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6 Stair Climber Benefits + 4 Workouts to Boost Endurance

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy (21 years of Oly Lifting experience)

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Stair climber benefits? Pfft… Are there any? 

Yes, that might be the first reaction the common Joe might have when first seeing a stair climber. Some people even go as far as thinking that the stair climber is not particularly useful once they see it being used. 

Well, if that’s the case here, I’m here to tell you that there is more to stair climbers than meets the eye.

In this article, I will pretty much explain how wrong I was to think that a stair climber was useless (one of the rare occasions I liked being wrong). So, if you’re anything like I was and wonder what is the stair stepper good for or should I use a stepper over, for example, an elliptical – you’ll find your answers here.  Let’s climb!

What are stair climber benefits? Some of the stair climber benefits are burning calories, toning muscles, improving cardiovascular health, strengthening lower body muscles (glutes, quads, and calves), increasing endurance, and providing a low-impact workout that is gentle on the joints.

Stair lift training

6 Benefits of Stair Climber Workouts

When you walk into a gym, you’ll usually notice at least one stair climber. They’re effective machines, and for a very good reason. Apart from the satisfaction of conquering numerous flights of stairs (and I think you’ll agree that really is quite satisfying), stair machine benefits are predominantly pronounced when it comes to your health.

Now, I won’t lie to you. The workout can be challenging sometimes. Think about using the staircase instead of an elevator every day; it doesn’t sound very appealing, but the results come pretty fast and I’m not talking about just weight loss.

But don’t just take my word for it. I have a list of stair stepper benefits with detailed explanations so you can see exactly how a stair climber can benefit you. 

1. Cardiovascular Benefits

Is the stair stepper good cardio? You’ve probably noticed that when you climb stairs, your heart rate goes up, which leads directly to improved cardiovascular health. Stair climbing optimizes blood flow throughout your body and at the same time, increases oxygen delivery to vital muscle groups. To simplify, this means that your heart gets stronger, and your lungs end up having more capacity, all from a stair climber. Not bad, right? Also, as a direct consequence of a stronger heart and improved lung capacity, you’re at less risk for heart disease and stroke.

2. Lower Body Strength and Toning

You know how you feel as if your legs are burning when you go up a staircase? I know it’s not the most pleasant feeling in the world, but it’s good for you. Stair climber workouts activate your lower body muscles (the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves). As you climb stairs, you shape and strengthen these muscles, which then leads to enhanced muscle definition (we all want that!) and improved strength in your lower body.

Benefits of Stair Climber Workouts

3. Weight Loss and Calorie Burn

Is the stair stepper good for weight loss? This is one of the stair machine benefits that you’re probably the most interested in and I’m happy to confirm that a stair climber will help with burning calories and losing weight. A stair climber engages large muscle groups and increases your heart rate, this leads to calorie burn. Stair climbing triggers your metabolism, enabling weight management and weight loss (in combination with a balanced diet, of course).

4. Improved Endurance and Stamina

I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but using a stair climber regularly can improve your endurance and stamina. I would advise you to slowly increase the duration and intensity of the workout to avoid any potential injury and to allow your body to adjust to the exercise. Be patient with yourself, listen to your body and remember that building endurance is a marathon, not a sprint.

5. Improved Leg Power and Stability

Repetitive stair climbing will help you develop leg power and stability. With stair climbing, you are constantly challenging your lower body muscles, and this enhances your ability to generate force and maintain balance.

leg workout on the treadmill on VERSACLIMBER H/HP

6. Mental Well-Being

Your mental well-being can be significantly improved through regular stair climber workouts. Exercising in general (including climbing stairs) has been shown to trigger the release of endorphins – hormones that are often associated with a positive emotional state. These endorphins work wonders in reducing stress levels while simultaneously boosting mood and sharpening mental clarity and focus. Also, dedicating some time to stair climber workouts gives you an opportunity to clear your mind, alleviate pent up tension, as well as experience satisfaction with every step you take – creating a welcomed sense of accomplishment.


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7 Muscles Targeted by Step Climber Exercise

I’m sure a lot of you are interested in building muscle with a stair climber and are familiar with the general stair stepper workout benefits. If you’re wondering if a stair climber can even help with building muscle, the short answer is – definitely yes!

A stair climber is a super versatile machine that you can perform many different exercises on. We’ll get to that part a little bit later and for now, we’ll go over the muscles targeted by the stair climber, so you know exactly what you’re working on.

1. Quadriceps

As you step up on a stair climber, your quadriceps engage to extend the knee joint and lift your body weight. Since stair climbing is a repetitive motion, it will strengthen your quads and help build muscle endurance.

