Stairmaster Muscles Worked: What to Expect

A Stairmaster, also known as a step machine, stair mill, or stair machine, is often referred to as cardio heaven. Does the name cardio heaven amazes you, and you want to know why?

Well, right now it may sound weird, but after you finish reading this article, you will agree to this machine being called the cardio heaven.

Here, in this write-up we will learn everything about a Stairmaster. However, before we get into the details of this machine, let us first understand what exactly a Stairmaster is and why it has taken the internet world by storm.

To put it in simple words, a Stairmaster is somewhat like your regular treadmill, but this machine delivers more benefits than you can imagine. A Stairmaster features revolving stairs at a high grade, which multiplies the intensity of your workout. So, the same time you have been spending on the treadmill can bring better results with Stairmaster.

This exercise equipment is a stationary machine that keeps rotating steps, allowing the user to climb stairs at a pre-set speed and time duration. Stairmaster allows a more intense cardio workout, which helps strengthen and tone your lower body.

The best part of working out on this machine is that it doesn’t put much load on your joints because you don’t bounce as much as you do with other cardio exercises. Besides, it also helps you improve your body posture.

Stairmaster Muscles Worked
Stairmaster / TeamCoreHF / Facebook

Having said that, let us quickly shift our focus to the muscles Stairmaster trains. Keep reading to stay aware of what does the Stairmaster target.

What Muscles Does the Stairmaster Work?

Most of you will agree to the fact that majority of people wish to skip the Stairmaster exercise just because this is one of the most tiring forms of cardio. However, little do you know that this one machine can be the most impactful part of your day at the gym.

This one workout machine can work on several muscles simultaneously, including the quad, hamstrings, glute, and calve muscles. Besides, a Stairmaster also works on your abdominal muscles, making your day super effective.

Let’s look into the details of the muscles worked on Stairmaster.

Gluteus Maximus

Using a Stairclimber will work on the largest muscle group of your body, particularly your gluteal muscle group, also known as the buttocks. This muscle group consists of the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and gluteus medius.

Notably, the Gluteus maximus is the largest and the most dominant muscle in your posterior chain. The posterior chain is the group of muscles that consists mainly of tendons and ligaments.

The butt muscles mostly remain inactive as you sit on them most of the time, and working on the Stairmaster helps activate these muscles, making them toned. Working with a Stairmaster is more accessible, and climbing stairs in the gym environment keeps you motivated.


The hamstrings are yet another group of muscles worked. Hamstrings are the muscles that lie on the back of your thighs, and when you pull your feet working on the Stairmaster, these muscles contract. The more you speed up on the Stairmaster, the quicker you lift your feet, which helps develop hamstrings.

Experts suggest working out on a Stairmaster is one of the best ways to train your hamstring muscles. Besides, these muscles are also a great link to your posterior chain.

The muscles that come in the hamstring group include the biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus.


The quadriceps, also known as quads, are the muscles present on the upper front leg. These are the most powerful muscles in your legs, and Stairmaster further trains them to make them stronger.

When you train your quads on the Stairmaster, you drive your steps through your quads, which makes the muscles stronger. The higher the setting of the Stairmaster, the larger the force you need to work on it.

Quadriceps are the four-headed muscle group that consists of;

  • Rectus femoris
  • Vastus intermedius
  • Vastus lateralis
  • Vastus medialis


Most people believe calves are often neglected during a gym workout, but when you work on a Stairmaster, there’s no way you neglect these muscles.

Yes, Stairmaster is a great machine to train the calve muscles as this machine strengthens and tones these muscles perfectly.

The best way to work on the calves is by placing your weight on the balls of your feet, as this will help you stay upright on the machine.

Notably, your calf muscles are made of two types of muscles: the gastrocnemius (lateral and medial), which is larger and on top of the soleus, lying under the gastrocnemius.

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Abdominal Muscles

Till now, we have got to know how one machine works on the different muscles of the lower body and trains them simultaneously to let you achieve the desired results. Now, you will be glad to know that the same machine, the Stairmaster, can also show results in your abdominal and core muscles.

When you climb on this workout machine, you tend to balance yourself, which activates your core and stabilizes ab muscles. Gym trainers suggest that the best way to target abdominal muscles while working on a Stairmaster is to walk upright, keeping your hands by your side.

Note: You should not hold the machine. Instead, keep your hands on your side.

The muscles found in your abs are;

  • Rectus abdominis in the front of your body
  • Internal, external, and obliques on the sides of your body
  • Transversus abdominis found underneath the other two muscles

Hip Flexor

Every time you lift your leg while training your body on a Stairmaster, the machine works on your hip flexors when lifting your knee. These muscles include;

  • The iliacus, and psoas major muscles, also known as the iliopsoas
  • The rectus femoris, the part of your quadriceps, as mentioned above

So, when you work out on a Stairmaster, the movement of the hip muscles strengthens weak hip flexors. As a result, it increases the flexibility and mobility of the hip joint. For your information, weak or tight hip muscles could cause hip pain, lower back pain, and even injury. This makes working out on the Stairmaster appears even more vital.

When you move your thighs while keeping your hips straight, as you do on a Stairmaster, your hip muscles get worked up. This exercise relieves tension in your hip area, making you feel more relaxed throughout the day.

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It’s A Wrap

Did you now understand why we referred to the Stairmaster machine as the cardio heaven? Most of you will definitely agree.

Stairmaster is the tiring yet comfortable form of climbing stairs. This modern machine works on the muscles of your lower body, making them appear toned and stronger. Besides the lower body, the Stairmaster also work on the abdominal muscles, as explained above.

Most importantly, working on the Stairmaster for a minimum of three days a week will improve your posture, endurance, and activeness. Now that you know the muscles Stairmaster works on, you should immediately plan and add a few Stairmaster sessions to your gym routine.