Climbing Workout Machines

Written by andrea chrysanthou
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Climbing Workout Machines
Stair climbers offer ideal cardio workouts. (Andersen Ross/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Climbing machines offer ideal cardio workouts while giving your leg muscles intense conditioning. Many people misuse the machines, leaning on the handles and minimising the amount of weight their legs are carrying. This results in burning less calories and getting a less-intense workout. When used properly, climbing machines can burn more calories than jogging, and there are a variety of machines available that can provide challenging workouts.


The Stairmaster and other stair stepping machines are upright machines that mimic the motion of climbing stairs. The machine provides a great leg and glute workout, but the upper body gets very little exercise because your hands rest on rails during the workout. This is one of the most misused cardio machines because many exercisers lean on the rails rather than stand upright while performing the workout.


The stepmill is similar to an escalator. You climb up the up-escalator steps which are motorised while holding on to the hand rails. As with the stairmaster, there is a tendency for exercisers to lean on the rails and lower the intensity of their workouts.

Jacobs Ladder

The Jacobs ladder is a cardio machine that looks like a ladder on a 40-degree angle. You use both your arms and legs to climb up the ladder. Because of its angle, there is less stress on your lower back. This machine is actually self-powered so you climb up the ladder at your own pace.

Versa Climber

The Versa Climber claims to burn more calories than other climbing machines. This machine has a vertical design that mimics a ladder. You use your arms and legs to mimic the motion of climbing a ladder, which burns more calories than climbers that only focus on the lower body. There are safety hand rails in some models. Using the hand rails lowers the intensity of your workout.


This machine is a combination of a stair climbing machine and a treadmill. You use the treadclimber in the same way as a treadmill, except that in place of a walking belt, there are two steppers that mimic the motion of walking-up stairs.

Incline Trainer

Incline trainers are treadmills that have the capacity to increase their incline to 30 to 40 per cent. Treadmills only have a 15 per cent incline. These machines can be intense to use during the course of exercise, especially when exercisers do not rely on the handrails.

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