Stairmaster is probably one the best machines that can significantly benefit lower body muscle growth. It involves the whole lower body and targets almost all muscle groups in the legs.

This is a type of machine similar to a treadmill, but the only difference is that it has steps to it. 

This indoor electricity-powered exercise machine gives the feeling of stair climbing and is also called a stair climber. It mimics the movement of regular stair climbing in the manner of climbing steps on a high mountain.

Exercising on this machine has numerous muscle growth benefits, ranging from lower body muscles to hitting the core muscles. 

Furthermore, this stairmaster workout routine can also improve cardiovascular health. It provides strength benefits and contributes to losing weight by burning calories quickly.

Let us know how this exercise equipment is way more beneficial for the lower body. 

1. Does Stairmaster Build Muscle?

Young female athlete training alone on treadmill in modern gym
Image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels/ Copyright 2020

The step climber machine contributes to all lower body’s minor to major muscle groups. It is mainly a sort of workout equipment that directly hits the muscles of the legs and abdominal core muscles.

It is one of the cardio machines that is also advantageous for having great aerobic exercise and resistance training. 

This stair stepper is the best alternative to other cardio machines and helps those suffering from knee problems. It is an indoor substitute for those who do regular stair climbing outdoors.

  • It results in losing belly fat along with losing whole body fat. 
  • Stairclimbing equipment has very little to no effect on the upper body muscles. Only the shoulders, chest, and back muscles are involved in this exercise.

The staircase machine significantly impacts the lower body muscles and has a minor effect on the upper body. 

2. Muscle Groups That StairMaster Machine Stimulates

StairMaster Results: 4 Ways the Stair Machine Transforms Your Body

Nearly all lower body muscle groups are aimed during stair climbing. The thighs, calves, abs, butt, and lower back muscles are stimulated. People with thinner lower bodies can grow muscles by consistently exercising on the stairmaster.

2.1. Glutes

The glutes, also referred to as Gluteus maximus or butt, are the largest muscles of the human body that are exactly below the lower back. These muscles contract each step while we climb the stairs on the stair stepper.

It stretches and compresses, producing gluteus maximus activation and micro-muscle fiber tears to burn calories.

This area of muscles has extra layers of fat, such as belly fat. The constant movement and contraction of the glutes can burn fat as well as tone the powers of the butt.

Working out regularly on Stairmaster can make the glutes bigger and shred the unnecessary fat. 

2.2. Quadriceps

The quadriceps are the muscle group of the legs responsible for extending the legs upwards and inwards.

It is located on the front side of the legs; it is impossible to stand up without these muscles. The Stair climber machine is highly effective in growing these muscles. 

The climbing movement on the steps has a straight connection to the tightening of the quadriceps muscles.

These muscles are directly connected to the knee joints and are primarily functioned during stair climbing. Performing the stairclimber exercise will undoubtedly enhance the ability to squat and to do sit-ups. 

2.3. Hamstrings

man jogging
Image by kinkate from Pixabay/ Copyright 2017

The Hamstrings are the muscle group located in the back of the knees and connected to the glutes. These muscles move outwards when the legs are folded. Without hamstring muscles, the quadriceps muscles are useless as both depend on each other for range of motion.

People with a sedentary lifestyle and sitting on a chair for a prolonged period have their hamstring muscles shrunk. As a result, their posture and ability to walk straight gradually diminish.

So, it is crucial to work these muscles, and the best way to train hamstrings is by exercising on the stair climber.

 2.4. Calf Muscles

The calves are the muscle group below the knees behind the shin bone. These muscles are constantly involved even when we walk and work every time we run, jog, jump, and stand.

While we step on the stair climber, the calf muscles are contracted before other muscles.

2.5. Abdominal Muscles

Photo of Man With Muscular Body
Image by Pikx By Panther from Pexels/ Copyright 2018

Abdominal muscles include core muscles and serratus muscles covering the center and the sides of the stomach.

These muscles accumulate most of the body fat on the belly. This is the exact location of the forces wherein the fat forms first and leaves at last. 

Lower body movement is obligatory to lose body fat, and stair climbing is one of the best exercises for it. People who have weak abdominal walls by birth or by genetic factors can also take advantage of this Stairmaster machine to build up core strength and lose fat.

Can Stairmaster Achieve Balanced Lower-Body Muscles? Transformative Insights!

Andrew White, a certified personal trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the co-founder of advises incorporating Stairmaster into a workout routine for maximum benefits:

Impact of Stairmaster on Lower Body Muscles:

  • Targeted Muscle Groups: The Stairmaster primarily targets the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. It simulates the action of climbing stairs, which requires repeated lifting of the body’s weight against gravity.
  •  Endurance and Toning: It’s excellent for building muscular endurance and toning.

