What Muscles Does The Stairmaster Work?

Many people skip the Stairmaster machine at the gym, mainly because it’s a tiring form of cardio. However, what are the advantages of a Stairmaster? For example, does it work any muscles? And if so, what muscles does the Stairmaster work?

The Stairmaster works various muscles in the body, mainly the lower body muscles. The Stairmaster works the quad, hamstring, glute, and calve muscles. Furthermore, the Stairmaster works the abdominal muscles. The Stairmaster is also a great way to do cardio and increase endurance.

Below we’ll explain the many advantages a Stairmaster has to offer and how often you should use the Stairmaster for maximum results. At a deeper level, we’ll explain what muscles the Stairmaster works and how to engage these muscles properly.

What Muscles Do You Train On The Stairmaster?

What muscles does the stairmaster work?

A Stairmaster is a modern and more convenient form of climbing stairs. The exercise is precisely the same. However, climbing stairs in an air-conditioned gym is much better than outside in the heat and sun. So, what muscles does a Stairmaster machine train?

The Stairmaster primarily works the lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. A Stairmaster machine also works the abdominal muscles.

How Does A Stairmaster Work The Quadriceps?

The quadriceps are the muscles in your upper front leg. These muscles are powerful, and the Stairmaster further trains them. When you step down on the Stairmaster, you drive your step through your quads. 

The higher the Stairmaster is set, the more force is required to step down. Therefore, you will get better results from the Stairmaster. Walking upright on the Stairmaster also helps you focus your training on your quads. 

How Does A Stairmaster Work The Hamstrings?

Another big muscle group the Stairmaster trains is the hamstrings or the back of the legs. When you pull your feet up on the Stairmaster, the hamstrings contract. The faster the Stairmaster is set, the quicker you must lift your feet to keep moving. This helps develop your hamstrings.

Walking with a quick pace and slightly forward places more focus on the hamstrings. The Stairmaster is one of the best cardio exercises if you want to train your hamstrings. 

How Does A Stairmaster Work The Glute Muscles?

The glutes are your body’s biggest muscles. Some exercises favor the quadriceps or hamstrings. However, the Stairmaster focuses equally on the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Glutes work in both directions on the Stairmaster when you push down and pull up. 

Leaning forward on the Stairmaster can further target the glutes, as will setting the glutes at a higher setting. 

How Does A Stairmaster Work The Calf Muscles?

The Stairmaster is also great for training the calve muscles. Calves are often neglected during training, which is an excellent advantage for a Stairmaster. To focus on your calves when walking on a Stairmaster, we recommend placing your weight on the balls of your feet and staying upright. 

As you can see, the Stairmaster works nearly all the muscles in the lower body, making this a perfect form of cardio if you want to lose weight and build lean muscle simultaneously.

How Does A Stairmaster Work The Abdominal Muscles?

In addition, to training most of the lower body, a Stairmaster also targets the abdominal and core muscles. When climbing the stairs, you need to balance yourself. This activates the core and stabilization muscles, which are also often neglected when working out. 

The best way to target the abdominal muscles on a stair master is to walk upright with your hands at your sides instead of holding on to the machine.

From this, you can see that the Stairmaster is an excellent form of cardio as it targets various muscles in the lower body while also engaging your abdominal muscles. However, what are the advantages of using a Stairmaster for cardio apart from targeting specific muscles?

What Are The Advantages Of The Stairmaster?

While the Stairmaster works quite a few muscles, you might still be curious to know the fitness advantages of using this machine. For example, why should you choose the Stairmaster instead of another cardio machine, such as a treadmill? 

See our comparison: treadmill vs stairmaster

Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few benefits of using a Stairmaster machine.

Below, we discuss 7 of them. Using a Stairmaster for the first time can be somewhat daunting. However, we suggest taking it slow at first. Then, once you get used to the feel of the machine, you can set it to a more challenging level. 

These are 7 benefits of using a Stairmaster:

1. Stairmaster Improves Cardiovascular Fitness

One great advantage of a Stairmaster is that it improves your cardiovascular fitness. Cardio or cardiovascular fitness refers to your heart and lung system’s fitness. The more cardio you do, the fitter you will become. A Stairmaster is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness because it is more challenging than a treadmill. 

You burn more calories when using a Stairmaster than you would by using a treadmill on the same intensity. One reason is that a Stairmaster combines cardio and resistance training, whereas a treadmill only focuses on improving your cardio.

