This Fat-Burning Stepmill HIIT Workout Only Takes 20 Minutes

The stepmill is a great tool to burn calories quickly.
Image Credit: M_a_y_a/E+/GettyImages

Anyone that tells you they love the stepmill is probably bluffing (at least a little). After all, the general disdain for stairs is why elevators were invented, right? But in the stepmill's defense, this piece of equipment is excellent for burning calories and building cardiorespiratory fitness.

Video of the Day

Yep, regular stair climbing can help boost your heart and lung health, according to a September 2019 study published in Preventative Medicine Reports. It's can also be beneficial to your bone health, helping increase your bone density, especially in post-menopausal women, according to Duke University. Plus, stair climbing can help support healthy joint and muscle function.


In comparison to other forms of exercise, the stairs are pretty tough to beat. When measured against walking, stair climbing is the more demanding exercise, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Climbing stairs is twice as difficult as brisk walking and 50 percent more challenging than walking on an incline.

"I personally prefer the Stairmaster because it allows me to keep my heart rate higher through the entire session, increasing the cardiovascular challenge," says Carolina Araujo, certified personal trainer. "It is also a great way to help lean out the lower body."


If you're looking to torch calories in a short amount of time, try Araujo's stepmill HIIT workout may do the trick. Do each round in order, repeating twice before moving on to the next one.

Check out more of our **20-minute workouts here** — we’ve got something for everyone.

Round 1: Stairs + Burpees

1. Stepmill: Climb at level 6 for 1 minute.

2. Stepmill: Climb at level 8 to 10 for 1 minute.

3. Burpees


  1. Stand with your legs at hip distance, arms at your sides.
  2. Bend over and place your palms on the ground, directly beneath your shoulders.
  3. Shoot your legs straight out behind your body, landing in a high plank.
  4. Jump your legs back in to meet your hands.
  5. Use the momentum of your legs to jump up into the air, raising your arms above your head.
  6. As you land back on your feet, launch right into the next rep, placing your hands back on the ground.
  7. Repeat this move for 30 seconds.


If you want to make your burpees even more challenging, drop into a push-up from your high plank before jumping your feet back to your hands.

Round 2: Stairs + Push-Ups

1. Stepmill: Climb at level 6 for 1 minute.


2. Stepmill: Climb at level 10 to 12 for 1 minute.

3. Push-Ups

  1. Begin in a high plank, hands directly beneath your shoulders, legs straight out behind you. Avoid sagging or hiking your hips and try to keep your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  2. Keeping your elbows at about a 45-degree angle from your ribs, bend at the elbows and lower toward the ground until you hover close to the floor.
  3. On an exhale, press back to high plank.
  4. Repeat this move for 30 seconds.


If standard push-ups feel to challenging or if you begin to fatigue before the 30 seconds are up, drop to your knees and perform a modified version of this exercise. Keep your hips in line with your shoulders.

Read more: How to Lose Belly Fat With These 7 Cardio Workouts

Round 3: Stairs + Jump Squats

1. Stepmill: Climb at level 6 for 1 minute.

2. Stepmill: Climb at level 10 to 12 for 1 minute, skipping every other step.

3. Jump Squats

  1. Begin with your legs at shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides.
  2. Lower into a squat, sending the hips back and bending at the knees. Keeping your back flat and shoulders back and lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. On an exhale, jump up into the air, swinging your arms up to gain momentum.
  4. Land back into your squat and rebound quickly back into the air.
  5. Repeat this move for 30 seconds.


If the standard jump squat is too challenging, you can perform squat pulses instead. As you squat, come halfway up to standing, then lower back down to the full squat. Pulse here for 30 seconds.

Round 4: Stairs + Wall Sit

1. Stepmill: Climb at level 8 for 1 minute.

2. Stepmill: Climb at level 12 to 14 for 1 minute, skipping every other step.

3. Wall Sit

  1. Lean against a wall with your back flat.
  2. Bend your knees, keeping your back against the wall, and lower into a squat.
  3. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground and pause here for 30 seconds.
  4. Keep your arms at your sides and avoid placing your palms on your thighs for extra help.


To make your wall sit more difficult, loop a resistance band around your legs above your knees. Or hold two dumbbells in your hands and perform biceps curls for a full-body exercise.

Read more: How to Do HIIT Treadmill Workouts — Plus, a 25-Minute Routine to Try