Is The StairMaster Good For Weight Loss?

Photo of author
Last Updated On

Gym machines can benefit weight loss but some options are better than others. Find out whether StairMasters are good for losing weight.

To lose weight you have to make it so your body needs more energy than is coming in from food.

StairMasters are good for weight loss because they help you burn a nice amount of calories (= energy).

One of the more unique benefits of this gym machine is that it is easier on your ankles, knees, and back than something like running on a treadmill.

At the same time, you need to keep in mind that other areas of your health like the things you eat still play a big role in the weight loss process.

You can use the StairMaster a lot without any fat loss results with suboptimal habits in these other areas.

Additionally, implementing some weight lifting workouts into your exercise routine tends to be beneficial for weight loss too.

Is the StairMaster good for losing weight?

A lot of people will be aware of it but basically any form of exercise, including StairMaster sessions, are good for losing weight in the sense that they have the ability to benefit the weight loss process.

To lose weight you need to make it so your body needs more energy than is coming in from food. At this point, you start using up energy stores like body fat to get the difference.

Using a StairMaster can help you get to this point or make the difference bigger by increasing how much energy your body needs. More intense movements burn more calories.

Something important you do want to keep in mind is that other lifestyle habits like the things you eat still play a big role in whether you will lose weight and to what extent.

It is possible to use the best stairmasters with a great workout plan and not lose any fat due to suboptimal habits in these other areas.

How many calories the StairMaster burns vs alternatives

Whether or not StairMasters can help you burn more calories is not the only important detail.

You only have a limited amount of time so how this cardio machine compares to other options matters too.

Keep in mind that the predictions below are just very rough estimations.

In reality, the numbers can look different for you due to differences in body composition, hormone levels, exact speed, whether you use the StairMaster with weights, etc.

At the same time, the estimations do give you an idea of how many calories the StairMaster burns compared to other activities.

These numbers are estimations for a 155-pound (70 kg) person doing the activities for 30 minutes (1):

  • StairMaster: 330 calories
  • Water Aerobics: 149 calories
  • Stretching (Hatha Yoga): 186 calories
  • Rowing, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Bicycling, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Elliptical Trainer (general): 335 calories
  • Running 5.2 mph: 335 calories
  • Jumping rope: 372 calories
  • Swimming (breaststroke): 372 calories

It becomes clear that there are StairMaster alternatives that are even more effective but that this machine definitely has a lot of potential too.

Something to note is that these calorie-burning amounts apply to the time spent working out.

Doing exercise at high intensities can also cause something called afterburn. This comes down to burning a few more calories for a certain amount of time after you stop working out.

Does the StairMaster help you build any muscle?

Resistance training exercises like deadlifts, squats, bent-over rows, etc. can also benefit your weight loss by helping you grow muscle mass.

How much you weigh plays a big role in how much energy your body needs to function. By adding mass in a healthy way (with muscle) you can burn more calories throughout the day.

StairMasters do work muscles like your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and to some extent core.

However, typically not to the extent where you can expect significant amounts of muscle growth.

If you can do more than 50 steps on the StairMaster with each leg without fatiguing your muscles, you are likely not building that much, if any, muscle.

In theory, you could use the StairMaster with extra weights and skip a step each time to build muscle. In practice, a resistance training exercise like step-ups will be safer and more convenient.

Does the StairMaster help lose belly fat?

Many people get the impression that it is possible to lose fat from specific areas like their bellies by doing certain workouts.

Unfortunately, it is generally not possible to focus belly fat loss in significant amounts. Including when using a StairMaster.

At the same time, the StairMaster can still help you lose belly fat at a certain point in your fat loss journey.

To get there, you have to lose enough weight overall until your body “decides” it wants to use the fat from around your stomach.

Again, keep in mind that other lifestyle diets play an important role in this process.

What weight loss results you can expect from the StairMaster

Knowing what weight loss results you can expect from the StairMaster can motivate you to take action and figure out if you are doing something suboptimal when you are not seeing progress.

For these results, you need to assume you currently have a routine that keeps you at the same weight and that the only change you make is using the StairMaster more.

Using the StairMaster for 30 minutes a day can help a 185-pound (83 kg) person burn an extra 2,751 calories per week and an extra 11,790 calories (about 3.4 pounds or 1.5 kg of body fat) a month.

