How Does the Stair Climber Compare to Running – Which Is Better?

How Does the Stair Climber Compare to Running – Which Is Better?

While it might sound simple and unchallenging, running and stair climbing are two of the most engaging workouts that can help you shed pounds and stay in great shape. Both are extremely effective in working the inferior body area but they also provide great cardio training that improves your overall health condition.

Whether you go for a run in the park or climb a dozen stairs, make sure you include these exercises in your daily training routine. In case you are not sure which of the two is more effective and which one can bring you the most benefits, keep reading to discover the perks of the two types. You might find out that climbing stairs can provide a full range of body training and weight loss results.

Convenience and accessibility

Running is one of the most common and simple forms of exercising, one that doesn’t require special training or expensive equipment. If you rely on a comfy pair of shoes, you can head to the park and enjoy some fresh air. Stair climbing is equally accessible as you can use basic stairs you can find in buildings or parks.

The best part about stair-climb training is that you can try it at home and still get the most of it. Home training on a stair climber machine is highly convenient since this gear doesn’t involve a major financial effort, as the treadmill does. For a little over $100, you can get a helpful climber that will come in handy every time you want to exercise at home. Moreover, indoor exercising offers the benefit of working out even when the weather is not very friendly, as you won’t have to face the wind or rain if you want to train.

What makes the stair climber more challenging?

Running involves moving in a horizontal pattern, with a slight vertical movement, if we refer to hill running. Stair climbing, on the other hand, is a more stimulating movement that involves fighting gravity to remain in a vertical pattern. As you move your legs and hands up and down, your body must resist gravity and maintain an upright posture while lifting all your weight. Also, you will work both the arms and legs muscles and even the core that sustains the vertical posture.

Most stair climbers have adjustable heights so you can increase the level of difficulty of your climbing to match the one of cliff climbing. While a medium hill provides a 4.5% incline, a climbing machine can reach up to 65% incline, which will accelerate your heart rate and help you improve your breathing.

You indeed manage to burn calories while you run, around 300 calories in 30 minutes if you run at a 5mph speed. The cardio training on the stair climber will help you burn around 500 calories with the added perk of being more engaging for the whole body. Therefore, as the blood circulation will be improved, you will build more strength and endurance and the physical effort will be greatly increased.

If you decide to try a set of stair climbing, you will benefit from it in more than one way:

  • It will help you tone your inferior body muscles
  • It increases the heart rate, thus offering intense cardio training
  • It builds strength and resistance
  • It reduces the cholesterol levels
  • It helps you lose pounds by burning a high number of calories
  • It doesn’t involve expensive equipment
  • It can be performed outdoors or indoors when it’s raining
  • It can be incorporated into your daily routine at any moment

High impact vs. low impact training

The biggest concern when referring to lower body training is the pressure you put on the articulations of your knees and ankles. If you have suffered an injury in the past or you struggle with joint pain, you know how painful and dangerous running can be, considering it is a high-impact exercise. With each step, you overexert your articulations. Stair climbing, on the other hand, can be a low-impact workout if you choose the right type of stair climber. As it doesn’t involve lifting your feet, you won’t put any pressure on the joints and you will manage to work both areas of your body, the superior and the inferior. Given that you will be using your arms as well, the pressure and effort are equally balanced throughout the entire body, thus reducing the stress on the leg joints.

Another great alternative is the mini-stepper where you keep each foot on its platform and press alternatively on one platform to raise the other foot’s platform, which can be an excellent low-impact workout gear. Hence, when you want a means of dealing with joint pain without quitting working out, the stair stepper could be your ideal pick.


In the end, the choice between the two training methods is up to you. You could go for a jog if you want a mid-intensity workout or you could upgrade your game with a stair climber that provides an intense cardio workout. Their efficiency in helping you stay fit and burn calories is similar, so you could pick any of the two without risking achieving poorer results. So, the answer is yes, stair climbing can definitely compare to running when it comes to fruitful training.