Training for Mountaineering – Stair Master vs. Treadmill

  • Creator
  • #37522


    I have a few of your training programs (currently doing the 24 week Expedition Mountaineering Program). The most recent article on your site today I saw stated indoor uphill training should be done on a treadmill at 15% vs. a Stair Master type machine. The notes in my program say the opposite, that the Stair Master is more preferred. Maybe some info has been uncovered to change the recommendation. Could you please provide some clarity?



Posted In: Mountaineering

  • Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #37552


    Thanks for pointing that out. Please refresh your browser and take another look. Editing mistake on our part.


    mgflatt on #37554

    Got it, thanks so much. I’ve been banging out those 2 – 3 hour stair machine sessions for several weeks now. It’s mind numbing but I’ve felt the effect of not getting enough vert (live in the midwest). I’ve vowed never to let that happen again.

    kallikles2003 on #37866

    Could anyone post the link to the article referred to in the thread? I’m having some troubles finding it

    Shashi on #37909

    I believe it is this article –

    Training for Mountaineering

    Frantik on #38379

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Another question for us vertically deprived on this topic:

    I noticed that since you only count half the vertical on the stair machine I end up doing a lot less vertical than if I did the same session(same time/intensity) on an 18% treadmill that is available on my gym.

    Should I still be doing these aerobic sessions in the stair machine for better simulating an actual climb or accumulating more vertical overall is more beneficial?

    mgflatt on #38392

    Frantik – others can correct me if they feel I’m incorrect but due to the difference in incline (60%-ish vs. 18%) the time may be the same but the intensity will not. For example, you would have to go at a much faster pace to get your heart rate near the top of Zone 2 on a treadmill at 18% than on a stair machine. Now, if you get your heart rate the same and commit the same amount of time perhaps your cardio system would not know the difference but your legs would. The stair machine, due to the incline, would require much more effort.

    For my personal training I recently did the following:
    – 1 hour on stair machine
    – 1/2 hour on treadmill at 15%
    – 1 hour on stair machine
    – 1/2 hour on treadmill at 15%

    My total steps just on the stair machine were over 6,600. With an 8″ step that’s 4,356′ of vertical. Even if I can only count 1/2 of that due to the step falling away that is nearly 2,200′ of vert. My workout called for 2,500′ so if I add in the hour spent on the treadmill, I feel I got it. At the end I was worked but would have been much less so had I spent my entire time on the treadmill at 15%.

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