One thing to note is that as you lose weight, the same StairMaster workouts will start to burn fewer calories.

When this happens, you may need to increase the intensity of your workout program or make changes in other lifestyle areas.

That being said, the weight loss results are from only adding StairMaster sessions to your routine.

This should make it clear that you can experience even more impressive transformations by making positive changes in other lifestyle habits too.

How long you should do StairMaster workouts to lose weight

How long you should use the StairMaster to lose weight depends on a few different factors. There is not a single guideline for every individual.

For example, even if you have a lot of time, using the StairMaster more is not always optimal.

Your body needs to be able to deal with the more intense workout routine without getting injured.

Something else to keep in mind is what types of StairMaster workouts you do.

HIIT (high-intensity interval training) tends to take up less time than a steady-state cardio workout. Both can be effective for losing weight.

Additionally, if you have a lot of time, it is typically smart to implement some resistance training exercises to build muscle too.

You can consider something like doing 20 to 30 minutes of HIIT a good weight loss StairMaster workout.

However, again, the optimal amount will vary a lot from individual to individual. Make sure you don’t overdo it to avoid injuries.

How many times a week should you use the StairMaster to lose weight?

Similar to how long you should use the StairMaster, there is not one answer to how many times a week is optimal for losing weight.

Let’s say you are willing to free up as much time as needed for an optimal weight loss workout program and don’t have any specific exercise preferences.

In that case, something like using the StairMaster 3 to 4 times a week and doing resistance training 2 to 3 days a week can be great for losing weight.

That being said, your body needs to be able with an exercise routine like this. If you are an exercise beginner, you likely want to start with something small like only using the StairMaster once or twice a week.

Additionally, some people don’t want to do resistance training at all but have built up the strength to train a lot.

These people could consider using the StairMaster every day if they are smart about it (but less can offer nice weight loss results too).

Example StairMaster workout to lose weight

One of the benefits of StairMasters is that you can approach your exercise sessions in many ways.

The HIIT weight loss workout below is just one example of the options you have. You can adjust based on your preferences and training goals.

  • Climb 3 minutes at a slow speed to warm up
  • Put the StairMaster at a fast speed and climb for 3 minutes
  • Put the StairMaster at a slow speed and climb for 2 minutes
  • Alternate between the fast and slow speed intervals 4 to 6 times

Some of the details you can change include total duration, interval duration, speeds, with vs without weights, and different StairMaster exercises (aka types of stepping).

Is the StairMaster a good choice for losing weight?

The StairMaster is a gym machine that can help you burn a nice amount of calories per minute in a way that is relatively easy on your ankles, knees, and back.

This is not the only type of exercise that allows you to do these things but it is fair to say that using the StairMaster can be a good workout choice for losing weight.

Especially if you really like using this machine.

If you have the time and preference for it, implementing some resistance training exercises to build muscle tends to benefit your weight loss results.

The extra muscle mass helps you burn more calories throughout the day. Including during your StairMaster workouts.

Another important thing to note is that your other lifestyle habits like the things you eat still play a big role in the weight loss process.

You can have a great workout program and still see no progress if your habits in these other areas are suboptimal.

Is the treadmill or StairMaster better for weight loss?

Many people want to compare the treadmill and StairMaster because these are popular cardio machines in the gym.

When it comes to burning calories, at what intensity you use each machine will play a big role.

That being said, many people will find it easier to use the treadmill at higher intensities which means burning more calories.

Next, the StairMaster tends to be more friendly on your ankles, knees, and back than the treadmill. If you are new to exercise and have a few pounds to lose, the StairMaster could be the smarter choice.

If you want to invest in your own treadmill or StairMaster at home, the treadmill tends to be a lot more budget-friendly and requires less space.

Lastly, which machine you find the most enjoyable matters too. Staying consistent is a big part of a good weight loss exercise routine.


Is the StairMaster good for getting lean?

The StairMaster can be good for getting lean in the sense that it helps you burn a nice amount of calories. At the same time, your habits in other areas like nutrition still need to be good enough to get leaner.

Is 20 minutes on the StairMaster good?

20 minutes on the StairMaster can be considered to be a good workout. At the same time, some people will need to start with something shorter. Others may want to push themselves harder.

Photo of author


Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.