There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission on anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Stairmasters can offer many benefits but you may want other options. What are some alternatives to stairmasters with similar benefits?
A stairmaster is a piece of fitness equipment that simulates an endless flight of stairs.
Among other benefits, you can use a stairmaster to improve your cardiovascular health at home or in the gym, you are not dependent on the weather for your workouts, you can strengthen leg muscles, it offers a low-impact workout, improves balance & coordination, etc.
Whether you don’t enjoy using the stairmaster, you want a cheaper alternative, or you want an alternative for any other reason, these stairmaster alternatives can help you train similar areas of your health.
Keep in mind that implementing these alternatives can offer benefits but like while using any exercise equipment, there is always some risk of injury. Make sure you use these equipment options in a safe way and if needed, get guidance from an expert.
1. Regular stairs
This list will definitely talk about all the best fitness equipment alternatives to a stairmaster. However, to find a replacement for an endless stair simulator, a regular flight of stairs can be a great choice.
Since it is so similar the benefits of climbing stairs are along the same lines. You can train your cardiovascular health, train some muscles, get in a relatively low-impact workout, burn calories, etc. The main upside is that climbing regular stairs is generally more budget-friendly.
There are however also downsides compared to the convenient stairmaster.
To find a good flight of stairs where you won’t disturb anyone with a workout you may have to go somewhere. This can take some time out of your likely already busy day. If these stairs are outside you are also more dependent on the weather.
On a regular flight of stairs you also have to go down at some point. This can be slightly harder on body parts like your knees, hips, and back. Going up and down is still relatively low-impact, just not as much as a good stairmaster.
2. Step aerobics
Step aerobics is a type of workout where you do sequences of steps with extra movement on and off a small raised platform, usually with music in the background. Many people consider this exercise as a fun way to get in some extra movement.
One of the reasons step aerobics stands out as a great alternative to using the stairmaster is that you are constantly stepping up and down a “stair”. Step aerobics is especially great for improving coordination.
On top of that step aerobics also allows you to burn a lot of calories, train your leg muscles, have fun during your workout, and improve cardiovascular health.
A step aerobics fitness equipment kit is also relatively cheap compared to a stairmaster or long-time gym subscription.
One potential small downside of step aerobics is that you have to pay more attention. If you want to zone out and think about life this is likely not the best alternative for you. Some people also just don’t enjoy step aerobics.
3. Elliptical machine
The elliptical trainer is a relatively popular cardio gym machine. Using this machine may look a bit complicated at first but this exercise is actually very beginner-friendly.
You simply select your desired resistance, put your feet on the pads and hands on the handles. After that, you move forward with your feet and back and forth with your hands at your desired intensity.
While this machine is definitely not the same as the stairmaster, the leg movements on the elliptical machine are not entirely different either.
Besides that, the elliptical trainer improves your cardiovascular health, burns a lot of calories, and trains similar leg muscles so it can be a great alternative to a stairmaster. An elliptical machine is also generally cheaper than a stairmaster.
One advantage or disadvantage depending on your personal situation and training goals is that the elliptical machine also engages a few upper body muscles with the handles.
4. Under desk pedal exerciser
A pedal exerciser for under your desk is exactly what it sounds like. Two pedals with resistance that you can “cycle” while sitting in front of your desk or on the couch watching television.
This next option is not an alternative piece of fitness equipment in the sense that it can replace a complete stairmaster. Instead, it is a way to slowly but surely improve certain aspects of your physical health throughout the day or when doing activities like watching tv.
The downside is that you improve cardiovascular health, strengthen your legs, burn calories, etc. to a lower extent compared to using a stairmaster.
The upside is that you can combine this piece of equipment with your daily tasks if you sit down a lot. An under the desk pedal exerciser is also a lot cheaper compared to a stairmaster.
A treadmill is one of the most popular gym machines there is. It simulates an endless surface to walk or run on. This machine is a great option if you are interested in improving your cardiovascular health as much as possible indoors.
Other treadmill benefits, especially if you use it for running, include strengthening your leg muscles, burning a lot of calories, improving lung health, and the other benefits of cardiovascular workouts. Another benefit is that treadmills are generally more budget-friendly than stairmasters.
Something you can do to make the treadmill more like a stairmaster, if your machine allows it, is to put it at an incline angle.
One potential downside of something like running on the treadmill compared to the stairmaster is that it is a lot harder on your knees. In turn, this can lead to more bone-strengthening as long as you don’t have to stop exercising due to injuries.
6. Mini stepper
Mini steppers are a device with two pedals that go down slowly if you put pressure on them. This allows you to get in a workout similar to a stairmaster but with a smaller range of motion with each step.
This makes it so the benefits of a mini stepper session are similar to the stairmaster but to a smaller extent.
A benefit of mini steppers is that they are a lot cheaper compared to a stairmaster. They are also very portable and usable while doing other things like watching tv.
One downside or potential downside of mini steppers is that they can be more challenging when it comes to balance. The pedals are on the small side so you want to put your feet on them exactly right and not swing back, forth, and sideways too much.
7. Vertical climber
Gym machines often try to simulate some real-life activity and the vertical climber is no different. Using this machine is similar to climbing an endless ladder.
That means that your leg movement will be similar to using a stairmaster but more vertical. In turn this leads to benefits like strengthening similar leg muscles, improving cardiovascular health, improving balance and coordination, etc.
The vertical climber is also different than using a stairmaster in a few ways. This machine will focus slightly more on improving cardiovascular health. Your arms will also have to work harder compared to climbing the stairs.
Besides that, the vertical climber is also often cheaper than stairmasters.
8. Stationary bike
Another very popular cardio exercise example is cycling either outside on an actual bike or at home in or in the gym on a stationary bike. Of these two options, the stationary bike is the alternative that comes closest to using a stairmaster.
Some of the benefits where the stationary bike resembles the stairmaster include: improving cardiovascular health indoors, training similar leg muscles, and burning a lot of calories.
In some ways, a stationary bike is even more helpful. For example, if you are dealing with balance issues, a stationary bike can be a safer alternative than a stairmaster. A stationary bike is also generally cheaper.
One potential downside is that the stationary bike has a slightly differnet muscle focus. For example your glutes (butt muscles) will likely have to work harder on the stairmaster than on the stationary bike.