EōS Fitness Stairmaster gym equipment

10 Stair Climber Benefits & Workouts

You’ve almost certainly noticed the StairMaster®, sometimes called a stair climber, at your gym. You’ll usually see others chugging up those stairs, breathing like a steam engine with their faces dripping sweat—but know that that’s the entire point. Despite the challenge, the rewards of a stair climber workout are well worth the effort.

Why do you think Rocky bounded up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art when he was getting into the best shape of his life? That doesn’t mean you need to be training for a fight to enjoy the long list of stair climber benefits. Instead, jump on, start climbing, and enjoy the workout of your life with one of many great stair climber workouts.


The stair climber is a machine designed to simulate the act of climbing stairs. The function of this machine basically makes it like the treadmill of stairs. Like a treadmill, the machine has a rotating walkway, just with stairs instead of a flat belt. This rotating stairway allows you to continuously climb at a range of speeds and levels of intensity. All the while, it works out your largest leg muscle groups and offers many benefits.


While on the stair climber, you push into your feet with each step, using the muscles in your legs to push your body weight up. The machine targets the major muscle groups in your legs, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Stair climber workouts can also help work your core as you use your abs and lower back to keep yourself stable as you climb.


Sure, stairs are intuitive enough, but the stair climber is different from just any staircase. The stair climber features multiple levels of resistance and speeds to work with. Many offer the option to choose different workouts from the screen and simulate various experiences.

No matter what stair climber workout variation you choose, follow these steps to begin using the stair climber:

  1. Step onto the machine and hold the bars for stability and support.
  2. Press “Start” on the machine and begin following the motion of the steps.
  3. Adjust the speed and resistance based on your preference and ability level.
  4. Keep your posture in check by keeping your back straight without leaning or slouching.
  5. Make sure to keep your knees in line with your feet as you step, and don’t allow them to cave in or out.


The stair climber is one of the most well-rounded workout options as it provides benefits for everything from strength and endurance to balance and coordination. Here are just a few of the key stair climber benefits you can look forward to,


If you’ve ever climbed a set of stairs before, you pretty much know how to use the stair climber. This machine is user-friendly for nearly all levels of exercisers, even if you’re new to the gym. That said, if you struggle with mobility or balance, then it’s best to stay on flat ground.

When the machine is turned on, the stairs begin to move, forcing you to climb in order to keep up. During your first stair climber workout, start at a slow or moderate pace. You’ll feel the burn quickly. Focus on your form. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and your back straight to get the most stair climber benefits.


Are your knees, hips, or ankles warning you to skip the treadmill today and use a machine that’s a little gentler on your joints? One of the most exciting stair climber benefits is that it is a relatively low-impact cardio alternative. The workout is especially low impact if you maintain a moderate pace so that you aren’t jogging or running up the stairs. You can also use the handlebars to take a little weight off your lower body.


After just a few minutes on the stair climber, you’ll learn quickly why this is a good cardio workout. You’ll feel your pulse rise and your breathing increase. Climbing stairs will strengthen your heart and lungs, forcing them to become more efficient each time you perform a stair climber workout. Not only will you improve your overall aerobic fitness, but you may also improve your heart health.

A British Journal of Sports Medicine study recruited 15 women and assigned one group to climb stairs daily. By the end of the study, the women were climbing a nearly 200-step staircase five times a day. The study found that compared to the non-stair-climbing control group, the stair climbers dropped their cholesterol by an average of 7.7% and saw a 17% improvement in how efficiently their bodies used oxygen.


You’ll know your stair climber workout was successful when, by the end of it, your legs feel like jelly. Stair climber workouts are an effective means of improving the muscular endurance of your core and lower body, but only if you maintain good posture throughout the exercise. Use your core, including your abs, external obliques, and intercostals (muscles that help stabilize your upper body), to keep your chest up and your back straight.

You may see other exercisers gripping the handles of the stair climber, hunched over as they read a magazine or check their email on their phone. These habits can have an overall negative impact on stair climber workout benefits. Instead, by keeping a strong form, you can sculpt your lower body, tighten up your glutes, thighs, and core, and maximize those stair-stepper benefits.


Big muscle groups burn a lot of calories, and stair climbers work some of the biggest muscles in your body. That results in a huge calorie bonfire every time you begin your climb. Research from Harvard Health Publishing has suggested that a stair climber workout can burn anywhere from 180 to 250 calories per half-hour session. The faster you go, the more calories you’ll burn. Keep in mind that you’ll burn a different amount of calories depending on a number of factors, including weight, age and metabolic rate.


