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Does Stairmaster Burn Fat? 8 Tips to Lose More Weight

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Last updated: May 1, 2023

Stair climbing is considered hard work on both your muscles and heart. As a gym fanatic, I do several Stairmaster workouts weekly, so I consulted the personal trainers I work with and a doctor friend to find out if the Stairmaster helps to lose fat.

In this article, I will share my findings on how the Stairmaster is suitable for fat burning and eight exercises that you can add to your Stairmaster workout for that extra burn to lose fat.

Quick Summary

  • Stairmaster is effective when it comes to burning fat, and improving your overall cardiovascular system.
  • When using the Stairmaster, perform your workouts at intervals, include leg kicks, and don't hold the handrails.
  • Some common mistakes people make when using the Stairmaster include leaning in, not warming up before working out, and bad knee posture.

Is Stairmaster Good for Weight Loss?

Training with a coach using stairmaster

Stairmasters provide above-average cardio aerobic exercise that is beneficial for fat burning and improving your cardiovascular system, regardless of your fitness level.

Stairmasters allow you to control your pace and how quickly you climb. The faster you go, the more effective the activity, and, as a result, the more calories burnt.

On a Stairmaster, a 150-pound individual may burn around 220 fat calories for every 30-minute workout while climbing at a medium intensity [1].

You can accelerate the number of calories burned by increasing the pace and standing straight without holding on to the rails.

While handrails can give you some balance, if you want to maximize fat burn, build core muscle strength and minimize back strain, avoid relying on them while exercising.

As much as this classic exercise equipment is incredibly impactful, you should not rely solely on it when trying to lose weight faster.

You may keep activities physically and psychologically exciting by incorporating upper-lower bodyweight workouts, stretching exercises, cardio workouts, and strength training into your workout regimen.

“Fat burning results from a stairmaster are a combination of resistance training and intense calorie burn through the stepping motion.”

- Naom Tamir, CEO TS Fitness

8 Tips on How to Burn More Fat On a Stairmaster

A woman on a stairmaster

Here are some additional tips and tricks to maximize your Stairmaster gains during your next gym session.

1. Perform Your Workout In Intervals

Most newer Stairmaster models include an interval feature that lets you switch between speeds and degrees of intensity.

Adjusting your pace on the go would be a far more efficient means of improving your cardiovascular fitness to get you that flatter tummy.

A sprint depletes your energy quickly without giving you enough time to recuperate.

Always make the low period longer compared to the high interval. This assures that you will be able to complete the workout plan.

2. Include Leg Kicks

This simple technique will stimulate lower-body muscles rather than merely making the conventional stepping motion.

Reduce the speed a little to allow you to get acclimated to this action. Kick your opposite leg back behind you while you stride forward with one leg.

Keep your leg straight while squeezing the top of your butt. Do the same for the opposite side.

This will substantially stress your abdominal muscles and assist you in increasing fat loss and the number of calories you burn while using the machine.

3. Time Your Sets

Using her watch to time her steps

The duration of your sets will be determined by how fit you are. However, you should be able to run up for at least 40 to 60 seconds. If you can manage to go further, go for it.

But make your rest period up to three times longer than your active periods. This will motivate you to work more and longer throughout the entire time and lose belly fat.

4. Don't Hold The Handrails

If you hold the handrails on a Stairmaster, you tend to place all your mass on your arms. This disadvantages you as your leg muscles will not be fully engaged.

It would be best to stay away from handrails and work with your legs. When you do this, you'll burn calories and fasten your weight loss because more muscles are also metabolically engaged.

5. Gear Up

As you gear up with gym apparel, your body will be hotter throughout the exercise, making you sweat even more. This is a great strategy to increase the number of calories that your body burns.

6. Consider Skipping A Step

Stepping on a stairmaster

Skipping a step when climbing activates your quads, glutes, hamstrings, hips, and core more fully.

Use this skipping-a-step strategy for ½ to 1-minute intervals with an equivalent recovery period. Gradually increase your time to 2 to 5 minutes each time.

7. Monitor Your Heart Rate

If you have never measured your heart rate using the Stairmaster, now is the time.

Hold the sensing devices for a few seconds and watch what appears on the screen.

Knowing your heart rate throughout a cardio exercise is an excellent way to guarantee that you're exercising way over the desired intensity to shed a few pounds after each exercise routine [3].

If you're doing high-intensity periods, strive to hit 80 percent of the maximum heart rate throughout your work periods to burn more calories.

8. Wear A Weighted Vest

Working out while wearing more weight than your body will increase the intensity of your workout, making your body burn even more calories. Consult your fitness coach to ensure the weighted vest is just the right weight to speed up your weight loss process.

