The Stair Stepper – Cardiovascular Exercise Machine

The fitness and exercise industry has a wide variety of cardiovascular exercises that are designed to help you tone up and lose weight. These cardiovascular machines are designed to mimic movements that are performed by the body.

Some of these movements include: running, jogging, running and even High Intensity Interval Training. One of the best cardiovascular machines available, is the Stair Stepper.

The Stair Stepper has a long history of helping its users lose tons of weight and get into great shape. Since the initial creation of the Stair Stepper there have been many advancements made in this machine.

History of the Stair Stepper

The history of the Stair Stepper goes back to the Sporting Goods Association trade show in 1986. During this trade show the first Stair Stepper was unveiled by Lanny Potts and Jim Walker. The very first Stair Stepper was called the StairMaster 5000 and it revolutionized how people thought of exercising.

The design of the StairMaster 5000 mimicked the motion of walking up a flight of stairs. However it allowed the machine itself remained stationary as the steps rotated. The StairMaster was also called a “step treadmill” and worked off a centrifugal brake system that powered the StairMaster.

A year later the StairMaster 5000 was replaced by its successor the StairMaster 6000. The StairMaster 6000 offered its users a new option that its predecessor did not. The StairMaster 600 offered trainers an opportunity to track their heart rate, with a heart rate monitor. The StairMaster 6000 also offered its users a thermal print out of the workout information(calories burned, distance walked and time).

For the first time ever trainers could easily track their workouts without having to do so on paper. This feature would become standard with future StairMaster and other cardiovascular equipment.

In 1986 the StairMaster 6000 was replaced by the StairMaster 4000PT. This system once again changed the features of the StairMaster. The two StairMasters before the 4000PT offered standard stair steps that the user would walk up.

The StairMaster 4000PT replaced these stair steps with two individual pedals that the user would walk on. Both of these pedals would work independently of each other. Instead of walking up a flight of stairs, the user would be mimicking the motion of riding a bike upright. After three years of successful cardiovascular machinery, the company was finally bought by Nautilus, which is a fitness giant all its own.

Benefits: Stair Stepper

Stair Steppers are an incredible piece of workout equipment that offers users a plethora of benefits. When compared to other machines(treadmills, stationary bikes and step mills), the Stair Stepper is vastly superior. The Stair Stepper offers you an complete leg workout along with a cardiovascular workout.

This means that not only does this exercise make your heart stronger, but it also strengthens your lower body. A Stair Stepper will target all of the major muscles of the legs including: quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and lower abs.

Stair Steppers cause a trainer to recruit more muscle fibers than treadmills causing more calories to be burned with every step.

What makes the Stair Stepper so incredible is the dynamic movements that must be done to perform the exercise. Unlike a bike that mimics the same movements, a Stair Stepper forces a user to engage the entire leg. Climbing up a flight of stairs is a much harder movement to perform than walking down the stairs or up a hill.

When walking up a flight of stairs you have to not only step on time, but also maintain your balance while doing so. Also walking up a flight of stairs requires that you exert more energy(calories) than any other type of cardiovascular exercise.

Another benefit of the Stair Stepper is that the level of intensity is not generated by the user, but by the machine. On a bike a person can pause and take a break(coasting), but on a Stair Stepper the machine forces the user to continue to walk or risk falling off the machine.

The StairMaster 7000 requires full exertion of your body as each step is about 8 inches high. This means that users must full lift their legs up to make it to the next step. There is no way that you can cheat a step on the StairMaster 7000!

Other Benefits of Stair Steppers

Compared to other pieces of equipment the Stair Steppers are incredibly basic and easy to use. The Stair Stepper does not require any additional equipment to be used correctly. Many of the Stair Steppers offer you pre programmed courses as well as other resistance training options.

The Pre programmed courses will take you through a track that will mix up your training and intensify your workouts. This will ensure that you are never bored with any of your workouts.

Stair Steppers Brands

There are a wide variety of different Stair Steppers available on the market. Since the inception of the first StairMaster, there have been many companies that have created stair steppers of their own. These stair steppers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, offering you tons of features.

Some of these companies even sale stair steppers that can be used at home. These home Stair Steppers are perfect for those looking to begin their weight loss journey. Famous companies such as: Bowflex and Total Gym offer a large variety of these cardiovascular machines.

A Look Back At Stair Steppers

As you can see Stair Steppers offer users so many different options and benefits that will help them on their fitness journeys. Stair Steppers come in a variety of different styles so finding the perfect one for you will be no problem.

The earliest types of Stair Steppers are still in production and can be found at many gyms. These stair steppers help users burn tons of calories and provides them with a more effective workout. When compared to other cardiovascular machines, stair steppers have no competition.