The constant stepping motion engages the lower body muscles continuously, which can lead to improved muscle tone and endurance over time.

Stairmaster for Well-Rounded Development:

  • Limitations: While effective for working out the lower body, the Stairmaster doesn’t provide the stimulus needed for significant muscle hypertrophy (increase in muscle size) like weight training does.

Its primary focus is on endurance.

  • Incorporating Strength Training: For well-rounded muscle development, it’s [crucial] to combine Stairmaster workouts with strength training exercises.

Squats, lunges, and deadlifts, f[or example], can complement the Stairmaster by building muscle strength and size.

Practical Insights:

  • Balanced Routine: Use the Stairmaster for cardiovascular and endurance training and allocate separate sessions for strength training. This balanced approach can lead to more comprehensive lower body development.
  • Progressive Overload: To continually challenge your muscles and encourage growth, progressively increase the resistance or duration on the Stairmaster. Combine this with progressively heavier lifts in your strength training.
  • Recovery: Adequate recovery is crucial, especially when combining high-intensity cardio with strength training. Ensure you’re allowing enough rest for your muscles to recover and grow.

Additional Benefits:

  • Cardiovascular Health: The Stairmaster provides an excellent cardiovascular workout, which [is] beneficial for overall health and fitness.
  • Fat Loss: It can be effective for burning calories and, when combined with a healthy diet, can aid in fat loss, revealing more muscle definition.

While the Stairmaster is highly effective for toning and endurance, it should be part of a broader workout regimen that includes strength training for comprehensive lower-body muscle development.

Andrew White
Andrew White

3. Boost Testosterone by Stairmaster

Stair climbing undoubtedly involves stimulating larger muscle groups that can increase testosterone levels naturally.

Additionally, it assists in balancing testosterone and estrogen.

  • The Stairmaster is an exercise that involves the natural mechanical movement of legs. 
  • This type of exercise can be compared with trekking for its similarity.
  • It supplies the body with the exact benefits of hiking on a mountain.
  • Stair climbing creates tension between the larger bones of the legs and provides oxygen-rich blood cells in the bone marrow. 
  • It makes bone mass stronger and more robust to avoid fractures or injuries.

The more resistance the lower body has, the higher the testosterone levels. Not only Stairmaster but walking and running also nurture the same benefits.

Can Stairmaster Exercises Boost Testosterone Levels and Contribute to Cardiovascular Health?

Charles M. Carlsen, the Co-founder of DrSono Medical, explains the impact of Stairmaster exercises in boosting testosterone levels and contribution to heart health:

“Stairmaster exercises have been a popular choice for people looking to improve their cardiovascular health. But recently, there has been a claim that it can also boost testosterone levels. Testosterone is often associated with masculinity, strength, and muscle building. So, naturally, many men are curious about this claim.

Testosterone is a hormone that plays an essential role in [the development] of male sexual characteristics, muscle mass, and strength.

However, according to recent research, there is no clear evidence that Stairmaster exercises directly boost testosterone levels.

Instead, the increase in testosterone levels seen in men who exercise is likely due to other factors such as weight loss, strength training, and high-intensity workout sessions.

Moreover, there is no evidence that Stairmaster exercises have a higher impact on testosterone levels than other types of cardiovascular exercises.

The Cardiovascular Benefits of Stairmaster Exercises:

Stairmaster exercises have been [a] popular choice for people looking to improve their cardiovascular health. The repetitive [motion of climbing] stairs increases heart rate, strengthens the heart muscle, and improves lung capacity.

Additionally, these exercises burn calories, help with weight loss, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic illnesses.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises: Stairmaster exercises can be either aerobic or anaerobic, depending on [how] hard you work. Aerobic exercise uses oxygen to produce energy [which] leads to a longer duration, less intense workout.

[Anaerobic exercise], on the other hand, doesn’t utilize oxygen to produce energy, leading to shorter, more intense workout sessions.

Stairmaster exercises can be both because they can [be] adjusted to different resistance levels. Therefore, they are a suitable option for people who want to try both types of exercise.

Stairmaster Exercises and Beginners: Stairmaster exercises are a great starting point for beginners who want to improve their cardiovascular health.

These exercises do not require a lot of coordination, and [the resistance levels] [can be adjusted] to suit various fitness levels. Moreover, they are low-impact exercises, making them [a] great option for people with joint issues or injuries.

Other Factors to Consider: While Stairmaster exercises can be a great addition to your workout routine, [there] are other factors to consider that can impact testosterone levels and cardiovascular health.

