We all know to take the stairs rather than the lift. Workouts with a step have been popular since the 1980s, think step classes and neon lycra.
Despite this, that step machine in the gym can get overlooked. Yet a climbing stairs machine delivers one of the best gym workouts, whether used as part of a wider gym routine or on its own as a whole workout session.
Take a delve into stair climber benefits and you may soon start swapping that treadmill workout for a stair climber workout instead. Or combining the two.
Here is our 10 point answer and question guide about that gym stepper machine, answering everything you never knew you wanted to know about the stair stepper!
The stair climber does what it says on the tin and simulates walking upstairs. It rotates steps to simulate climbing a flight of stairs and you can vary the resistance and speed.
There are two types of gym stepper machines, the pedal type steppers and the step mill.
The pedal steppers require you to push down on pedals and keep your body mostly still as you do so (working your core as you do!) Whack up the resistance or take smaller or larger steps as you prefer, to vary the difficulty level.
The step mill is more like a traditional flight of stairs, that moves like an escalator. Up the speed or take the steps two at a time for a more challenging workout variation!
In fact, StairMaster is actually a brand – other step machines are available! Call it a step machine, stepper, stair stepper, StairMaster, stepmill, Power Climb mill, step-up exerciser and stepping machine – they are all the same thing.
Don’t slouch! Step machine benefits are maximized when you hold the handrail as little as possible and keep your core strong. Keep your feet flat and avoid coming up onto your tiptoes. Don’t let your knees stick forward of your toes. If your knee comes forward too much it stresses your knee joint and quadriceps tendon.
Yes! It works your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes and it also provides a great aerobic cardio workout.
Stair climber benefits are huge. A step machine workout is a good cardiovascular exercise, burning calories as it works your lungs and heart. It also provides a low impact workout, so is kind on your joints.
In addition, the stair climbers exercise gives your core muscles a decent workout, as you constantly have to readjust your balance as you climb. Stronger core muscles improve posture and ease lower back pain. They also help achieve that flat stomach!
Another benefit of a stair climber workout is that it pumps the muscles in your legs and bum, working almost every muscle in that area.
Yes. The benefits of the stair climber at the gym fat outstrip trotting up and down the stairwell at work.
Real stairs do not provide you with differing levels of resistance like the stepper in the gym. The harder your step, the harder you work!
If you’re climbing real stairs, what goes up must come down. Going downstairs places a huge strain on your joints, especially the knees. As you are always on the upward climb on the stair stepper, there is no strain on your joints.
Start with 15 minutes if you’re new to the gym stepper machine, and build up so you can stay on the stair climber for 30 minutes. A 30 minute stair climbers exercise will burn around 270 calories.
You should try to aim for a speed of about 60-80 steps a minute. This will ensure a decent pace to get the benefits of gym steppers without tiring yourself out too quickly or having to reduce the resistance to a minimum. To make your workout more challenging, increase the resistance rather than the speed.
The benefits of gym treadmills are that you run less risk of injury than pounding the pavements. Gym treadmills are easier on your joints than a hard concrete pavement and there’s no injury-causing uneven ground to worry about.
Gym stair steppers share the same benefits and more. They work your upper leg muscles, strengthening those quads in a way that simple running just won’t do. Step machines are easy on your joints, great if you have knee, hip or back issues.
Unlike a treadmill, it’s hard to fall off a stair stepper! So if you like to zone out and watch TV in the gym while you exercise, this one is for you.
The stepmill also delivers a killer ab workout, as you have to work to keep your core stable and strong.
If only we had a penny for every time we get asked the burn belly fat question.
Whilst you can’t spot reduce and target ‘problem areas’, you can burn belly fat by reducing the overall amount of calories that you take on board and burning fat with aerobic exercise. Therefore the stair stepper will burn belly fat as part of a calorie burning workout, as it is a good aerobic exercise.
There are many StairMaster benefits. The step up exerciser also works your ab muscles and strengthens your core, strengthening those muscles underneath the belly fat and helping to keep your tummy toned.
There are plenty of gyms with StairMasters. As we said above, StairMaster is actually a brand.
Most gyms will have a StairMaster or similar machine. If you’re not sure if your favourite gym haunt has a stair climber, ask one of the gym instructors. Just as you would expect to find a treadmill in most gyms, so you can expect to find a stepping machine, especially in the larger gyms.
I find that machines like this isolate the muscles too much and don't give an all-over workout. that could just be me though as I prefer more circuit-training type of exercise.
I love Stair climbers. They are so easy to zone out on so you get a really good workout without hardly realising it.
try living in a house with 3 floors. then you won't even need a stair climber! Saying that, it's enough just to run up and down your own stairs actually, and I used to do this in my younger days before I used the gym.
brilliant explanation! It had never occured to me (doh...) that the great thing about these is that what goes up doesn't need to come down. I shall join the queue for the stairclimber.