4 Common Stairmaster Mistakes To Avoid

A woman using a stairmaster machine

If you’ve been working out on a Stairmaster for a while and have not seen big changes, there could be a couple of things you’re doing wrong and need to change.

1. Leaning In

Many people bend over the railings of a Stairmaster cardio machine or crane their necks to gaze at their phones when climbing. This common mistake affects your general body posture and can subject you to workout injuries.

Stand up straight with your arms (lightly) on the rails and allow your limbs to do the job. To burn more belly fat using a step climber, avoid leaning in or drooping over the Stairmaster.

Leaning on the machine creates a false impression of efficiency and minimizes the amount of fat loss. A proper workout with a reduced chance of injury comes from a good posture.

2. Not Warming Up Before Exercising

Doing a stretch before a workout

Give your body time to get ready for the exercise by beginning the climb slowly for 4-6 minutes as a warm-up.

Like any warm-up, you will be raising your body heat and allowing more blood flow to the muscles.

This implies that your blood vessels will dilate, even more, making your cells produce more energy, raising nutrient absorption, enabling you to have more intense exercise, and burning more belly fat.

Warm-ups also generate adrenaline as your brain and body start preparing for an intense calorie-burning exercise.

3. Climbing On Toes

Stairmaster exercise is all about balancing your feet and body movements for maximum muscle activation.

When you're climbing in an unbalanced motion, you risk muscle damage and frailty, which can cause overuse and harm muscle mass.

During a Stairmaster workout, the body works in a given rhythm, which means that multiple muscles collaborate to create a sync in motion, and climbing on your toes affects this rhythm.

Being on your toes keeps your calf working the whole time, changing the dynamics of your movement.

If you continue using the Stairmaster while on your toes, you may develop some stiff calf muscles and this pattern of movement can lead to Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

4. Bad Knee Posture

Close up image of knee on a stair master

Bending your knees when doing sideway climbs can weaken your hips.

Hip abductors are a frequently overlooked area of attention in Stairmaster training, despite playing such a vital role in pelvic stability.

Weakness in the hip joints alters our range of motion and causes additional strain on the lower body causing extreme low back pain [2].

This might limit how many calories you end up burning.

When your knees fold inwards when climbing you'll feel some discomfort because you're wrongly overusing and bending the muscle tissue.

It would be best to do step-ups while controlling the posture of your knees and keeping a straight back.

5 Intense Stairmaster Workouts For Body Fat Burn

Close up image of a Stairmaster

Here are five intense workouts to add to your Stairmaster high-intensity interval training routine to lose body fat and burn more calories.

  • Sumo Stride: Between the steps, consider taking an extended step towards the left to emulate a sumo performer's regular walking technique. Maintain a straight spine while keeping your shoulders back.
  • Cardio squat circuit: Including squat circuit exercise in your Stairmaster workout focuses on your glute and makes you sweat even more. It would be best if you repeated this physical activity as often as possible. Always stay low while doing the workout to burn more calories and lose belly fat.
  • Climbing Backwards: Climbing backward on a Stairmaster increases muscle activation. The more active your muscles, the more your fat loss and calorie burn.
  • Alternating leg lifts: As you perform medium-paced strides, bend near your waist while kicking your left leg backward. With every back kick, make sure your glutes are completely squeezed [3]. Try balancing yourself while you take another step. Repeat with your right leg.
  • Side stepping: Shift your body to face the left side when on the Stairmaster. Take one step forward with your left foot, then cross it with your right. Perform some steps, then shift your body to the right side of the Stairmaster. Do it slowly since this move needs a lot of coordination.


Does Stairmaster Burn Fat Thighs?

The Stairmaster burns fat thighs as it tones your lower body.

How Long Should I Be on a Stairmaster to Lose Weight?

You should be on a Stairmaster for 30 minutes per workout session to lose weight.

Does the Stairmaster Burn Belly Fat?

The Stairmaster burns belly fat and overall body fat too.

Does Stairmaster Count as Cardio?

Yes, Stairmaster does count as a cardio workout.

How Long Does It Take To See Results from a Stairmaster?

It takes about a week or two to start seeing results from a Stairmaster.

Stairmaster Calorie-Crushing Machine

Stairmasters give you an above-average cardio workout that is great for fat burn, heart health, and muscle build. A fit body also improves your mental health.

When climbing, the faster your pace on the Stairmaster, the more calories and fat you burn.

If you just started your weight loss and fitness journey, consider getting one of these best stair climbers if you want to burn more fat and calories and get your lower body toned quickly.


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