[Some of] these factors include diet, stress levels, sleep quality, and medications.

Therefore, it’s essential to take a holistic approach to fitness and health, focusing on overall lifestyle changes rather than just one type of exercise.

Stairmaster exercises can [be] a great way to improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, lose weight, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Although there is no direct link between Stairmaster exercises and boosting testosterone levels, the increase in testosterone levels seen in men who exercise is likely because of other factors.

Therefore, whether you’re trying to improve heart health, lose weight, or build muscle, Stairmaster exercises can be a great option to consider as part of your overall fitness routine.”

Charles M. Carlsen
Charles M. Carlsen

4. Cardiovascular Benefits by Stairmaster

Man Wearing Red Shirt exercising
Image by  ShotPot from Pexels/ Copyright 2020

Consistent and daily routine workouts of stair climbing immensely benefit cardiovascular health. It elevates the heart rate, resulting in burning calories stored as fat. It facilitates the circulation of blood throughout the whole body. 

To acquire more heart-healthy benefits from a Stairmaster, one must gradually increase the speed as they become habituated to stairclimbing. Rising the equipment’s climbing speed progressively makes the heart strong and healthy.

As the heart is also a muscle, this exercise can prevent future heart complications by making the arteries more evident and void of plaque. 

As all muscles are focused on growing and making more potent, the heart should also be given good exercise by stair climbing.

5. Mental Health Benefits by Stairmaster

Continuous climbing exercises can enhance mental toughness and satisfaction. It increases endorphins and maintains emotional balance.

This hormone production reduces the stress hormone cortisol and releases oxytocin, alleviates the pain and acts as a natural pain killer. 

As the blood circulation increases while climbing the steps, the blood reaches the tips of nerve endings in the brain. Therefore, it opens up clogged blood vessels and maintains a healthy nervous system.

6. Joint and Bone Health Benefits

Steady resistance to the knee joints by stair climbing keeps the ligaments and tissues solid and durable. Furthermore, this exercise can keep the giant thigh bone femur thick and sturdy, preventing leg injuries. It also eases the lower back pain resulting from running. 

In addition, it also helps the bone marrow to create healthy red blood cells by providing oxygen-rich cells. As a result, new red blood cells form in the bone marrow and supply all the healthy tissues in the body.


1. Is Stairmaster effective as climbing stairs?

The Stairmaster is arguably the best option for those who prefer to work out indoors and provides the same results and benefits as climbing stairs outdoors. Working out indoors saves a lot of time compared to outdoor stair climbing. However, both stair-stepping indoors and outdoors have their advantages.

2. How good is Stairmaster for developing lower body strength and endurance?

Stepping on stair climbers constantly at the same pace creates tension between the muscles and bones in the legs. It strengthens the ligaments and tissues by increasing the blood flow. The Stairmaster is presumably the best choice for lower-body muscle growth. 

3. Does increasing the speed on Stairmaster result in faster muscle growth?

Surging the speed on the stair climber will not only build muscle but also build endurance. However, a diet high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and proper high-quality sleep also allows faster muscle growth. Exercise alone cannot build muscle.

4. 5. Is Stairmaster effective for the upper body?

The Stairmaster is specifically designed to target the lower body at a high rate and the upper body at a lower rate. The Thighs, hips, and calf muscles are mainly targeted during workouts. Only the abdominal muscles are engaged in the upper body, and little to no effect is produced in the shoulders, chest, and back muscles.

How to properly use the Stairmaster?

The Stairmaster usually has three steps designed on it. Initially, we had to step on the second, middle step before starting the machine. From thereon, the speed is set, and the power button is pressed. 

Wrapping Up – Stairmaster’s Effect on Muscles

Using a Stairmaster to build lower-body muscles is more effective than building upper-body muscles. The machine is mainly designed to be most effective for stimulating and targeting the largest muscle groups in the body, the leg muscles. Working on this machine has a lot of health benefits as well. 

The health benefits of Starimaster range from boosting testosterone levels to keeping all the hormonal balances in check. It builds mental toughness by improving confidence and self-satisfaction.

Most importantly, it builds lower body strength that is highly beneficial for muscle growth, producing new oxygen-rich red blood cells and increasing the thickness of the bones and ligaments to make them stronger. 

Overall, the Stairmaster is unquestionably the best alternative for building muscle and endurance—people who have not tried stair climbing outdoors and indoors miss out on abundant health benefits.

Check out this exclusive video on the StairMaster workout:

20 MIN STAIRMASTER WORKOUT | Burn fat & build endurance




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