What Muscles Does the StairMaster Work?

muscles-stairmaster-work Credit: Andersen Ross/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Stairclimbing provides a cardiovascular workout that also strengthens every muscle of the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles and calves, according to StairMaster. Maintaining balance while stepping also forces the core muscles to work to stabilize the body, which provides additional fitness benefits.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity per week for most healthy adults. It recommends up to 300 minutes of activity for those looking to lose or maintain weight.

Stairclimbing is an effective way to stay active while building muscular endurance in the lower body. For toned legs, Fitness Magazine recommends using the StairMaster three days a week.

Stairclimbing burns 657 to 981 calories per hour, according to Mayo Clinic, which makes it more effective than walking, swimming, tennis and high-impact aerobics. This is due to the weight-bearing nature of stairclimbing, which uses the largest muscles of the lower body to repeatedly lift the body. This work uses more energy and requires more endurance than moving across a flat surface.

In fact, climbing at 1 mph on a StairMaster StepMill is about the same as running at 6 mph on a flat treadmill, according to StairMaster. This helps build maximum muscle endurance and cardiovascular strength with less impact to the joints.