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Here Are “The 7 Best Tips” For The Crazy Good Booty-Building Stair-Climber Workout

A stair-climber workout is a smart choice if torching calories is your goal because it utilizes the largest, most metabolically active muscles in your body (quads, hamstrings, glutes, core). Working larger muscles will burn more calories at rest, says Niren. “So when you work larger muscles, you are not only strengthening those muscles, but you are strengthening and quickening your metabolism,” says Perez.

The heart-rate boosting cardio mixed with the lower-body strength training means that you’ll burn more calories during and after your stair-climber workout than you would by doing moderate, steady-state cardio.

If you’re like me, your eyes glaze over when you see the “cardio” label on an exercise machine. You can’t be blamed for feeling this way; after all, it’s tough to get excited about a machine that’s usually tucked away in some dark corner of your gym.

Stair climbers are the exception to this rule—I’m crazy about them. Not only is stair climbing one of the best fat burners around, but it also helps you sculpt an enviable pair of legs while building strength and power in your upper body.

Sound too good to be true? Trust me, it’s not. If you’re looking to step up your calorie burn and improve your athletic performance, all while sculpting a set of lean legs, look no further than the stair climber.


7 Tips For the best stair-climber workout

Here are seven tips that will help you get the most out of this awesome machine in the gym:

1. Use Good Form, But Think Fast

Many people use a slow, methodical pace when they climb stairs in the gym—it’s easy to see why since most stair climbers have a manual setting where you can control your speed.

Slow climbs are so boring that not even Arnold Schwarzenegger could stay motivated on them! The whole point of using such a machine is to increase your metabolism, so you should choose a setting that feels challenging.

If 20 stairs per minute aren’t tough enough for you, set the machine on its highest level and see how many steps you can climb in 60 seconds. If this makes you feel like throwing up (it’s supposed to!), then decrease the speed and keep climbing until your legs grow weak.

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2. Make It Harder With These Tricks

You can also make stair climbing significantly more challenging by incorporating one or two of these ideas into your workout routine: Hop up each step instead of taking them two at a time—your calves will hate me for this one.

Climb stairs backward (but please be careful). Take two or three steps at a time—just make sure you make these quick jumps, not slow, plodding climbs.

Reach forward with your free hand to grab the rail for added instability and resistance during the climb.


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3. Go For Distance

I’m sure you’ve heard that 10,000 steps per day are considered healthy by many experts (it’s about 4 miles), but this amount of activity doesn’t necessarily equate to weight loss if those 10,000 take 40 minutes each to complete! If you want to fire up your metabolism and melt fat fast, try increasing the length of your stair-climbing workout—as long as you don’t slow down too much.

Studies show that you can burn as much as 85 percent more calories per hour by simply extending the length of your workout. If you normally climb for 20 minutes, try going for 25 next time or 30 if you’re feeling especially strong that day. You’ll love what a little extra activity does to your body’s fat-burning potential!

4. Add A Weight Vest

A favorite trick among strength athletes is adding resistance with a weighted vest—this can help build muscle and increase calorie burn simultaneously.

To do this, grab a weight vest from the gym so you’re ready to rock the next time you hit the machine. When I’m using my own personal stair climber at the YMCA where I work out, I strap on my 20-pound weight vest and start ascending.

My heart rate soars, my metabolism goes crazy, and before I know it—I’m dripping with sweat!

5. Superset Your Workouts

A superset is when you perform two exercises back to back with no rest in between. One of the most effective ways to use this strategy with a stair climber (or any other machine) is to combine full-body movements like squats, rows, presses, or pulldowns that work for your large muscle groups together with lower-intensity cardio activities like walking towards the end of your workout.

Your energy levels will be completely depleted by the time you finish this final “sweaty” phase of each exercise session, which means you’ll burn more calories and fat than usual.

6. Add A Sprint Session For An Added Challenge

If you thought 30 minutes on the stair climber at full speed is tough, try adding a short sprint interval into the mix every once in a while.

Find a quiet corner of the gym where you can be alone for a few minutes, then set your machine to manual mode and turn up the resistance so it’s extremely difficult to climb by using only your legs—this will simulate running on stairs.

Sprint as fast as you can for 30-seconds, then rest for 15 seconds before repeating this sequence two more times.

This may seem easy when you first try it, but I promise that after those 3-minute intervals are over with—you’ll have a newfound respect for stair climbers everywhere.

7. Do A Strength Circuit

You may think that the only way you can get in shape using a stair climber is by doing steady-state cardiovascular exercise (running).

But what you might not know is how effective this machine can be when paired with bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges—just like we did at the beginning of the article.

I’ve always loved training “inline” because it makes every workout fast, efficient, and time-efficient no matter which gym I go to.

To do this type of routine, hit up your local YMCA or neighborhood cardio room and find two or three different cardio machines that are right next to each other—most gyms should have at least a recumbent bike, treadmill, and stair climber.

You can use one machine to do bodyweight squats for 60 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest, then move on to the next machine to do lunges for 60 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest. Once you’ve finished all three machines, rest for 2 minutes and repeat this circuit two more times.

Final Thoughts

This workout can be done anywhere and you don’t need any equipment other than your own body weight—which means this is perfect for in-home or hotel workouts. I love the stair climber because it’s low impact and extremely effective at building strong legs and a strong midsection.

If you have never tried using a stair climber before, I suggest you hop on the machine next time you go to the gym and give this routine a shot—I think you’ll be really surprised at how effective it is.

After 4-weeks of combining this routine with your normal cardio activity—you’ll notice that you’re stronger, leaner, and ready for anything.


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