Stairmaster vs Treadmill vs Vertical Climber: Which Burns the Most Calories and Gives You a Better Workout in Less Time?

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When you enter a gym and see different types of gym equipment, cardio machines and contraptions, it can be quite mind-boggling and confusing, not to mention intimidating too. While some people may like to work out on the treadmill, others may prefer the Stairmaster, while some others may claim that the vertical climber offers the best workout.

However, at the end of it all, the best cardio machine is one that helps you burn the most calories, lose weight and boost your fitness levels. The best machine really comes down to the one that produces the best results for the time you invest. The main thing that you must consider before getting onto any of these cardio machines is your intended goal and which one will help you achieve your goals more quickly.

The Treadmill

When you speak about cardio, you straightaway tend to head towards the treadmill, which is mainly associated with walking and running. In terms of usage, treadmills are the easiest cardio machines to use. The flat surface of the treadmill makes it quite easy to walk on without being too worried about stumbling over uneven terrain or having trouble while walking uphill.


Treadmills are very convenient machines that allow you to get the cardio exercise you need to keep healthy and fit. Also, it is a great piece of equipment that you can have in your home that lets you exercise in the comfort of your home, without actually getting out.


Treadmills allow you to track your progress and are equipped with digital monitors that give you various statistics such as the distance covered, heart rate, time and calories burned. Some treadmills also allow you to save your statistics, which allow you to monitor your progress. Digital treadmill models have inbuilt workout programs, which have preset settings with different inclines, speeds, etc. that makes the workout more challenging, as well as interesting.


Advantages of Treadmills

Weight Loss

The biggest advantage of using a treadmill is that it helps to lose weight and lose weight fast. Running on a treadmill can help you burn around 600 to 1,200 calories in an hour and running for around 20 minutes at 6 Mph can burn around 229 calories, while running on an incline can help to boost your body metabolism even for hours after you have completed your workout. On the other hand, walking on the treadmill burns around 150 to 400 calories per hour depending on the speed and incline. The calories you burn really depends on the time you spend on the treadmill and also on your speed.


Improves Heart Health

Treadmills offer an excellent cardiovascular workout and help to improve your heart’s health. Every step on the treadmill helps to strengthen the heart and also lowers blood pressure. Walking or running helps to boost the blood flow, which helps to reduce the stress on the heart. Aerobic exercise such as walking or running on the treadmill also helps to reduce the bad cholesterol levels in the blood and also reduces the risk of heart disease, which is one of the leading cause of death.


Enhances Muscle Tone

The treadmill helps to burn calories gradually and also helps to tone your shins, calves, hamstrings and quadriceps. Running on a treadmill adds greater intensity and burns more fat in the glutes and walking at an incline helps to tone your leg muscles even more and also intensifies your workout. Running on the treadmill is great to build endurance and stamina and it impacts the entire body. Walking or running on the treadmill with small weights held in your hand can also help to tone up your arm muscles.


So, whether your objective is to lose weight, improving your heart health or building muscle, a treadmill is excellent equipment to invest in for your workouts. It is easy and convenient to use and also allows you to keep track of your progress.


The Stairmaster

The Stairmaster is a wonderful piece of equipment that simulates climbing stairs. Apart from being a wonderful way to get your cardiovascular workout in, it also helps to develop leg muscle strength. The Stairmaster can be customized to various fitness levels by adjusting the resistance and speed settings.


The Stairmaster can help to burn around 300-400 calories in an hour depending on the intensity and speed and can help to tone the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps and calves. The constant stepping motion on the Stairmaster allows you to build endurance.


Advantages of the Stairmaster

Workouts using the Stairmaster are extremely effective and help in strengthening and toning of the core, hips, legs, thighs and butt. It also helps to improve balance and agility.

Weight Loss

One of the main pluses of the Stairmaster is that it is low impact while allowing a high rate of calorie burn. The Stairmaster mostly engages the lower body muscles that burn the most number of calories and another reason why the Stairmaster burns calories efficiently is that the heart rate quickly rises into the range where fat burning occurs and the heart rate is elevated for around 19 minutes during a 20-minute workout on a Stairmaster. So, the calories burnt when using a Stairmaster is much greater than any other form of exercise.


The weight loss that occurs due to exercising on the Stairmaster is among the highest of all fitness machines. Also, the low-impact nature of the exercise that you get while using the Stairmaster makes it ideal for use by people with any type of fitness level in order to lose weight.


Great for Lower Body Workout

The Stairmaster is an excellent piece of equipment for lower body workouts with focus on the glutes, calves, hamstrings and quads. Due to the pushing and climbing resistance, you tend to build lean muscle mass, strength and also burn fat.


However, to get the best benefits of exercising on the Stairmaster, you must maintain proper posture and form while working out. A poor posture will reduce the efficiency of the workout and also result in a fewer number of calories being burned.

