December 06, 2021 4 min read

With the large selection of fitness equipment available today, it can be hard to find the right one for you. Some things to consider when choosing an exercise machine include your fitness goals and the body position of the machine. With that said, recumbent machines and upright machines are two common cardio machines for weight loss. Here’s a brief guide on the differences between recumbent and upright stair climbers to help you decide what to get. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages to know, depending on your fitness level and physical capabilities.

Recumbent Machines

Recumbent machines are unique exercise machines that feature a laidback riding position. Unlike a traditional upright bicycle, the reclining seat position ensures ergonomic protection that contours to your body’s natural alignment.


They evenly distribute the rider’s weight over a large area to further support the back and buttocks. Moreover, a recumbent position offers a shorter distance from the ground, thus reducing the impact of a vertical fall. Recumbent bike machines alleviate chronic pain in the back or neck compared to upright positions. Riders may also notice a difference in joint stress, given that recumbent bikes reduce lactic acid buildup and hydrostatic pressure. As a result, recumbent positions improve blood circulation to the heart, which increases rider endurance and power output. Respiratory circulation also improves, so riders breathe better. Therefore, it’s no surprise that recumbent positions are more suitable for older users or those with physical limitations. They place less stress on the neck, wrists, hands, arms, lower back, and buttocks to allow for longer usage in a comfortable position.


Recumbent machines also have some limitations, however. They don’t offer much exercise variation due to how they reduce pressure on joints, muscles, and bones. They’re best for steady-state practicality. Riders cannot vary their cardiovascular workouts as easily as with other machines. Putting the body in a seated position also may lead to soreness or body aches in the seated areas. Recumbent bikes also have limited physical accessibility due to their positioning. In contrast to stair climbers or other cardio machines, recumbent bikes do not offer full-body usage. Ellipticals, stair climbers, and treadmills engage various lower and upper body muscles when you use them, while recumbent bicycles limit activation to the lower body.

Upright Stair Climbers

On the other hand, stair climbers—also known as stair masters or stair steppers—are another cardiovascular exercise machine type. Ultimately, stair climbers require users to pump pedals up and down the same way they would move up regular stairs. Some machines incorporate individual stair pedals, while other use a conveyor belt system like a treadmill. Often, stair climbers feature handles to help you push and pull your entire body through the exercise.


Stair climbing is an effective low-impact exercise for cardiovascular endurance. Contemporary stair climbers typically include a built-in heart rate monitor, visual display screen, and speedometer, making adjusting the level of resistance simple. Unlike exercise bikes, stair steppers require users to support their own weight while standing on the machine. As you control the intensity of the workout, you use your legs, back, and abdomen to keep your body upright. Those seeking higher intensity exercise may opt for a stair climber over an exercise bike due to the number of calories burned on it. You use more calories on a stair climber than an exercise bike, even at lower resistance levels due to the amount of energy required to move while using it. Stair climbers are also better at providing full-body workouts to strengthen joints, muscles, and bones due to the increased stress and resistance they present.


Of course, stair climbers have their disadvantages. Despite offering excellent cardio exercise, stair climbers may not be the most practical machines for individuals who want pure cardio mobility. Since stair climbers incorporate full-body function, people seeking more cardio-centric exercises may find greater satisfaction in treadmills, ellipticals, or exercise bikes. Stair steppers also require some knowledge of their functioning. You must know how to properly use a stair climber to avoid injury or falls. Also, you may feel more tempted to cheat with them. Although using them allows for great low-impact exercising, stair climbers require considerably more work than other cardio-based machines. It’s easy to cut your workout short because stair climbers need more energy to use. They’re better for shorter, HIIT-based exercise sessions than steady-state ones because of how they utilize more muscles and energy.

Which Is Better?

When it comes to the differences between recumbent and upright stair climbers, the main question you’re probably asking yourself is which is better for you? This largely depends on your fitness level, goals, and physical capability. If you want a low-impact form of cardio training that puts less pressure on the joints, recumbent machines are the way to go. You can use a recumbent machine for longer periods without experiencing discomfort or pain. Still, those who seek more intense forms of cardio exercise may find stair climbers work better. They burn more calories in less time and incorporate more muscle groups. Still, stair climbers increase the risk of injury. Anyone with a prior injury or who wants a safer cardio option should opt for a recumbent machine. Either option will help you build the body you desire effectively.

If you’re in the market for stair stepper machines for sale, Top Fitness Store has them ready to go. Our steppers and climbers allow for intense cardiovascular workouts right in your home gym. Whereas free-running or using treadmills can cause serious stress on the joints, the machines we sell can accommodate low-impact movements to allow you to carry out effective workouts without sacrificing your health. Browse our selection of top fitness brands, such as Spirit, True, Cascade, and more. Many of these steppers and climbers come with a built-in touchscreen to track your workouts and heart rate. We sell both upright and recumbent machines, and you can choose what to get based on your comfort and fitness level. Call now for more information or if you have any questions. We’ll help you create the perfect home gym to achieve your fitness goals through strength training, cardiovascular endurance, and proper recovery.

The Differences Between Recumbent and Upright Stair Climbers

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.