Fitness Equipment Reviews

Stepper Comparisons: Which One is For You

Exercising on a stepper is a great way to burn fat, sculpt your lower body muscles and boost your cardiovascular fitness level. There are various types of stepper on the market, so getting the best one for you takes a little investigation. Let’s take a deep dive into the four most common variations to help make sense of the stair stepper market:
  • Stair Stepper
  • Revolving Staircase
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Versaclimber

Stair Stepper

  • Upright Body position
  • Superior calorie burner
  • Resistance control
  • Superior cardio benefits than a treadmill
  • Joint friendly
A Stair Stepper is an exercise machine that replicates the action of climbing stairs. Your body is in an upright position and you are holding onto handrails. Stair Steppers provide individual foot pedals. A Stair Stepper machine provides you with the ability to change the resistance level via a tension knob or console button. This allows you to have precise control over your workout intensity and to gradually build up the difficulty level.
While the Stair Stepper does a good job of burning calories and working the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, there is very little upper body involvement in the workout. Research shows that working out on a Stair Stepper produces greater cardiovascular improvements as indicated by V02 Max compared to training on a treadmill.
When you exercise on a Stair Stepper you do not have to lift your feet off the foot platforms. As a result, there is a very low level of lower body joint impact.
The Stair Stepper was introduced to the fitness market by StairMaster in 1984.
One of the most popular Stair Steppers on the market right now is the StairMaster SC .
Another leading supplier of Stepper and Step Mills is Matrix, with the Matrix S3X Stepper being a top seller.
Other leading brands of Stair Stepper are Life Fitness, Precor, Technogym, Cybex, Aspen and SciFit.

Revolving Staircase

  • More precisely duplicates climbing stairs
  • Bodyweight resistance
  • More anaerobic than Stair Stepper
In 1983, StairMaster brought to market the revolving staircase, otherwise known as the Step Mill. Unlike the Stair Stepper of the following year, this machine featured an elevator-like treadmill with a rotating staircase. Even though it was introduced earlier, the Stair Mill was never as popular as the Stair Stepper.
The revolving staircase does a better job of duplicating actual stair climbing. It involves using your body weight as the resistance, while the Stair Stepper uses artificial resistance. While the Stair Stepper resistance is more controllable, it is also less natural. You will also burn more calories for the time invested on a revolving staircase than on the Stair Stepper. If you are after a more intense anaerobic workout, the revolving staircase will also give you a better workout than the Stair Stepper.
There is more joint impact compared with a Stair Stepper when you train on a revolving staircase machine. That’s because you need to actually step your foot up to get to the next ladder rung.
Check out the popular Stairmaster SM5 Stepmill here. Matrix and Life Fitness are also leading suppliers of Revolving Staircases.

Jacob’s Ladder

  • Places body at a 40-degree angle
  • Auto adjusts to your speed
  • High calorie burn
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Works upper body muscles
The Jacob’s Ladder is a combination between a treadmill and a stepper. It takes the form of a revolving ladder which continually rolls at an angle of 40 degrees. This machine will automatically adjust to the user’s speed by increasing or decreasing the speed at which the steps revolve. So, the faster your climb, the faster the steps will come at you. That equates to a higher calorie burn in a shorter period of time. A study out of Louisiana State University showed that exercising on a Jacob’s Ladder produced a significantly higher calorie burn than exercising on a treadmill for the same length of time.
The Jacob’s Ladder puts your body at a 40-degree angle while you are stepping. This makes it a challenge of balance, coordination, and rhythm as well as cardiovascular fitness. This body position is extremely low impact, putting minimal stress on your joints and tendons. Yet, it does so while also providing an extremely intense workout.
When you exercise on the Jacob’s Ladder, your lower body will get a great workout. But so, too, will your upper body. The unique body positioning intensely works your deltoids, pectorals, and even your triceps as you hold onto the rung ladders.
A great feature of the Jacob’s Ladder is that it allows you to increase or decrease the intensity of the workout simply by going faster or slower. That makes it great for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) where you have to adjust your intensity with split second timing.
If you are wanting to focus on anaerobic conditioning with high intensity sprint work, the Jacob’s Ladder is a no brainer for you.
For the best price on the Jacob’s Ladder, go here.


  • Vertical climbing movement
  • Works the core
  • Greater cardio benefit than Stair Climber
VersaClimbing combines both upper and lower body exercises into one natural vertical climbing motion. It features a patented vertical climbing design that places the body in the ideal positioning to activate all muscle groups. A strong emphasis is on core development.
A study conducted out of California State University, Fullerton concluded that the VersaClimber was a superior method of cardiovascular exercise as compared to a treadmill or Stairmaster That’s because the nature of the VersaClimber as an upright exercise machine necessitates the use of postural muscles in addition to the muscles involved in the actual performance of work, and therefore requires more effort than other conventional ergometers. Also, the intensity of work on the VersaClimber elicits a higher oxygen cost, which burns more calories and produces a more intense workout response from the body.
Another study focused on the effects of the Versaclimber on improving the cardiovascular efficiency of young adults. A group of teenage female rowers was trained on both the Versaclimber, a treadmill, and a rowing machine. It was shown that the VersaClimber exercise elicits higher VO2 max values in oarswomen and coxswain compared to treadmill running or rowing ergometry.
Go here for the best value Jacob’s Ladder.

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