The stair climber machine is truly your stairway to a stare-worthy physique. Think of it as a miniature escalator that delivers a low-impact workout but burns tons of calories by engaging the largest muscles in the body. It also strengthens the core and tones the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
There’s a variety of exercises that you can perform using this fantastic piece of equipment. To get you going, here are four stair climber workouts:
Single Step, Double Step. Climbing one step at a time works out your quads, which should start to burn after about two minutes. Try to keep your arms by your side to make it more physically challenging. The double step means you’ll skip one step and then alternate legs. This effectively targets your glutes and hamstrings. Do both steps to get a full leg workout. It is recommended to try five sets of alternating between single step and double step for two minutes at a time.
Squats. Stand with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart, then start the stair climber at a slow speed. Squat down then hop onto the next stair. Make sure that you bend your knees when you land. Keep your hands on the siderails to maintain your balance.
Leg Lifts. Kick your right leg back and hold for one second. Step up one step and then alternate legs, this time kicking back and stepping up with the left. Keep your leg straight and don’t arch your back.
Crossover Steps. Step up with your right foot and place it on the next step where your left foot would normally land. Next, step up with your left foot and place it on the next step where your right foot would normally land. The idea is to move laterally, crossing one leg over the other as you climb to the next step. This exercise is great for toning your butt.
Once you have mastered the machine and wish to try a more advanced workout, you can try climbing while holding dumbbells. Always remember to keep your back straight, look straight ahead, and only use the handrails to maintain balance, not to take any weight off your legs.
Now that you’re familiar with the stair climber and its uses, let’s get to the meat of the matter: the benefits of using stair climbers.
Climbing stairs increases heart rate and breathing, thereby accelerating oxygen uptake of the working muscles. If you perform stair climbing on a regular basis, it can decrease the time it takes for oxygenated blood to reach the working muscles, improving your cardiovascular endurance. This will ultimately improve your overall ability to sustain extended periods of daily activities.
In addition, stair climbing can significantly improve VO2 Max which pertains to the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can utilize during aerobic workout. Note that oxygen intake is the most important limiting factor in exercise. The more oxygen you can take in, the longer you’ll be able to exercise. When you use the stair climber, your heart and lungs need to work hard in order to supply the oxygen that the body needs to sustain your workout. So the more you push into the training zone, you’ll achieve greater improvement in your VO2 Max and cardiovascular endurance.
Low Impact and Versatile
Stair climbers offer an easy and low impact exercise that is gentle on your back, knees, and ankles. Stair climbing is an effective technique of exercising for individuals who are pregnant, overweight, dealing with injury or just commencing an exercise program. Even though the activity is low impact, you don’t have to sacrifice intensity. The stair climber’s versatility allows even fitness enthusiasts to integrate the workout to their fitness level without any serious pounding on the joints. Most motorized stair climbers come with various workout programs like aerobic training, interval training, sprints, and hills to optimize the workout and keep you motivated. The machine is also ideal for incorporating into a circuit workout. Use it in conjunction with other cardio equipment to give yourself a full-body exercise.
Stair climbers are great for providing resistance to the abdominals, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves enabling you to sculpt your lower body. Motorized stair climbers will also allow you to control the resistance of the movement. It is recommended to choose a stair climber with independent pedal action that forces you to push down and then raise the leg, thereby activating both the front and back side. You are essentially targeting the lower body with rapid repetition and variable resistance style of training that moves the legs through a full range of motion. Moreover, stair climbing concentrates on areas where women tend to accumulate fat. Using the stair climber allows you to work every major muscle of your legs about 120 times a minute. This means you are performing mega high repetition sets, which is a very effective way to gain lean and fat-free muscle.
When you’re using a stair climber, the steps just keep coming at you, so after a while you’ll likely feel like slouching over to have a break. However, if you stay upright with your core engaged, you are effectively strengthening your abdominals and muscles of the lower back. The hip action involved is also engaging the intercostals and external obliques. This all adds up to an effective core exercise while you are working the rest of the body.
Stair climbers are effective calorie burners and they are reportedly four times more efficient than the conventional treadmill. The number of calories that you can burn actually depends on your weight. The heavier you are, the more calories you’ll burn because your body is moving against higher resistance with every step. For example, a 68 kg person will burn 91 calories in 10 minutes, while a person weighing 81 kg will churn through 109 calories during the same period.
An hour of working out on the stair climber will allow a 68 kg person to burn 546 calories. It has been found that in order to lose a pound of fat, a deficit of 7,000 calories is required. This means that a daily workout for an hour will make that person lose half a pound of body fat per week.
Stair climbers also train the larger muscles of the body which helps increase your resting metabolic rate over time. The resistance increases lean muscle tissue, thereby raising the number of calories you burn at rest. Moreover, stair climbers increase the number of mitochondria within cells. This is important because, these “powerhouses of the cell” contain all the enzymes involved in aerobic energy production and controlling fat burning at rest.
There is only a handful of cardiovascular exercise equipment that can match the multiple benefits offered by stair climbers. From boosting your VO2 Max to strengthening muscle to losing weight, stair climbers do it all. So if you haven’t added this amazing piece of fitness machine into your exercise regimen, it’s about time to step up to the stair climber challenge!