Does Walking on a StairMaster Build Your Glutes?

A brand of stair climber, the StairMaster is a cardio workout machine found in many gyms and homes. It builds cardiovascular endurance while toning and firming lower-body muscles, including your glutes. The StairMaster can be adjusted for greater intensity, working your lower body harder, making the cardio workout more challenging.

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A young woman on a stair machine at the gym. (Image: Joseph C. Justice Jr./iStock/Getty Images)

The StairMaster and Your Glutes

Using the StairMaster will not give you large, bulky leg or gluteal muscles, as it is an endurance rather than bodybuilding exercise machine. The StairMaster tones your legs and helps build lean muscle through endurance cardio exercise. For slimmer, firmer legs and butt, use the StairMaster as part of your weekly cardio training, using it two to three day a week for 30 minutes a day. It is recommended that adults do at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, five days a week, to maintain a good level of fitness.

Your Three Gluteal Muscles

Your glutes are made up of three different muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. While your gluteus maximus is the largest of the three muscles and makes up the majority of your butt, your medius and minimus are as important too. The maximus provides the rounded shape of your butt and helps with hip movement. The medius and minimus muscles stabilize your pelvis when you walk or need to stay balanced. Using the StairMaster can tone and firm your gluteal muscles, but according to Dr. Michele Olson, it will not bulk up your glutes. The StairMaster provides a cardio workout, so it builds endurance rather than muscle bulk.

Tone Your Glutes: Single-Leg Squat

If you are looking to build gluteal strength or tone your hip area, you need to do resistance exercises that target your glutes. The American Heart Association recommends two to three days a week of moderate to intense resistance training, for a minimum of 20 minutes per day to keep your muscles toned and strong. To build extra muscle, increase your number of workout days to every other day -- Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, for example. Use additional weights to build muscle, increasing the amount of weight when doing one rep requires less than 80 percent of your full muscular strength. Do a lower number of reps, between one and six, with heavier weights to build your glutes faster.

Build Your Glutes: The Single-Leg Squat

The single-leg towel squat not only exercises your lower-body muscles, it targets your medius and minimus glutes. Hold a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart, tilting your pelvis forward and engaging your abs. Place your right foot on top of a folded towel and slowly sink down on your left leg, bending at the hip and knee while keeping your right leg straight. Let your right leg slide out to the side. Stop when your left thigh is parallel to the floor, but do not let your left knee extend past your toes. Slowly rise back up and repeat six times per side for two sets. Increase the weight by 2 to 5 pounds as you gain strength.

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