The stair climber at the gym is a great way to get in shape. Although it may look difficult, it is well worth the effort. This machine is often used by high school and college coaches to help their athletes stay in shape.

What Is A Stair Climbing Workout?

The intensity of your stair climbing workout will depend on your current fitness level and what your goals are. If you are just starting out, you may want to try walking up a single flight of stairs in your home or office. For a more vigorous workout, you can try running up every flight of stairs in every section of an entire football stadium.

The following factors can determine what type of stair climbing workout is best for you:


The mode of stairs you use for your workout is determined mainly by what is available to you.

Options for stair workouts include:

  • Basic steps in your home
  • Stadium stairs at a local stadium
  • Extended flights of stairs at an office building or skyscraper
  • Portable, single-tier aerobic steps for up and down stair stepping
  • Stair machines with pedals that go up and down
  • Stair-climbing machines with revolving steps that you climb continuously 

Climbing stairs is more of a cardio and strengthening workout than walking down the stairs. However, when it comes to stair workout, in most cases, “what goes up must come down,” meaning that you’ll have to run or walk down any type of stairs you are climbing for your workout.

The exception when it comes to stair climbing exercise machines is that they provide a more challenging workout. The reason for this is that you don’t get the relative rest that you would usually get when you have to walk or run back down the stairs before climbing up again.

If you want your cardio workout to be as effective as possible, use a stair climber at the gym.


While climbing stairs, you have the option to walk, jog, or run. The intensity of your workout depends on your speed; the faster you go, the more intense the workout. If you want to burn more calories, try running up and down the stairs instead of walking them briskly.

Beginners should start with brisk stair walking because it is a relatively high-intensity exercise and the risk of injury and falls increases with a faster pace.


You can tailor your stair climbing workout to last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on factors like your fitness level and how intense you want your workout to be.

HIIT workouts that include stair climbing can be excellent exercise. During the high-intensity intervals, you can run, jog, or walk briskly up the stairs, and use the descent back to the bottom as the natural, built-in recovery interval.

The following is a workout routine for beginners who want to see the benefits of stair climbing. Workout for 10-20 minutes at a comfortable pace. As your fitness improves, slowly increase the duration and speed of your workout.

Modifying Stair Workouts

If you have trouble with your balance or coordination, or you’re not in good shape, you can hold onto the railing to help you go up and down the stairs safely.

If you are using a stair-stepping exercise machine, you can improve your workout by not holding the handrails.

To make your stair-climbing workout more difficult, you can try running or climbing at a brisker pace, or adding resistance by wearing a weighted vest.

Stair Climber Benefits

Climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator can be beneficial for your health, fitness, and weight loss. This simple change can help you be more active, burn more calories, and improve your leg strength. Additionally, it can give you a boost of energy when you’re feeling tired.

Climbing stairs provides numerous physical and mental health benefits.

The benefits of climbing stairs include better cardiovascular health, stronger legs, and a tighter behind.

Here are just a few of the benefits you can look forward to from using a stair stepper.

Easy to Learn

The stair climber is easy to use, even if you are new to the gym. To use the stair climber, simply stand on the platform and hold onto the handrails. Start by gently stepping up with one foot, and then follow with the other. The machine will provide resistance to help tone your legs as you move.

You can control the speed at which the stairs move, but generally, you want to start at a slow to moderate pace so you don’t get too tired too quickly. It’s important to focus on your form when using the stair climber, so be sure to keep your chest up, shoulders back, and back straight.

Low Impact

If you’re experiencing pain in your knees, hips, or ankles, it may be best to avoid the treadmill today and use a machine that’s easier on your joints. A stair climber is a good cardio alternative, as long as you keep a moderate pace so you’re not running up the stairs. You can also use the handlebars to take some of the weight off your lower body.

Swimming and cycling are also both excellent choices for a low-impact workout.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

If you spend just a few minutes on a stair climber, you’ll quickly see why it’s such a good cardio workout. Your pulse will rise and your breathing will become heavier. This type of workout will strengthen your heart and lungs by making them work harder, which will improve your overall aerobic fitness and potentially your heart health.

In one study, researchers recruited 15 women and found that stair climbing improved their cholesterol and VO2max.

Strengthens Muscles

Your stair climber workout will be successful if you feel like your legs are jelly by the end. That would be some of the largest and most powerful muscles in your body, including your:

  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads
  • Calves
  • Core

The stair climber is an excellent means of improving the muscular endurance of your core and lower body, but only if you maintain good posture throughout the exercise. Use your muscles 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. They are lowering the stair stepper benefits.

You can tone your lower body by keeping a strong form and tightening your glutes, thighs, and core.

Burns Calories

The stair climber can help you burn a lot of calories, as it works some of the biggest muscles in your body. Harvard Health Publishing has suggested that, in a half-hour workout session, you can burn anywhere from 180 to 250 calories. This number will differ based on how fast you go, as well as weight, age, and metabolic rate.

More Fitness in Less Time

Working out on a stair climber is tough, but generally speaking, the harder the workout, the more calories you’ll burn. This makes the stair climber a great choice for people who don’t have a lot of time to spend at the gym, or who want to get the most out of their workout in a short amount of time. For example, taking ten steps on a stair climber is roughly the same as taking 38 steps on level ground. So if you use a stair climber instead of a flat treadmill, you’ll get four times the workout in the same amount of time as you would walking on flat ground.

Functional Movement

Stair climbing is a movement that is similar to movements you do in your everyday life. Adding functional movements to your workout routine can help you stay healthy as you get older. For example, if you want to be able to stay in a house with stairs after you retire, regular stair climbing workouts can help you stay strong enough to do that.

Improved Balance and Coordination

Regular stair climbing can help improve 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. This also helps exercise stabilizer muscles in your foot and ankle to keep yourself balanced.

Reduces Your Risk of Lifestyle Diseases 

Physical activity has been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Walking up and down stairs after a meal can lower blood sugar levels.

Other research has shown that stair climbing can decrease the chance of death from any cause.

In other words, the more stairs a person climbed on a daily basis, the lower their risk of death was. Furthermore, stair climbing was more effective at reducing the risk of death than simply walking.

Those who were more active had a lower mortality rate.

Offers Many Different Workouts

If you assumed that you could only use a stair stepper in one way, you are mistaken. Once you are used to climbing stairs at a moderate speed, you can start to get creative. There are different stair climbing programs that you can use, but that is just the beginning. You can also incorporate a stair climber into your workout in other ways.

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 – Squat to parallel on the stair climber and slowly climb while maintaining the squat position. Your quads will burn at 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 Climbing Workout Tips And Ideas For Beginners

If you are new to stair climbing workouts, the following tips may be helpful:

  • Wear supportive shoes with an anti-slip sole.
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks to prevent blisters.
  • Use well-lit stairs to aid visibility.
  • Place your entire foot on the step platform for added stability.
  • Vary your stair climbing workouts by changing the intensity or pace and modifying the duration by sometimes going by minutes and other times by the number of flights or steps.
  • Try to stay light and quick on your feet.
  • Stop if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, extremely breathless, or experience pain.
  • Use upbeat music to keep you motivated and set a vigorous pace.
  • Have fun and be proud of yourself! Even a short stair climbing workout is fantastic for your health.

Whether you have an hour to spare or only 20 minutes, let’s get started!


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Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

She is the creator of the Elegant Eating Solution, an affordable program that helps women avoid weight regain and feel great about themselves, without restrictive eating.

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