Using a stair stepping machine is not only good for toning and developing your lower body muscles, it is also a great cardio workout and a good way to lose weight.

Lower Body Workout

A step machine routine targets the lower body muscle groups, in particular the calves, quadriceps (quads), gluteals (glutes) and hip flexors. During a light routine, most of the work is done by the calves, hip flexors, with some use of the glutes and quads. As you increase the difficulty of pushing the foot pad down, your body naturally starts to bend forward at the hip.

Because your body’s center of gravity has shifted, your quads increase their work in an effort to correct your forward lean. If you keep your feet flat on the foot pads, your glutes start to work harder. With your heel off of the foot pad, the quads get a better workout.


Because these are large muscles groups, they require a lot of oxygen when they are worked over a long period of time – 30 minutes or more. As your body senses the increase of oxygen needed to support the metabolic process – the conversion of glycogen within the muscles into energy – and the removal of carbon dioxide, it signals the heart to start beating faster. Since the heart is a muscle itself, the extra pumping it needs to do also help to strengthen it too. So the cardiovascular exercise is actually a secondary benefit of the workout itself.

Weight Loss

Step exercising is not only good for developing the heart and lower body muscle groups, it’s a good way to lose weight. When a step workout is done for at least 30 minutes or more, you get into a fat-burning mode where your body is using stored fat as fuel since the muscles ran out of stored glycogen after about 20 minutes.

Abdominal Core

Your abdominal core is not a muscle group that is directly worked by a step workout. However, it gets naturally exercised by you trying to maintain a straight posture during a step routine. To further develop your abdominal core, pull-in your stomach and hold for 10-20 seconds. Relax it for 10 – 20 seconds. Repeat this process throughout your step routine.

Having a toned core gives you better stability and balance, and helps to maintain good posture. Good posture and a strong core can prevent future back problems.