What is the 25-7-2 StairMaster workout? Fitness experts reveal benefits of the viral TikTok routine

There are so many benefits of the 25-7-2 StairMaster workout routine for weight loss, better fitness, and more

Closeup of woman stepping up a stairmaster, to represent the 25-7-2 StairMaster workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may have heard of the 25-7-2 StairMaster workout if you keep up to date with the latest in fitness trends. Although it started on TikTok, the workout has gone viral across social media for its impressive results and easy routine.

While walking and strength training are among the top workouts both in and out of the gym, traditional ways of going about them aren't for everyone. Not everyone enjoys spending even just an hour in the gym a couple of times a week - and that's totally fine. It's important to find an exercise you enjoy. However, cardiovascular fitness is important, as the experts will reveal, so getting in enough every week is essential. 

If you loved the 12-3-30 workout, we guarantee the 25-7-2 workout will be next on your list. It's ideal for anyone with limited time who wants to get a sweat on in under half an hour. Here, woman&home speaks to two personal trainers to reveal all you need to know about the workout, how to do it, and its benefits. 

What is the 25-7-2 StairMaster workout?

The 25-7-2 StairMaster workout is a great way to get more cardio exercise into your routine or start building up your fitness from scratch. It involves setting your StairMaster to level seven and climbing the machine for 25 minutes at a time, two days a week.

It was created by TikTok fitness influencer Camilla Akbas (@shutupcamilla) and designed to be a low-risk, low-impact cardio exercise focused on core stabilization and the muscles in the lower half of the body. 

In this way, it succeeds, says Arabella Featherstone, a leading fitness trainer and coach specializing in cardio programs. "Firstly, anything that gets people moving and getting more active is amazing, so trends like these are generally positive," she tells woman&home. "It works best for people who want to activate their glutes and get fitter, [and it's] a mix of resistance and cardio in one workout, so it's also good for fat loss."

All you need to do the workout is a StairMaster machine, which you'll find at most gyms, a good pair of running shoes, and at least 25 minutes in your day with a little more set aside for warming up and cooling down. As you'll be walking at the same incline and speed for the full 25 minutes, be sure to also pack a book, or come prepared with some music or podcasts on your phone. 

Woman climbing on a stairmaster machine

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to do the 25-7-2 StairMaster workout

  • Climb onto the StairMaster: Holding the rails on either side of the steps for support, step onto the staircase and climb up carefully. It's normal for the bottom step to move, so aim for the one above. 
  • Set the intensity to level seven: Increase the dial to level seven and see how that feels. If it's too difficult, lower the setting and start on a three or four. 
  • Start walking: "Inhale through the nose and exhale out of the mouth. Breathe deeply in a slow and controlled way," says Featherstone. "Try to exhale with every step up, which is the hardest part of the movement."  
  • Climb for 25 minutes: To get the most out of this time, you'll want to activate your glutes. "Lean slightly forward as you climb and push through your bum with each step. Make it mindful and work that mind-muscle connection," she says.  
  • Do the workout two days a week: This is more than enough to see progress in your fitness, the personal trainer tells us, but "to keep progressing, you’d want to increase the incline every time you notice it is getting easier, and ideally incorporate strength training into your routine as well." 

Benefits of the 25-7-2 StairMaster workout

1. It's a low-risk workout

"One thing that's beneficial about the StairMaster trend on TikTok is that it's pretty low-risk when it comes to risking injury," explains Featherstone. "Pretty much anyone of any fitness level could do it." 

This is partially because it's a very simple movement - provided you can continuously catch your footing on the moving staircase for 25 minutes, you'll be fine - and partially because it's a low-impact workout. Similar to walking (and other TikTok trends like soft hiking) and unlike running, the 25-7-2 StairMaster workout doesn't force the body to put a lot of impact through the legs, making it easier on the bones and joints. 

"Of course, if you do have pre-existing knee conditions or lower back issues, you may wish to use caution and check with your doctor that it won’t irritate it further," warns Emma Bord, a personal trainer and fitness expert who also specializes in HIIT and cardio-based workouts.

"That said, the way in which the motion of stair climbing strengthens all the muscles around the knees in a low-impact way may also benefit several knee issues and weaknesses," she adds. 

