Does the StairMaster Help Your Glutes?

Known more as a cardiovascular exercise machine, the StairMaster, a brand oof stair-climbing machine, also helps to tone and firm your legs and butt. A StairMaster is designed to be used for steady-state exercise for an extended period of time, and the speed and resistance level can be adjusted to meet your individual exercise needs. According to the American Heart Association, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week is recommended for adults to maintain good physical health.

The StairMaster provides a cardio workout while toning your legs and hips. (Image: poplasen/iStock/Getty Images)

Gluteal Muscles

Your "glutes," the muscles that make up your butt and hips, are actually three muscles: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. The StairMaster exercises all three of these muscles with the upward stepping motion required to use the machine as designed. As the StairMaster is designed for cardio exercise, using it can increase your heart rate for an extended period of time, helping you burn calories and lose body fat. While you can't spot reduce, using the StairMaster will help you burn calories, helping you lose weight and overall body fat.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance is required for any physical activity that lasts for an extended period of time. Muscular endurance relies on slow-twitch muscle fibers, as opposed to fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are used for explosive energy and which are responsible for building muscle mass. Using the StairMaster primarily works your slow-twitch fibers, but will also build some muscular strength by exercising your fast-twitch fibers, especially in your glutes and leg muscles because of the stepping motion.

Does the StairMaster Build Bulk?

According to Fitness Magazine, the StairMaster will not build bulk because it builds muscular endurance rather than size. Your legs or glutes may appear larger after a StairMaster workout because the blood vessels will dilate during a workout, making your legs and hips appear temporarily larger. Once your blood pressure returns to normal, your legs will return to their normal appearance. However, regular workouts will result in more toned glutes over time.

Lower Body Resistance Training

While the StairMaster will help burn calories, improve your cardio fitness level and help tone your thighs and hips, building muscle strength in your glutes is also important. To do this, supplement your StairMaster workout with two to three days of resistance training for 20 minutes per day, as recommended by the American Heart Association, to build glute strength. Strong glutes will improve your overall fitness level and reduce the risk of injury during a StairMaster workout, as your glutes provide overall stability to your body. Lower-body exercises that target your glutes include body-weight squats and lunges, both of which can be done at home with no extra exercise equipment.

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