Stair Climber Muscles Used – Introduction
What Muscles Does the Stair Climber Work?
Do you wonder how helpful a stair climber is to improve your mental and physical fitness?
From a 30,000-foot view, the answer is that a stair stepper is an incredible fitness tool to tone and condition your entire body.
A stair climber machine targets the following muscle groups:
The largest muscles in your lower body
The essential stair climbing muscles worked include:
#1. Gluteus Maximus
Climbing stairs with a stair climber or climbing a flight of stairs will exercise your body’s largest muscle groups, specifically, your gluteal muscles.
The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in your body, and the gluteal muscle group, is also known as your buttocks.
The gluteal muscle group consists of:
- the gluteus maximus,
- gluteus medius, and
- the gluteus minimus
As such, the gluteus maximus is also one of the most dominant muscles of your posterior chain.
“The posterior chain is a group of muscles consisting mainly of tendons and ligaments along the backside of the body.”¹
Does stair climbing tone your butt?
You bet, but even better than shaping a powerful derriere, you activate muscles that are likely somewhat dormant because of inactivity.
Modern Life Ignores the Posterior Chain
Many people fail to work the posterior chain muscles because you cannot see them in the mirror.
Instead, you might spend a lot more time sitting on this vital muscle than training it!
A stair climber machine can make training your glutes and leg muscles a lot easier than driving to find a stadium or apartment building to climb real stairs.
And even if you live in an apartment building, you might not want to climb up the stairs in a deserted staircase.
Using the stairclimber at the gym or having one at home is much more convenient and comfortable.
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Neglecting these powerful muscles results in training only half your body much of the time, precisely the front half with exercises like:
- dumbbell bicep curls
- dumbbell shoulder presses which work the front and medial deltoids
- sitting leg raise which isolates your quads
- sit-ups for your abdominals
- pushups or bench press for your chest, the pectoralis major and minor muscles
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Opposite your quadriceps on the back of your thighs are your hamstrings, another great link of your posterior chain.
Your hamstring muscle group includes the:
- biceps femoris
- semimembranosus and
On the front of your thighs are your quadriceps, also referred to as quads.
Your quadriceps are a four-headed muscle group made up of:
- rectus femoris,
- The vastus intermedius and the
- vastus lateralis and
- last, the vastus medialis
#4. Hip Flexors
The hip flexor muscles include:
- the iliacus, and psoas major muscles, which are known as the iliopsoas
- the rectus femoris, which is part of your quadriceps as mentioned above
You use your hip flexors when lifting your knee, which you will do every step on a stair climber.
The stair climber works out your calves as well.
As a result, a stair climber will give you a great lower body workout.
Your calf muscles are made up of two muscles:
- gastrocnemius (lateral and medial) that is larger and on top of
- the soleus, which is under the gastrocnemius
#6. Abdominal muscles
The abs are involved with supporting and stabilizing your spine as you work out on a stair climber.
Your ab muscles include:
- rectus abdominis in the front of your body
- internal and external and obliques on the sides of your body
- transversus abdominis, which is underneath them
Stair Climber Benefits
According to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the benefits of stair climbing provides significant fitness and cardio benefits. ²
#1. Lower your heart rate through consistent use
#2. Improve your cardiovascular health and endurance
#3. burn calories
#4. lose weight
#5. minimize stress on your knee joint as compared to running
#6. get a complete lower body and great cardio workout in only 30 minutes without using a personal trainer
#7. increase your bone density
#8. focus on lower body strength
#9. tone the muscles of your body, especially your legs and rear
#10. accessible to everyone who can climb stairs!
Be sure to fill out a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) to ensure that cardiovascular exercise is a safe activity for you.
Check with your doctor if you are not clear on how to interpret your results.
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What Muscles Do Stairs Work – Wrapping up
Body composition and cardiovascular fitness are the first two primary components of fitness.
The five main components of fitness are:
Stair climbing is a form of aerobic exercise that strengthens the heart and lungs and improves overall fitness.
As such, a consistent stair climber workout helps you make progress toward all of your fitness goals.
You will improve your cardiovascular endurance, and lower your blood pressure and heart health.
What muscles does stair climbing work?
Stair climbing, whether plain old stairs or stair machines, will also strengthen your bones and muscles and condition the most massive muscles of your lower body, improving your flexibility.
Also, sticking to your program will result in weight loss that will improve your body composition.
But, no matter what type of exercise you do, you can never out-train a bad diet.
If you need to lose weight, be sure to use this great way to lose 20 pounds in 3 months.
You can repeat that diet with a minimal training plan to drop 20 pounds as often as you need to lose and then maintain your ideal weight.
Also, cardio exercises like:
- stair climbing,
- Assault air bikes,
- treadmills, and
- ellipticals, are great ways to burn calories.
However, when it comes to transforming your body, cardio is not the only game in town.
You might be surprised to learn that weightlifting, such as full-body compound exercises like deadlifts can burn plenty of calories as well.
Even better, the deadlift exercise will tone and build strength for all the major muscle groups of your body, particularly your likely neglected posterior chain.
No matter what your age! See Shirley Webb’s incredible deadlift results at age 75 if you don’t believe me.
Additional excellent resistance exercises and strength training workouts include:
- pushups, bench press, and overhead press for your arms and chest, and
- squats and squat accessory exercises for mobility and lower body explosive power.
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¹ What is the posterior chain, and why is it so important?
² Training effects of short bouts of stair climbing on cardiorespiratory fitness