StairMaster vs. Elliptical: Which One is Better for Your Workout?

StairMaster vs. Elliptical: Which One is Better for Your Workout?

Let’s say you’ve been hitting the gym lately for the first time in your life, as you’ve finally decided to impress the girl you like. It wasn’t long until you got caught up in one of the biggest dilemmas that those attending the gym have: StairMaster or elliptical?

To give the right answer to the puzzling problem, you first need to take into account your own preferences, fitness goals, as well as any other considerations regarding your fitness level and health.

Before trying to find the answer, it’s important to acknowledge and take into account that both the StairMaster and the elliptical machine are capable of offering effective cardiovascular workouts. However, their main differences have to do with muscle engagement, the impacts on joints, as well as overall workout experience.

Let’s get into more detail, shall we?


Caloric burn:

If you opt for stair climbing, that will ensure you a high caloric burn, which means that we’re talking about an efficient option in the case of those who want to burn calories and also improve their cardiovascular fitness.

Muscle engagement:

You can easily figure out that stair climbing activates and stimulates the muscles of your lower body, such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves. The core muscles are also involved to a certain extent.

Impact on joints:

Since stair climbing is a weight-bearing exercise, it means that this exercise has some impact on the joints. However, the impact is still lower than the one assured by activities such as running.


Stair climbing is effective if you want to build endurance and strength, and it can also be an intense exercise. If you’re looking for an extra challenge, you can always adjust the resistance level from the StairMaster.


Caloric burn:

In the case of ellipticals, exercises will assure an effective cardiovascular workout with a moderate to high caloric burn. The possibility to use both the lower and the upper parts of the body will contribute to increased calorie expenditure.

Muscle management:

Perhaps not many people are aware that elliptical machines are able to provide a full-body workout, as they engage both the lower and the upper parts of the human body. As the pedals move in an elliptical motion, they involve the arms, legs, glutes, and shoulders.

Impacts on joints:

Usually, ellipticals are considered low-impact, which means that they are suitable for those folks who deal with joint issues or who wish to reduce stress on their joints.


Ellipticals also offer variable resistance levels, as well as incline settings. These machines allow the user to adjust the intensity of the workout. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced exerciser, ellipticals can still be useful.


Joint health:

If you have concerns regarding your joints or you are in recovery because of an injury, opting for an elliptical machine might represent the gentler option, considering its low-impact nature.

Space and accessibility:

Before making your decision, you also need to consider the space available in your home or gym, as well as the accessibility of each of the two machines. Ellipticals may be more suitable for home use, and they even often have a smaller footprint.

Personal preferences:

If you prefer the rhythmic motion that stair climbing assures, it’s obvious what you need to choose. If, instead, you like the smooth and gliding motion of an elliptical more comfortably, it’s clear that you have to go for an Elliptical.

Besides the exercises with the StairMaster and the elliptical machines, it’s also a good idea to add a variety of other exercises into your fitness routine. In that way, you can target various muscle groups.


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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