Low Impact Exercise

Strenuous exercising can be tough on your joints, especially at an older age. It can also cause injury and damage. The Stairmaster is a good form of exercise as the motion is smooth and low impact and therefore reduces the risk of injury to the joints. You can get an effective workout with the Stairmaster even if it used at a very slow pace. This implies that if you are normally unable to use other types of fitness equipment, you can use the Stairmaster comfortably to accommodate your fitness needs.


Excellent for Exercising the Core

The main focus of a workout using the Stairmaster is on the lower muscle groups. However, by maintaining proper posture and form, the muscles of the abdomen also get engaged and your core also gets exercised.


Strengthening the core can help to improve balance, which is especially essential for older people. Also, a strong core helps to improve the spinal alignment and posture and helps to alleviate or prevent chronic back ailments and pain. This also helps you to go about your daily tasks.


Cardiovascular Conditioning

Using the Stairmaster for around 20 minutes, 3-5 times in a week can help to increase your endurance, stamina and also improve your cardiovascular health. Your fitness levels improve along with the increase in speed and working out at a higher resistance level.

The Vertical Climber

A vertical climber is a slim and tall exercise machine and it makes you climb as if you’re scaling an extremely tall wall or the face of a steep mountain. You make use of your hands and legs to mimic climbing a mountain and just 5 minutes of doing this will make you feel like you have scaled one.


Just spending a few minutes exercising on the vertical climber can burn a huge number of calories and you can easily burn up to 10-20 calories per minute depending on the intensity of your workout and your weight. Exercising on the vertical climber increases the aerobic capacity and the intense workout helps to tone the entire body, shed weight and get fit. However, most people avoid the vertical climber, as it involves a lot of hard work.


It may be difficult to work out on the vertical climber if you are a beginner and just a few minutes can wear you out. However, over time, you can increase the intensity and length of your workout. The machine allows you to do different types of exercises and the machine also has pre-programmed workouts.


Advantages of a Vertical Climber

Calorie Burning

A vertical climber works all your muscle groups simultaneously and it makes exercising very efficient. Using the vertical climber boosts your metabolism and helps to burn more calories in lesser time compared to other exercise machines like a treadmill or a Stairmaster. The machine gets your body into the fat-burning mode very quickly and your body will burn fat around 95% of the time that you’re exercising. And, just 30 minutes of exercising regularly on the vertical climber can give you amazing results.


Overall Muscle Toning

The best part about using the vertical climber is that it does not only tone one part of the body. Your entire body i.e. lower and upper body and the core, all get toned.


Low-Impact Exercise

The vertical climber is a low impact exercise and does not put too much stress on your joints unlike treadmills and other exercise machines. The vertical climber works on the entire body without stressing any single part of your body. And, as you are climbing and your feet do not touch the ground, the impact on your knees, feet and hips are minimal. A vertical climber offers excellent cardio that is safe for your muscles and joints.

Improves Balance, Coordination and Stamina

While vertical climbers take a while to get used to you can get a hang of it very quickly. They are fairly easy to use and with time, you will find that your balance and coordination has improved significantly. Exercising on vertical machines also help to increase stamina levels and the levels of resistance can be adjusted easily. Over time, you can increase the difficulty of your workout. You can also adjust the height of the machine making it suitable for people of varied heights, shapes and fitness levels.

Enhances VO2 Max

The amount of oxygen used by the body during a rigorous aerobic workout session is known as VO2 max. You will be able to exercise longer when the oxygen intake by the body is better. Exercising on the vertical climber is a great way to improve your VO2 max as the machine increases both your heart rate as well as your rate of breathing, which in turn enables your body to burn calories at a much faster rate.

Helps to Strengthen Bones

Vertical climbing is a weight-bearing exercise, which forces you to work against gravity and this results in increasing your bone density. As you grow older, your bone density decreases and exercising on the vertical climber is a fantastic way to maintain healthy bone density. This kind of exercise not only helps to strengthen your bones but also helps to promote new bone growth and also enhance the postural muscles.



Today, with our busy lives, spending plenty of time for a long workout is quite difficult. Exercising on a vertical climber is extremely convenient and you can get an intense and rigorous complete body workout in less than 15 minutes, not to mention the huge calorie burn.


Also, vertical climbers are very slim and compact, don’t take up a lot of space and can be a great addition to your home gym. These machines are great space savers. They are extremely easy to setup and easy to fold and store away under your bed or in your cupboard when not being used.


So, when you compare the three exercise machines, the treadmill, the Stairmaster and the vertical climber, they all have their pros and cons. However, when you look at the three in terms of the calorie burning capacity and the best machine for weight loss, then the vertical climber is the most effective, which allows you to burn most calories and offers the most intense workout in the shortest period of time. Also, the vertical climber offers a more comprehensive and overall body toning.


The Stairmaster is also an excellent exercise machine that focuses on toning the lower body, strengthening the core and offers significant calorie burning. The treadmill is an all-time favorite which is a great machine for walking, running and cardio and also helps in toning and weight loss, though you may have to be patient to see results.


Nevertheless, all three machines are great for weight loss, to keep fit and for overall health and you must decide on the equipment that is best for you on basis of your current fitness levels and your future goals.


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