3 Stair Climber Workouts to Help Get You Fit, Fast

Stair climber workouts help burn calories and are great cardio.

If you’re like most gym goers, you probably walk right by the stair climber without giving it a second glance. After all, if you need to do cardio, you’re going to hop on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike. But you might want to rethink that attitude. “Stair climbers are great if you want an efficient workout because you can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time,” says Idalis Velazquez, a personal trainer and owner of I.V. Fitness. “Plus, they’re low-impact and help you strengthen your core, glutes, quads, and calf muscles.”

The key is making sure you have good form, which means not slouching forward or leaning heavily on the handles—those should only be touched for balance as needed. “Every time you step, keep your core tight and lean forward slightly,” says Velazquez. “You can either push through your heels, which helps target your glutes and hamstrings, or push through the ball of your foot, which places more emphasis on your quads.”

As with any cardio machine, the hardest part might be fighting boredom. That’s where these three workouts come in. Designed by Velazquez, they are all made to keep your interest (while working your whole body!).

20-Minute Easy HIIT Workout

Get ready to hit it. During the high-intensity portion of this workout, you should feel like you’re giving 70 percent of your max effort.

Warm-up: 2 minutes easy climb

Workout: 10 intervals of 60 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of a moderate pace as recovery.

Cool down: 3 minutes easy climb

Speed-Builder Intervals

Fuel your need for speed with this workout, where you’ll go from 50 percent of your max speed to 90 percent during your two-minutes of all-out work.  Get ready to repeat this circuit four times.

Warm-up: 2 minutes easy climb

Workout: For 2 minutes, increase the speed every 30 seconds

Cool down: 1 minute easy climb

Crossovers Workout

With the crossover steps, be sure to turn sideways on the machine and hold only lightly on the handle for balance. When it comes to slow, wide steps, make sure your stance is wider than shoulder-width apart.

Warm-up: 3 minutes easy climb


2 minutes where you skip a step

1 minute side stepping to the right

1 minute side stepping to the left

2 minutes cross over steps with leg lift facing left

2 minutes cross over steps with leg lift facing right

2 minutes slow, wide steps

2 minutes fast climb

3 minutes slow climb with leg lift

2 minutes reverse climbing

2 minutes fast climb

Cool down: 2 minutes slow and easy climb


4 Comments   Join the Conversation

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • My Fitbit Tracker2 is so not getting it right on the stairclimber. I wear a chest strap and the machine picks up the heartrate that matches my perceived exertion. So in other words, the signal from my cardio chest strap gives the display on the machine numbers like a heart rate while climbing between 140 and 150 bpm and it feels right. The Fitbit Tracker2 agrees with the signal on the speed bike from my chest strap but not on the stairclimber. When a workout is completed (around 10 min. because I’m new at the stairclimber) it reads average heart rate 98 and maximum heart rate 110 and steps count 4 steps. WHAT???? Yes, i cleaned the sensors with an alcohol wipe, i tried the watch on both sides of my wrist and up higher, lower and tighter and still …. no bananna. Any clue as to what is going on?

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