The caveat, of course, is that you can sprint on a treadmill – which will burn even more calories than a stairmaster!

2. Stairmaster Improves Endurance

In addition to improving your cardiovascular health, a Stairmaster also improves your endurance. Setting a Stairmaster to a challenging speed or difficulty and finishing a 10- or 15-minute session takes some grit. Because the Stairmaster makes you out of breath and makes your muscles burn, it requires some endurance to complete a workout on a tough setting. 

However, the increased endurance gained from using a Stairmaster benefits all other areas of your health and fitness. For example, with increased endurance, you can push yourself harder when lifting weights or when running

3. Stairmaster Improves Muscle Tone

Because the Stairmaster targets the muscles in the lower body and abdomen, it also improves your muscle tone. A Stairmaster combines cardio and resistance training. Therefore, regular training on the Stairmaster can aid in weight loss and the addition of lean muscle mass. 

A Stairmaster helps sculpt and define your legs and glutes while also helping you to burn belly fat overall. Therefore, working out on a Stairmaster is more efficient than other cardio machines because it achieves more than one goal.

4. Stairmaster Improves Bone Density

Our bones lose density and become brittle and easy to break as we age. However, as bone is live tissue, you can help to strengthen it by working out. The resistance of a Stairmaster helps to improve your bone density, which prevents them from turning brittle and weak later in life.

In addition to improving bone density, living an active lifestyle helps your body manage conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Therefore, using the Stairmaster for cardio can significantly increase your quality of life as you age.

5. Stairmaster Improves Posture

Because the Stairmaster requires balance and engages your abdominal muscles, it also helps to improve your posture. It’s challenging to work out on a Stairmaster if you are slouching. Therefore, you will naturally stand up straighter while on the machine.

As your abdominal and stabilizer muscles improve, so too will your posture. Keep your back straight and tuck your pelvis while working out on the Stairmaster to help improve your posture faster and prevent injuries.

6. Stairmaster Improves Your Mood

Exercise releases endorphins or happy hormones. Therefore, when working out on a machine like the Stairmaster, your body will release these hormones, and you will feel happier. In addition, you will feel accomplished after completing a workout on the Stairmaster, which transfers positive energy into other aspects of your life.

In addition, exercise improves your quality of sleep and distracts you from the stress you feel at work or in other aspects of your life. This helps to improve your overall mood, making you feel happier and more accomplished. 

7. Stairmaster Helps Reduce Knee Pain

Another advantage of the Stairmaster is that it helps to reduce knee pain. Some other cardio machines, like the treadmill, are hard on your knees because of their constant impact when walking or running. However, a Stairmaster puts less strain on your knees. 

Another reason the Stairmaster helps to reduce knee pain is that it encourages blood flow to the legs and knees. Increased blood flow helps to repair injured and inflamed joints.

Because the Stairmaster adds resistance training for your lower body, it forces more blood into that area. Therefore, the Stairmaster can help treat and protect your knees.

Stairmaster training

How Often Should You Use The Stairmaster?

Ideally, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate to intense training per week, which results in thirty minutes of exercise per day for 5 days.

However, this doesn’t have to be the same exercise every day. We recommend incorporating Stairmaster sessions into your workout routine and including activities like strength training and stretching. 

Starting with a 5-to-10-minute Stairmaster session daily can be a great way to ease into using this cardio machine. Always do a warmup exercise before getting on the Stairmaster and take it slow at first to prevent injuries.

Then, track your performance when working out on the Stairmaster to see how your fitness, endurance, and strength increases as the weeks pass.

Why We Love The Stairmaster

The Stairmaster isn’t the most popular cardio machine. However, you can accomplish just as much with a half-hour Stairmaster session as you can with half an hour on the treadmill.

A Stairmaster combines cardio with resistance training and works the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quad muscles. In addition, the Stairmaster also targets the abdominal and stabilizer muscles. 

Working out on the Stairmaster has many advantages, such as improved endurance, better posture, and a better mood. We recommend you add a few Stairmaster sessions to your gym routine for a more rounded workout routine. 

Author Profile

Alex Randall

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Alex is the editor at Revel Sports. It was his idea to take our post-club-run chats and build a website out of them. He is responsible for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s when any of us have something to post. (Basically: it’s all his fault). A ferocious 5K powerhouse on his day, Alex is known for not understanding the meaning of the term ‘negative split‘.
Alex Randall

Revel SPorts Contributor

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