Stairmaster Muscle Group

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


If you're looking to target specific muscle groups during your Stairmaster workout, you've come to the right place.

There are many benefits to using a stairmaster. For starters, you can exercise your hamstrings, glutes, calves, and lower body with a 15-minute workout. To increase your workout's intensity, add resistance bands or kettlebells.

I like using the stairmaster for active recovery, in addition the ones in my local gym have integrated TV and apps so you can watch Youtube, listen to digital radio go on social media etc to take some of the boredom away.

Quadriceps: The main muscles targeted on a Stairmaster are the quadriceps, which are located on the front of your thighs. They are responsible for extending your knees and propelling you up the stairs.

This guide will break down the muscles worked on a Stairmaster, helping you understand the benefits and effectiveness of this exercise machine. 


The main muscles targeted on a Stairmaster are the quadriceps, which are located on the front of your thighs. They are responsible for extending your knees and propelling you up the stairs.

The Stairmaster is a great exercise machine for targeting and strengthening your quadriceps. As you step up and down on the stairs, your quadriceps are engaged to extend your knees and propel you upwards.

This constant contraction and extension of the quadriceps muscles help to build strength and endurance in this muscle group. So, if you're looking to tone and strengthen your thighs, the Stairmaster is a fantastic choice.


The back of your thighs, known as the hamstrings, are activated as you push off the steps and extend your hips. This helps to balance out the work being done by your quadriceps.

Strengthening your hamstrings is important for overall lower body strength and stability.

The Stairmaster provides a great workout for these muscles, helping to tone and strengthen them. 

Stair climbing has been shown to strengthen the hamstrings, a group of muscles located in the back of the thigh.

Your hamstrings help bend your knee, extend your hip, and straighten your leg. These muscles are essential for walking, running, and sitting.

The stairmaster works the hamstring muscles as well as the quadriceps, calf muscles, and glutes.

Its exercise routines challenge these muscles while you lift your heels on each step and generate force to propel yourself up the next step.

This workout also strengthens your back muscles, which play a major role in keeping your spine upright and aligned.

Stair climbing is a low-impact form of resistance training. It targets lower body muscles without causing stress on the joints.

With the right exercise program, you can use the StairMaster for high-intensity interval training or low-intensity steady-state cardio.

It is important to vary your workouts and keep challenging yourself. If you are starting out, you may want to increase your resistance levels a little at a time.

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Your gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, are also engaged during a Stairmaster workout. These muscles help to stabilize your hips and provide power for climbing stairs.

As you step up and down on the Stairmaster, your gluteal muscles are activated to help propel you upwards.

This not only helps to tone and strengthen your glutes, but it also improves your overall lower body strength and stability.

So, if you're looking to sculpt your backside and improve your athletic performance, the Stairmaster is a great choice for targeting your gluteal muscles. 


The calf muscles, including the gastrocnemius and soleus, are involved in the Stairmaster workout as they help to push off the steps and lift your body weight.

As you push off the steps and lift your body weight, your calf muscles, including the gastrocnemius and soleus, are engaged.

This helps to tone and strengthen these muscles, giving you more power and stability in your lower body. 


Your core muscles, including the abdominals and lower back muscles, play a role in stabilizing your body and maintaining proper posture while using the Stairmaster.

This makes the stairmaster an essential part of any workout regimen, helping improve performance when doing other activities such as running or walking up real stairs.

Furthermore, climbing requires great power from lower body and leg muscles; climbing on the stairmaster builds strength in these muscles so you'll soon be able to navigate up and down stairs more effortlessly as fitness improves. 

The Benefits of Exercising the Lower Body

You need strong hips and legs to power through workouts, walk up flights of stairs or 'taking a knee' when on patrol carrying colossal weight on your back. Benefits of exercising your lower body include increased muscle strength, reduced risk of injury, and better balance. Not withstanding a reduction of potential stress fractures.

Lower-body exercises can be divided into two distinct categories: push movements (driving through your feet to push away from an object or the floor) and pull movements (contracting (squeezing) your tendons to pull your leg back towards the body).

Most workouts incorporate both components; lunges are an example of such an exercise which targets both glutes and quadriceps at once as well as your hamstrings in back legs.

Start building a lower-body strength training routine by beginning with compound bilateral exercises like squats, lunges and hip hinges to target glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings.

Add single joint and unilateral exercises targeting hip abductors/adductors as well as calves.

Try also adding in-water workouts like swimming or rowing as low-impact high intensity cardiovascular sessions that work your lower body.

Additionally jumping jacks provide another cardiovascular workout while improving balance as well as strength of lower body.


Climbing on a stairmaster provides a full-body workout, targeting nearly every muscle in your legs and butt.

Climbing will strengthen and tone quads, hamstrings, calves as you build strength and endurance - not to mention burning off calories quickly for weight loss!

Not only can stairmaster use tone and shape your lower body, but it will also strengthen both heart and lungs through high intensity cardio workouts like stair climbing which increases heart rate and blood pressure, making lungs stronger which allows more oxygen to reach tissues within your body.

The stairmaster is one of the best ways to work your body, and when combined with other lower-body exercises can provide a comprehensive fitness routine. Consider including lunges, squats, and bodyweight rows into your routine as part of an efficient fitness program.

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