Discover TikTok’s latest obsession – a slowburner cardio routine that promises to fire up your abs.
Let’s face it – sometimes, it can be hard to know what to do at the gym. Without a specific plan, you may find yourself aimlessly hopping on the treadmill or elliptical on cardio day and simply go for it.
While working out without a set plan is still great for your physical and mental health, it can also be nice to follow a more regimented fitness plan. A well-defined routine can help you to set goals and stay motivated. Luckily, TikTok has no shortage of fun workouts to try.
The latest is the 25-7-2 StairMaster trend. It’s a surprisingly simple routine that promises to not only help you work up a sweat but also to target your abs – with no crunches involved.
We spoke to a few experts about the real benefits of this workout and to find out if it really does help to tone your abs?
What is the 25-7-2 trend, anyway?
The trend began with Camilla Abkas, aka @shutupcamilla on TikTok. In a viral video that showed her on the StairMaster, she explained that the workout had proven to be an amazing ab strengthener.
Her routine is pretty simple:
- Set the Stairmaster to level 7
- Step for 25 minutes. “No hands is key,” she writes
- Complete the workout twice a week
The experts weigh in on the benefits of 25-7-2
The StairMaster is widely known to offer a solid low-impact cardio workout that can target the legs and glutes. Studies have shown that using the StairMaster is a good alternative to running and other cardio machines.
One study found that it had similar effects on the cardiorespiratory system to the treadmill and elliptical machine. Another study found that the StairMaster also had similar effects to the treadmill on aerobic capacity after nine weeks of training.
So, the StairMaster does offer a good aerobic workout. But what about this particular routine?
“The StairMaster is a physically challenging activity requiring both cardiorespiratory endurance and leg muscle power – it’s a fun and functional way of getting people moving, which is fantastic,” says Mike Chadwick, a tactical fitness coach, former paratrooper and author of The Red On Revolution.
In addition to being a great low-impact cardio workout, the main benefits of the 25-7-2 trend are that you will build up endurance and leg muscle strength.
However, like any TikTok fitness trend, you probably shouldn’t expect it to do more than any other similar workout. “How beneficial it is really depends on your goals,” says trainer Stef Williams. “If the workout gets you moving your body then great, but it’s a mistake to think that it will lead to increased muscle gain benefits over other workouts.”
As for working out your abdominals, which the workout claims to be able to do, Williams isn’t convinced. “I know it’s heralded as a trick to get abs or something like that, but ultimately how visible your abs are comes down to your body fat percentage.”
“As a former fitness instructor and StairMaster aficionada in my 20s, I get why this is a TikTok trend,” says Edwige Gilbert, qualified yoga and aerobic fitness instructor and author of New Life Directions. “I can see how this workout can be beneficial and could activate core strength, because of the engagement of the hip flexor muscles and the focus on balance. However, from my professional experience, I believe that traditional exercise modalities such as pilates and even yoga would target the abdominal region more efficiently.”
And while Chadwick notes that stabilising yourself on the StairMaster requires using your abdominal muscles, the main effect of the workout will be strengthening your glutes, thighs and calves.
How to perform this workout safely
While this workout is relatively safe, it can lead to injury if done incorrectly.
“Our body’s ability to ascend requires high levels of glute activation and strength in order to extend at the hip continuously,” says Chadwick. “Safe and constant ability to climb also depends on our ability to create stiffness at our midsection through core stability.”
As we tire, the stability through the midline can start to waver, and Chadwick suggests this could lead to hip or knee irritation or injury. “To mitigate the risk and to keep up with a great trend to get people moving, it’s important you warm up with some glute activation and to begin bombproofing your core to help your body remain upright and safe through core stability work prior to conducting the StairMaster challenge twice a week.”
Is this trend for you?
Ultimately, this trend is like most other TikTok trends — useful if you need some motivation or a sense of community to get yourself moving your body, but probably not a life-changing routine. And as the experts note, there is rarely any ‘hack’ that can really transform your body. Instead, try to focus on how a bi-weekly 25-minute Stairmaster session leaves you feeling.