What muscles does a stair climber work?
Find out how useful a stair climber is to improve your mental and physical fitness. From a 30,000 foot view, the answer is that a stair climber is an excellent tool to tone and condition your body. A stair climber machine targets the following muscle groups:
The largest muscle groups in your lower body
#1. Gluteus Maximus
Climbing stairs with a stair climber or climbing a flight of stairs will exercise the most massive muscle of your body, the gluteus maximus. Gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body, and the gluteal muscle group, also known as your buttocks. The gluteal muscle group consists of:
- the gluteus maximus, and the
- gluteus medius, and finally,
- 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
Modern Life Ignores the Posterior Chain
Many people fail to work the muscles of the posterior chain because you cannot see them in the mirror. Instead, you might spend a lot more time sitting on this incredibly important muscle than training it. A stair climber machine can make training your gluteus maximus a lot easier than driving to find a stadium or apartment building to climb 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.
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
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 that is larger and on top of
- the soleus, a smaller muscle which is under the gastrocnemius
#6. Abdominal muscles
The abs are involved with supporting and stabilizing your spine as you work out on a stairclimber. 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
The Real Benefits of Stair Climbing
When you look closer at the benefits of a stair climber, you find that it will help you:
- lower your heart rate through consistent use
- improve your cardiovascular system
- burn calories
- lose weight
- minimize stress on your knee joint
- get a full lower body and cardio workout in only 30 minutes without using a personal trainer
Body composition and cardiovascular fitness are the first two primary components of fitness.
The five main components of fitness are:
- Cardiovascular Endurance
- Body Composition
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
Consistent stair climber workouts help you achieve improvements in all of the elements of fitness. You will improve your cardiovascular endurance, lower your blood pressure, and heart rate.
Also, sticking to your program will result in weight loss that will improve your body composition. No matter what type of exercise you do, you can never out-train a bad diet.
So, if you do need to lose weight, be sure to use this free guide: 5 easy ways to lose 20 pounds in 3 months. You can repeat that diet +minimal training plan to drop 20 pounds as often as you need to lose and then maintain your ideal weight. Stair climbing will also strengthen your bones, muscles, and condition the most massive muscles of your lower body, improving your flexibility.
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