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Why use the Stairmaster?

fitness Nov 07, 2018

Why do people use the stairmaster?

The stairmaster seems to be a more and more popular option at the gym. Ever wonder why?

Picture yourself at the set of the Rocky scene.

He’s training hard and sprinting up those stairs, sweating at 4:30 AM.

Working his butt off to train hard and beat his archenemy Ivan Drago.

Now picture yourself looking at the line of Stairmasters at the gym. I’m sure this doesn’t give you the same feeling as you would feel if you were in that Rocky scene.

So why do people do the stairs like that?

Did Rocky start a revolution and make everyone want to do stairs, making it a huge fad?

Not likely.

I’m sure you see people on the Stairmaster at the gym and wonder why people do that versus some other cardio exercises that are just as well the same.

Like the treadmill, or the elliptical.

Or the bicycle.

The basis of this answer comes from the nature of the stairmaster and what you are getting out of it.

On the stairs, you are continuing climbing up, and you are essentially doing resistance cardio.

This is why it is something recommended by many strength training coaches as well as to those who are targeting fat loss.

The difference between the stairmaster and a treadmill is the resistance.

You are climbing a residual hill with the stairmaster, but you are “running” down a street with a treadmill.

Your muscles are being asked to work hard and climb — which is a form of body weight resistance.

Why resistance in cardio?
The reason for this resistance is the reason and basis you should be doing resistance training (weight lifting) to target fat loss instead of just cardio.

Resistance training burns fat at a faster rate than cardio.

It also breaks down and builds up muscle in the process.

Cardio does marginally lower your body fat, but it also decreases your muscle as well.


The stairmaster is a great way to continue the fat-burning process.

I usually recommend doing about 20–30 minutes on the stairs only after weight training.

A 30 minute session on the stairmaster will burn about 223 calories on average, depending on your height and weight and relative body fat percentage.

the stairmaster will also help build your glute muscles, while also helping burn fat as well.

If you don’t have a stairmaster at your gym or need some different beneficial cardio options, here are some excellent ones:

1. Circuits/HIIT Training

This can be as intense as you want to make it.

I recommend about 15 minutes of HIIT for your cardio.

Starting off you should try 1 min on and 1 min off. Or 30 seconds on and 1 minute off.

Sample HIIT Workout:

Sled Push (30 ft down & back) or alternate with body squats
Sprints or alternate with bear crawls
Rope slams or alternate with V-Ups

2. Treadmill

“What? I thought you said to not do the treadmill??”

I know, I know.

But sometimes resources are not plentiful.

A wonderful workout is setting the treadmill to incline (3–4.0 incline) and then alternating sprints with jogs (15–30 second sprints & 45–60 second jog/walk).

Do this for 15 minutes and you’ll be well on your way to continuing to burn fat even after you’re done with this workout.

In fact, you can do the above workout with: Bicycle, Elliptical, and any other cardio equipment you have.

Just increase the resistance to a high level and then lower the resistance for your low intensity period.

So, next time you feel like being Rocky Balboa, you will know that you have a reason why!

Call to Action

Next gym session, after your workout is complete, jump on the stairmaster for 20-25 minutes instead of the treadmill, you’ll thank me later!

Want more tips like this? 

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