2. Hamstrings

The back of your thighs plays an important role in controlling the bending of your knees as you go up each step. They also help extend your hips and give you the oomph you need to keep climbing.

3. Glutes

The glutes, of course! Your glutes get a good workout when you hop on a stair climber because they’re responsible for pushing your body up as you engage your hips.

4. Calves

If you’ve ever climbed stairs, you know how well you feel that climb in your calves. They help with pushing off with your toes and lifting your body weight. With each step you climb, your calves get stronger.

5. Core Muscles

You would think only your lower body would benefit from a stair climber, but if it wasn’t for your core, you wouldn’t be able to stay upright, and you’d wobble instead of climbing. Core keeps your body stable and balanced and gets a decent workout out of a stair climber.

6. Hip Flexors

Hip flexors bring your leg forward with each step you make on a stair climber. They help you lift your leg and take the next step. Basically, they keep you moving!

7. Erector Spinae

These muscles guard your spine. While you’re busy conquering the stair climber, they support your back.

Advantages and Unique Benefits of the Stair Climber Among Other Cardiovascular Machines

Have you ever noticed how many treadmills, elliptical and stationary bikes are in a gym compared to how many stair climbers there are? 

The difference is pretty noticeable. In most gyms, you’ll see a lot more treadmills than stair climbers. And I don’t blame them because, when you compare a runner to a climber, you’d think a runner was getting a more effective workout. Not only that, you’d also think a runner is working their entire body and a climber is only working their legs and glutes. 

I have shown you how many muscle groups are included in a stair climber workout so, unlike many other people, you know a stair climber works out mostly your lower body. But let’s put all of these machines side by side with a stair climber to see how they compare. 

Tips From the Champ

Rogue Fitness VERSACLIMBER H/HP will give you a genuine full-body workout. Unlike your traditional treadmills, ellipticals or stationary bikes, the Versaclimber will engage your legs, arms, shoulders, back, quads and glutes. It’s pretty much like having a stepper and a climber at one.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

✅ Total Body Engagement

Even though a runner looks like they’re working their entire body, running will mostly engage their lower body. On the other hand, a stair climber will engage mostly the lower body and give you a more effective workout. 

Stair climb on the simulator

✅ Glute Activation

Strong, defined glutes have never been more popular, and everyone wants them; this is where a stair climber really shines. It targets your glutes specifically to tone and strengthen them. An elliptical or a stationary bike do not have anywhere near as much emphasis on your glutes.

✅ High Calorie Burn

Again, the stair climber is a winner here if you compare it to the stationary bike or an elliptical and this is because it usually comes with more intense workouts, thereby increasing your body temperature more efficiently. If you want to torch calories or lose weight, the continuous climbing motion on a stair climber will be a great help.

✅ Low Impact on Joints

If you take a treadmill, for example, or the running in general, you’ll see that it has a high impact on your knees and joints. This means that running may not be the most suitable option if you have joint issues. Stair climber, on the other hand, gives a low-impact workout and your joints won’t hate you for using it. 

Low impact on the joints on the VERSACLIMBER H/HP

✅ Improved Cardiovascular Fitness

We’ve already established that the stair climber is excellent for cardiovascular health. But when you compare it to an elliptical or stationary bike, the stair climber looks even more impressive. The stair climber’s vertical movement demands more effort from your heart and lungs than an elliptical or stationary bike, so it’s a clear winner in this category. 

✅ Mental Engagement

I would often find myself lost in thought when working out on an elliptical or a treadmill and especially on a stationary bike. That never happened on a stair climber because the motion is not as monotonous. Climbing stairs requires a lot more focus and you do not get bored as easily.

4 Stair Climber Workout Examples

So here I am, talking about how a stair climber workout is not monotonous and going on about how it requires focus and prevents you from getting bored. If you’re inexperienced, you probably don’t know what I mean because a stair climber is a machine that simulates climbing stairs; you step up repeatedly until you’re over it and that’s that.

To tell you the truth, if that’s all you were able to do on a stair climber, I’d never use it because I would get way too bored. Luckily, there’s actually a number of exercises you can do on a stair climber. 

If you’re a beginner, I’d recommend starting with just a regular step machine exercise until you get used to the motion and the workout. As you advance (or as you get bored), I have several exercises for you to try out.

Stair Climber Workout Examples

1. Interval Training

This means that you’re alternating between high-intensity and recovery periods. Take your time to warm up for a few minutes, then climb the stairs at a fast pace for about a minute. Then, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat this for 10-15 minutes. This will push your cardiovascular system and the recovery period will allow it to rest. It’s a very basic workout, but I find it to be one of the most effective.