2. Works the glutes

The glutes are a group of three muscles that make up the buttocks and if you're looking to strengthen them, this could be the workout for you. "The StairMaster workout - in fact, any workout which includes walking or running on an incline - targets this very important muscle group," says Featherstone. "Due to the sedentary lifestyle many of us live these days, the glutes become very weak. They are a key muscle group for supporting your lower back though, and underactive glutes are one of the most common reasons people experience lower back pain. So, it’s great that this exercise helps to build strength in this area." 

It's also a benefit you'll feel almost immediately when you step onto the staircase, so be sure to work your way up to the full 25 minutes if you're not used to the intensity. 

3. Improves core strength, balance, and coordination

Long-term fitness is multi-faceted. It's all about improving areas across the body, from your balance to strength. As the 25-7-2 is a mix of strength training and cardio in one workout, and it requires those doing it to maintain their balance walking up the staircase, it's hugely beneficial for improving on this. 

"Stair climbing requires you to maintain balance as you climb, using your core and hip flexors to control the movements," explains Bord. "Furthermore, by taking your hands off the rails as you climb, your core will be further challenged and strengthened. It is also really important to maintain a good posture on the StairMaster, which inevitably requires you to engage your core." 

4. Improves fitness

With new discussions around fitness age and the importance of good cardiovascular fitness, as highlighted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, now is the perfect time to try a workout like this one. 

"Treadmill workouts or the cross trainer are normally the go-tos in the gym for a cardio workout, however, the stair master is an amazing option for a full cardio workout. It will get your blood pumping and increase your heart rate as your body works hard to fight gravity and climb the stairs," says PT Bord. "Let’s face it we have all got out of breath climbing stairs, so this workout is just a progression of that." 

5. Aids weight loss

As Featherstone says, any workout where you can get your heart rate up, sweat on, and keep moving will be beneficial for fat loss. Whether you want to lose a stone in a month or (as is recommended) lose weight sustainably over time, exercises like this that challenge the body and burn calories will be beneficial. 

Many of the calories we burn through the day come from the body's natural functioning like digesting food, sitting down, and breathing, and so on, alongside non-exercise movements like standing up. However, exercise still plays an important role if you want to get into a calorie deficit to lose weight. The 25-7-2 workout burns an average of 180 calories over 30 minutes for a 125-pound person, according to multiple sources. Naturally, this will be more or less depending on various factors, but it's a good place to start.  

Woman doing bicep curls with dumbells

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Is working out twice a week enough?

It's a good place to start, says personal trainer Emma Bord, but most public health bodies recommend exercising between three and five times per week. "The recommended amount of cardio per week is 150 minutes," she explains, split up across multiple days of the week. 

However, working out for 25 minutes on the StairMaster will certainly help you see progress, whatever your fitness goal. "The 25-7-2 workout provides a realistic amount of workout time each week that is achievable and in sticking to a plan like this where the muscles are working hard and the cardiovascular system is being pushed, there is no doubt fitness levels will improve," she says.

Tips for doing the 25-7-2 workout

  • Focus on your posture: "This is key, not only to avoid injuries but also to make sure you are using the muscles correctly so they will get the most out of the workout," says Bord. "You will want to keep your shoulders back and down and your core engaged to avoid hunching over, which in turn will switch on your glutes. In addition, it is really important to think about how you are stepping. Be sure to place the foot flat on each step in order to engage the whole leg." 
  • Take your hands off the rails: "To begin with, you may wish to use the bars just to steady yourself. However, in removing your hands, you will make your body work harder, particularly your core, and this will improve your balance and stability." 
  • Vary your workout: "Within the two 25-minute sessions change things up," Bord suggests. "You may turn it into a progressive climb, gradually increasing the intensity every 5 minutes. Alternatively, you could practice intervals, so one minute on and one minute off of hard and easy efforts which is a great way to challenge your cardiovascular system."
  • Take two steps at a time: "This is a great way to vary the session and provide a further challenge, both mentally and physically," she says. "Climbing two at a time will also work your glutes and inner thighs even harder than the standard climb." 
Grace Walsh
Health Channel Editor

Grace Walsh is woman&home's Health Channel Editor, working across the areas of fitness, nutrition, sleep, mental health, relationships, and sex. In 2024, she will be taking on her second marathon in Rome, cycling from Manchester to London (350km) for charity, and qualifying as a certified personal trainer.

A digital journalist with over six years experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace has covered (almost) everything in the world of health and wellbeing with bylines in Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more.