Stamina SpaceMate Folding Space

The Stamina SpaceMate Folding Space is an awesome home cardiovascular machine for those looking to get into shape. The Stamina SpaceMate offers you an incredible machine that is small enough to fit in any room in your home. The SpaceMate make use of the the stair master design with two individual pedals for your feet.

These pedals act independently of each other mimicking a real life walk, run or jog. The machine comes complete with two adjustable resistance cylinders that offer you a smooth stepping motion. There are also two foam handle bars that are perfect for gripping during a workout.

The handle bars are non slip so you never have to worry about losing your grip while working out.To help you keep up to date with your progress, there is a monitor tracker on this device. This will help you monitor the amount of steps you have taken, the amount of calories burned and the distance that you have walked.

Finally, the SpaceSaver also can be folded for easy storage around the house. Folding and unfolding the SpaceSaver is very easy and can be done in a few easy steps. The non skid rubber floor protectors are perfect for set up in any room of your home(carpeted or tiled).


  • Two non slip, foam handlebars are perfect for holding onto during a workout.
  • Two independent pedals work together to mimic natural stepping motion
  • Incredibly small space that can fit in any room in your home
  • Resistance cylinders make using this stepper incredible smooth
  • Monitor tracks your calories, distance, and steps taken
  • Folds up quite neatly, perfect for storage under bed or in a closet
  • Unfolding is very simple.
  • Non skid floor protectant makes this Space saver easy to use around the house


  • No additional weights come with the machine
  • Only supports weights up to 250 lbs.

Sunny Twister Stepper with Handle Bars

The Sunny Twister Stepper is perfect for those looking for a more challenging stepper. This stepper will allow you to not only burn calories while stepping in place, but also offers a unique twisting motion. The twist actions is perfect for toning individual parts of your lower body.

This twister targets the glutes, hamstrings and calves, allowing you to burn fat and tone up. The Twister comes with dual handle bars that can be used while twisting or walking. The twist stepper offers you a monitor that will show you the time elapsed, calories burned or the amount of steps taken.

The frame of this machine is made from heavy duty steel. This steel frame is able to withstand a lot of use and still function properly. The stepping platform is completely adjustable allowing you to adjust it to your needs. The frame is does not take up much space and can easily fit in your home or office. Foot pedals are designed to be non slipping so you never have to worry about injuries while working out.


  • The Adjustable stepping height is perfect for ensuring that you are always comfortable.
  • Handle bar is perfect for balancing while twisting and walking.
  • Two pedals are designed to be non slip.
  • LCD computer offers you a variety of options
  • Functions included: calories, time, steps taken.
  • Very lightweight design that can be stored in a corner
  • Comes pre assembled.
  • Steps do not place stress and strain on joints
  • Great for all levels of fitness
  • Heavy duty steel makes this frame sturdy and durable
  • Twist action allows you to tone up.


  • Not intended for those 300 lbs or heavier.
  • No additional weights are included.

Multisports ST-2200 Stepper

The Multisports ST-2200 stepper is an incredible cardiovascular device that will allow you to take full advantage of your workouts. This stepper comes equipped with two steppers that work independently of each other. This motion will feel more natural as your are stepping your way to weight loss.

The two steppers are non slip giving you more safety as you progress through harder workouts. The steppers are incredibly wide giving your feet the space to move through the various exercises. The frame of the stepper is made from steel giving this machine a rugged construction.

This stepper is incredibly durable and can withstand any “bumps” it experience along the way. The stepper is designed to be incredibly quiet and easy to use.

The Multisports ST-2200 Stepper are designed with side rails that are perfect for gripping during the usage of it. The Side rails also allow you a friction free stepper that will not leave skid marks on your floor. The Silent drive allows you to workout during anytime of the day or night, without bothering others in your home. The stepper also comes with a heart monitor that will track your heart rate before, during and after a workout.

LCD monitor works as a workout tracker that will measure your: time, resistance levels, calories, heart rate and pulse. This will offer you a complete print out of every workout that you do. There are also 10 programs that you can set before you begin a workout. Six of them are preset and the other 4 are manual.

There is also a manual quick start to get your workouts going quicker.These 10 programs will allow you to add some variety and intensity to your workouts, ensuring that you never get bored. Without all of these features and functions, this stair stepper is sure to help you take your workouts to the next level.


  • Heavy Duty, Durable Steel
  • Rugged Construction
  • No noise drive mechanism
  • Dual stepping action
  • Incredibly wide steps
  • Self leveling steps
  • Adjustable Side panels
  • LCD computer tracks a variety of different variables
  • 10 programs that will offer you unique workouts
  • Designed to monitor your heart rate
  • Lifetime warranty of steel frame
  • Parts have a warranty of one year


  • Is not designed for those that weigh more than 250 lbs.
  • Does not come with any additional weights for use.


Kelly is a personal fitness trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with clients all over the world. With over 15 years in the health and fitness industry she will be sharing her knowledge with the Fitness Fixation community.