Which Cardio Machine Simulates Climbing? Read On to Find Out Now

Climbing up a steep hill can be one of the most effective ways to get your heart pumping and get some cardio in, especially if you live in an area where hills are readily available. But there’s no need to wait until you make it to the hills .

there are plenty of machines that can simulate climbing, getting your muscles working while also helping you burn more calories than traditional treadmills or elliptical machines would allow. 

Which cardio machine simulates climbing best? Read on to find out!

Why is climbing so good for you?

Cardio Machine Simulates Climbing

Rock climbing is an excellent cardio exercise. It gets your heart pumping and your body moving through a full range of motion. The way you climb actually makes you more fit for everyday tasks, like climbing stairs or carrying groceries up from your car.

When you climb, every muscle in your body is involved. Your arms do most of the work as they move around and pull on handholds (little ledges on cliffs or buildings that climbers grip to keep from falling).

But your legs, torso, and even shoulders also have to exert energy as you move around in various ways to get up steep surfaces and overhangs (part of a cliff that hangs out over empty space). If all that sounds like fun, it’s because it is, and it's also good for you!

5 cardio machines that stimulate climbing

1. Rowing machine

Rowing is a low-impact cardio machine that works many of your major muscle groups while it tones and strengthens your cardiovascular system. A rowing machine engages most of your muscles at once, simulating climbing on multiple levels: you use strength to move forward, build stamina as you maintain momentum, burn calories as you break a sweat and give endurance an extra challenge as you climb hills.

Research shows that rowing machines simulate climbing in terms of stimulation to your quadriceps, glutes, and calves. A rowing machine provides you with a free pull to use when getting started. You can pull against its bar in order to get up if you fall down or for recovery after leg exhaustion; it requires upper body strength as well. 

The resistance provided by a rowing machine makes it one of the best cardio machines for climbers who are just starting out because it’s efficient in terms of calorie burn and muscle stimulation. Its similarities to rock climbing provide a strong training stimulus without being too taxing on your body—and that’s what makes it ideal for beginners who are still building strength and endurance while they climb outdoors.

This makes it an ideal cardio option for climbers who want to enhance their endurance without damaging their knees or joints! You can also purchase one on Amazon which has been highly rated.

2. Elliptical trainer

The elliptical trainer has gained a lot of popularity over recent years and is one of best cardio machines out there for simulating climbing. An elliptical trainer is basically an apparatus that moves a person in an ellipse as they pedal. Some people like to compare it to cross-country skiing, others have compared it to using a rowing machine with no resistance. One thing’s for sure, you work your glutes, quads and calves in ways other cardio machines just can’t touch.

If you're considering on training from home, here is a great elliptical trainer on Amazon.

3. Arc Trainer

If you’re really looking to replicate climbing movement, an arc trainer is your best bet. This machine uses a combination of vertical and horizontal movements that simulate actual rock climbing. You don’t need to be a gym-rat or professional climber to use one. It might be expensive, but it’s an investment well worth it!  And if nothing else, you can use it for another sport, like skiing.

In fact, some versions of arc trainers are used in conjunction with ski machines at some gyms as part of their personal training options! Climbing on an arc trainer can be very effective at increasing strength and flexibility as well as improving balance and coordination (which will help you climb faster!), it’s definitely something to consider if you live near a gym or want one at home since many stores now sell them.

Although they can be expensive, you can still find some great options on Amazon

4. Stair climber

 Stair master Simulates Climbing

This machine helps you burn fat, increase muscle endurance and improve your cardio strength. As you exercise on a stair climber, your muscles must contract to pull on your bones and move you up and down the stairs.

 While many of us have climbed a few flights of stairs in our time, doing so repeatedly against light resistance will help tone muscles typically engaged while walking or climbing stairs, such as thighs, shins and calves.

 A stationary bike or elliptical might be better for people with joint issues who can’t comfortably climb up and down stairs at a moderate pace. But if that's not an issue for you, climbing stairs can provide great overall fitness benefits as well as acting as an effective lower-body workout when performed regularly.

5. Stair master

Climbing stairs is a great workout for your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. In fact, no other cardio machine will give you such a total-body workout than climbing on a stair master. Start off by standing with your feet hip-width apart and shoulders over your heels.

As you step up onto each stair, do so with a midfoot strike, your knees should bend ever so slightly; at no point should they extend beyond your toes or collapse inward (pike). You'll want to keep your elbows straight and push them back as if they were holding on to something in front of you; that'll help engage your core.


Many cardio exercise machines stimulate climbing. In this article, I covered 5 main machines that can help you not only stimulate climbing but it can help you get stronger for proper climbing. All machines are suitable for beginners and experiences athletes. Feel free to mix them up every workout to get the most of your training.

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