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4 Stepmill Workouts to Up Your Cardio Game

The stepmill is a great way to sneak in an amazing HIIT training session without a trainer or a fitness class. You’ll firm and tone your booty and finish your workout feeling sweaty and like you actually accomplished something.

Try incorporating this cardio session into your usual routine one to three times per week for best results. If you don’t have access to a stepmill, you can hit the bleachers at a stadium or climb the stairs at home.

Get the Most From Your Stepmill Workout

Whether you’re new to the stepmill or have used it for years, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to maximize your time and energy. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Ensure your shoulders are back and you’re holding onto the side rails lightly.
  • Start slowly at first.
  • Be careful when getting on and off — the steps move!
  • Focus on engaging your glutes and quads with each step.
  • Engage your core, and don’t let your knee go past your toe when stepping up to the next step.
  • Ideally, you’ll be able to look straight ahead while stepping, but you’ll probably want to begin by looking down at the steps to get the rhythm.
  • When you’re sidestepping, make sure your top foot is at a 45-degree angle (toe pointing slightly back toward your lower foot).
  • Stay light on your toes during the sprint sessions.
  • Push hard through your heels to activate your glutes on the slower intervals.

NOTE: Some stepmills have an intensity range of 1 to 10, others have a scale of 1 to 50. So just base your intensity on how you feel (think heart rate and how hard you’re pushing yourself). For the purposes of these workouts, think of 10 as being the most difficult (like sprinting up a hill) and 1 being the easiest (walking down the street).

1. Long and Lean

Length: 25 minutes

  • Warm up for eight minutes at an intensity of 5.
  • Climb for 30 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Climb for 30 seconds at an intensity of 8.
  • Take it down to an intensity of 6 and skip a step for 60 seconds.
  • Sidestep facing the left for 90 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Take it down to an intensity of 6 and skip every other step for 90 seconds.
  • Sidestep facing the right for 90 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Climb for 30 seconds at an intensity of 8.
  • Skip every other step for 20 seconds at an intensity of 9.
  • Climb for two minutes at an intensity of 5.
  • Skip a step for 90 seconds at an intensity of 6.
  • Sprint for 30 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Climb for 90 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Step and lift your opposite leg behind you for 90 seconds at an intensity of 3.
  • Climb for two minutes at an intensity of 5.
  • Cool down for three minutes at an intensity of 3.

2. Seriously Strong

Length: 25 minutes

  • Warm up for eight minutes at an intensity of 5.
  • Run up the steps for 30 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Recover for 60 seconds at an intensity of 3.
  • Run up the steps for 30 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Recover for 60 seconds at an intensity of 3.
  • Sidestep facing the left side for 90 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Sidestep facing the right side for 90 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Climb the stairs from a low squat position for 60 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Recover for 60 seconds at an intensity of 3.
  • Skip every other step for 30 seconds at an intensity of 9.
  • Lunge as you step up for two minutes at an intensity of 5.
  • Recover for 30 seconds at an intensity of 3.
  • Sidestep with leg lift facing the right for 90 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Run up the steps for 30 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Sidestep with leg lift facing the left for 90 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Cool down for three minutes at an intensity of 3.

3. All About the Glutes

Length: 25 minutes

  • Warm up for eight minutes at an intensity of 5.
  • Run up the stairs, skipping every other step, for 45 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Recover for 60 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Climb the stairs from a low squat position for 60 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Recover for 60 seconds at an intensity of 3.
  • Climb backward (hold on!) for 90 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Climb for two minutes at an intensity of  7, staying light on your feet.
  • Recover for 60 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Skip every other step for 30 seconds at an intensity of 9.
  • Recover for 60 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Climb the stairs from a low squat position for two minutes at an intensity of 5.
  • Skip every other step for two minutes at an intensity of 5.
  • Run up the stairs for 60 seconds at a 7.
  • Cool down for three minutes at an intensity of 3.

4. Cardio Crusher

Length: 15 minutes

  • Warm up for three minutes at an intensity of 5.
  • Do high knees up the stairs for 45 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Recover for 30 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Skip a stair and lift your leg behind you for 60 seconds at a 6.
  • Recover for 30 seconds at an intensity of 5.
  • Climb for two minutes at an intensity of 6.
  • Side step facing the right for 60 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Side step facing the left for 60 seconds at an intensity of 7.
  • Recover for 45 seconds at an intensity of 3.
  • Sprint up the stairs for 30 seconds at an 8.
  • Recover for 45 seconds at an intensity of 3.
  • Run up the stairs for 30 seconds at an 8.
  • Cool down for three minutes at a 3.
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About the Author

Holly Roser is a certified Personal Trainer and a certified Sports Nutritionist in New York City and San Francisco. She has 13 years of experience in fitness, including 10 personal training certifications. Holly’s mission is to fight against the climbing obesity rates in America by encouraging people of all ages to start with small steps towards a healthy life. Holly is regularly featured in the top websites and broadcasts in the country as a fitness personality. Her unique training style and infectious spirit have captured the audiences of the Dr. Oz Show, Self Magazine, Shape Magazine, Men’s Fitness Magazine, Prevention Magazine, The Washington Post, NY1 News, KTLA, Livestrong.com, EHow.com, Brides Magazine among others. She is proud to be a fitness writer for Livestrong.com, delivering the latest workouts to busy professionals.

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