase its level or speed in under 5 seconds, which would require a motor of 3.0 CHP or higher. 


This is imperative for your workout to be truly HIIT. 


If you have a low intensity interval of 30 seconds at 30 steps per minute and the Stairmaster takes around 20 seconds to ramp up to level 120 steps per minute, you have already missed out the majority of your low intensity interval. 


Keep this in mind when buying or using a Stairmaster for HIIT.


Stairmaster SM3 is a good option with a powerful motor, which is both space and budget friendly.



Is LISS right for you?


If you’re just starting out and have adequate time to train, LISS is a better choice for you than HIIT since it is easier to continue challenging yourself through LISS

This graph is a representation of the number of calories you burn per minute with HIIT and LISS workouts on the Stairmaster.


Furthermore, you should stick to LISS if your goal is not just losing weight but also:


  • Training for endurance
  • Rehabilitation after injury


LISS workouts help you condition your body for long periods of not-so strenuous physical activity like walking, power walking, and slow jogging.


It is also a great way for morbidly obese people and people recovering from injuries, to condition themselves before graduating onto trying HIIT workouts. 


With LISS you need to dedicate at least 30 – 90 mins a day for 5 days a week to actually see changes.


It might seem a little difficult, but consistency is key when it comes to LISS and you will sustain the progress you make as you are creating a lifestyle change.


Stairmaster requirements


Unlike the HIIT workouts, you don’t really need your Stairmaster to have a certain level of acceleration for LISS. 


However, if you’re going to buy a Stairmaster and mostly do LISS, choose one that is power-efficient and quiet because chances are you’ll be using it for relatively long periods of time.



Why I chose the Stairmaster to tone legs.


“Toning” your thighs is basically another term for losing fat and gaining muscle in your thighs.


Most cardio machines help you lose fat, but the exercises you do on them are too low-impact to stimulate growth in your muscles.


The difference between the Stairmaster and treadmill, elliptical, etc. is that the Stairmaster requires you to climb stairs, and that is not low impact.


Therefore, the stairmaster helps add and retain muscle while you’re cutting fat, which helps you achieve the toned thighs you came here for.


Stairmaster vs Treadmill calories


Alright, here is the bottom line.

The Stairmaster is a great tool to develop muscle in your thighs while doing cardio to burn fat.

Whether you want to do that through HIIT or LISS is your choice.

But it will come down to your mindset and the time your lifestyle allows you to train.

If you just can’t will yourself to walk on the Stairmaster for long, HIIT will put you out of your misery fast but hard.

And if you want to take it easy and do your cardio the longer but less intense way, LISS will give you the same results.

In either case, get your butt up and march it to the Stairmaster!




1 Comment

Leave a comment