Reaching those stair climber benefits can be tough, but, in many cases, the more difficult the challenge, the more calories you’ll burn. As a result, a stair climber workout is a great option for exercisers who only have a limited amount of time at the gym or who want to get the best and quickest workout.

For example, taking ten steps on a stair climber is roughly comparable to 38 steps on level ground. That means using the stair climber instead of walking on a flat treadmill can give you four times the workout in the same amount of time.


Stair climbing is known as a “functional” or “natural” movement, meaning that it mimics movements you perform in everyday life. Integrating functional movements into your workout routines can boost your quality of life into your golden years. If you want to stay in a home with stairs long after retirement, or just feel more comfortable getting around, a regular stair climber workout can help you maintain that functionality.


Sticking with the theme of maintaining a good quality of life, stair climber benefits include improving your balance and coordination, which will help you stay mobile for longer. Each time you climb a stair, you are briefly balancing on one leg. Stair climbing also helps build up those stabilizer muscles in your foot and ankle to keep yourself balanced.


A Harvard Health Alumni Study of more than 8,000 older men found an association between higher rates of climbing stairs and a lower rate of death from all causes. This correlation isn’t surprising. The list of stair climber benefits features both resistance and cardio training, which has been shown to improve overall health and well-being. If you want to enjoy more days of good health, a stair climber could be your new bestie.


Did you assume that there was only one way to use a stair stepper? Then, you have much to learn, young grasshopper. Once you are comfortable climbing stairs at a moderate pace, it’s time to get creative. Stair climbers offer different stair climbing programs you can use, but that’s only the beginning of enjoying the stair climber workout benefits.

You can up the ante by performing side steps, skipping steps, or walking backward to activate different parts of your muscles and challenge your coordination. You can also perform:

  • Squat steps – Turn your body parallel to the stair climber and slowly climb while maintaining a squat position. Your quads will burn in the moment but thank you later.
  • Sumo steps – Take exaggerated steps to the right and left as you walk on the stair climber to work the outer glute and thigh.
  • Alternate leg raises – As you step up with one leg, kick the alternate leg behind you. Squeeze your glute at the top of each kick. This will add extra glute work to your stair climber workout and activate your lower back.

Stair climbers can also be incorporated into cardio circuit workouts and high-intensity interval training workouts


With these 10 stair climber benefits in mind, are you ready to start hitting the stairs? Check out these three stair climber workout options that will get your climb on.


The stairway to heaven workout targets all around your legs with different motions for an unforgettable workout. Perform three rounds of the following steps:

  • 1-minute stair climb at a moderate pace
  • 1-minute backward climb. Keep the pace slow and hold onto the handles for balance if needed.
  • 1-minute side steps. Perform 30 seconds on each side. Keep your pace slow and hold onto the handles if needed.
  • 30-second fast climb forward
  • 1-minute rest


The cardio circuit workout keeps your heart rate up throughout the session to boost your heart and lung endurance. Perform three full rounds of these steps:

  • 2 minutes on a stationary bike
  • 2 minutes on the stair climber
  • 2 minutes on the rower
  • 2 minutes of burpees
  • 2 minutes of rest

You can adapt this stair climber workout depending on your preferred workout level:

  • Beginner: Slow pace on all equipment. Cut time to 1:30 for each exercise if needed.
  • Intermediate: Moderate pace on all equipment
  • Advanced: Challenging pace on all equipment. Cut rest between rounds to one minute.


Interval training, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), has you switch between varying intensity levels as you exercise. This option is great for mixing up your workout and boosting your cardiovascular health. Perform five rounds of the following steps, depending on your skill level:

  • Stair climber squat steps
  • Bear crawl sprints
  • Medicine ball slams
  • Rowing sprint
  • Butterfly sit-ups

Adjust your intervals based on your preferred workout intensity by breaking down the exercises in one of the following ways:

  • Beginner: 20 seconds “on” at fast speed, 40 seconds of rest
  • Intermediate: 30 seconds “on” at fast speed, 30 seconds of rest (active rest optional)
  • Advanced: 40 seconds “on” at fast speed, 20 seconds of active rest


Stair climbers are expensive, and they can take up a lot of space, so you may prefer not to buy one for your home. If you still want to enjoy the many stair climber benefits, you can find this machine at most EōS Fitness locations. Here, you can sculpt your lower body, improve your heart health, and burn heaps of calories when you perform stair climber exercises.

When you sign up for a membership at EōS Fitness, you get access to a Complimentary Welcome Workout with a Personal Trainer. During the Welcome Workout, ask the Personal Trainer to introduce you to the stair climber and other cardio machines so you can build a workout that meets your goals.

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