2. Pyramid Workout

With this one, you’ll gradually increase and decrease the intensity of stair climbing. Start slow and then after a minute, increase your speed for 2 minutes. Continue increasing the duration of intense climbing by one minute with each interval until you reach the peak. For most people, the peak would be at about 5 minutes. After the peak, start shortening the duration of intense climbing by one minute per interval. 

Workout on VERSACLIMBER H/HP in gym

3. Power Intervals

This is another workout you can try out. These are essentially short bursts of max effort followed by rest periods. I suggest climbing the stairs as quickly as you can for 20 seconds and then taking a 40-second rest period. Repeat this for about 10-15 minutes. 

4. Endurance Challenge

This workout will improve your stamina. Set a goal (make sure it’s a realistic one), such as 30 minutes, to continuously climb the stair climber. Do your best to keep a steady pace and focus on endurance rather than speed. Think of it as a marathon – you don’t want to give it your all right from the beginning. If you need to, take short breaks or lower the pace. 

All of the workouts I mentioned can be further customized by adding some workout equipment, such as weights. Remember to adjust the intensity of each workout to your fitness level and rest anytime you need to. Always respect your body’s limits and be patient with yourself. Progress does not come overnight. 



This equipment will give you a genuine full-body workout. Unlike your traditional treadmills, ellipticals or stationary bikes, the Versaclimber will engage your legs, arms, shoulders, back, quads and glutes. It’s pretty much like having a stepper and a climber at one. 

Which brings me to my next point – it’s compact and space-efficient, which is important for home gyms. Don’t get me wrong, it’s suitable for a professional gym or a health club, but it fits particularly well in a home gym. 

It’s also very adaptable, which makes it great for people recovering from injuries, as well as those who want to push their limits. Today, you can hold the handrails and use it as a traditional stepper, and then tomorrow, you can switch it up and transform it into a total body climber. I don’t know of anything this versatile when it comes to stair climbers.

The best thing about it, though, is how smoothly it works; the movement is seamless and natural, and the overall climbing experience is amazing. 

It does come with a drawback and that would be the price. It’s definitely an investment, but trust me, it’s going to be a long-term one. Not only are you investing in your health and fitness, but you’re also getting a machine that’s built incredibly well and will last you a long time. 


  • Provides a full-body workout
  • Able to function as a stepper and climber
  • Compact

Could be better:

  • Pricey


Does a Stair Climber Burn Belly Fat?

To spare you the details if you don’t want to read everything – YES! A stair climber helps with overall fat loss, and that includes belly fat. Keep in mind, though, you’ll still need to eat right and work out regularly if you want to see progress in this area. Nutrition is important.

How Long Should You Stay On The Stair Climber?

There is no definite answer for this because it depends on your fitness level. I’d recommend starting with 10-15 minutes if you’re a beginner and then slowly increase it to 30-45. 

What Happens if You Do the Stair Climber Every Day?

If you do the stair climber every day, you’ll improve cardiovascular fitness, increase your lower body strength, reduce the risk for the metabolic syndrome and enhance your endurance. However, rest days are important for muscle recovery and preventing injuries so make sure to incorporate them into your routine.


There you go! Now you’re educated in all of the benefits of stair stepper; both physical and mental. If you’ve been ignoring that stair climber at your gym, give it a try and I promise you, you’ll never go back.

Have you ever tried working out on a stair climber? How did you like it? Do you have any advice to share or any benefits of stair climbing that I did not mention?

Leave a comment and let’s discuss this topic further. Happy stepping!

Also read:


  1. Promoting Stair Climbing as an Exercise Routine among Healthy Older Adults Attending a Community-Based Physical Activity Program // Ncbi:
  2. Researchers find brief, intense stair climbing is a practical way to boost fitness // Sciencedaily:
  3. Home-Based Stair Climbing as an Intervention for Disease Risk in Adult Females; A Controlled Study // Ncbi:
  4. Effects of Three-Week Stair Climbing Exercise for Weight Control: A Case Series Study // Researchgate:
  5. Effect Of Stair Climbing On Cardio Respiratory Endurance And Speed Endurance Among Soccer Players // Researchgate:
  6. Exercise and Depression // Webmd:
  7. Daily stair climbing is associated with decreased risk for the metabolic syndrome // Ncbi:

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Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 200 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Oleksiy Torokhtiy is a professional athlete boasting 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. With multiple European and World titles under his belt, he has showcased his prowess in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). Upon concluding his illustrious career, Oleksiy dedicated himself to coaching. By 2022, he had conducted over 200 weightlifting seminars worldwide. He is the visionary behind an international sportswear and accessories brand known for its motto, “Warm Body Cold Mind.” Additionally, he is an esteemed author and the creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.

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