The stair climber is a popular fitness machine that enables you to mimic the motion of climbing stairs, as the name suggests. Climbing stairs is a great way to burn calories and increase stamina, which is why this basic motion inspired the creation of such a machine. When using the stair climber, your body receives a complete cardio workout, which burns calories, facilitates weight loss, and improves your cardiovascular health. It also improves the strength of your lower body, working and toning every muscle in your leg (including the butt).
If you are training for an organized fitness event, such as a triathlon, or are just looking to build strength in the lower half of your body, you should consider using the stair climbing machine at least three times a week to strengthen your leg and glute muscles. While using this machine, follow these guidelines:
Increase the Time
In order to progressively get results from using the stair climber, you must continue to lengthen the duration of your workout. Start off with a 20 or 30 minute workout and add five minutes or so each week. This will also improve your stamina and cardiovascular endurance.
Increase the Intensity
Likewise, you should also increase the intensity of your stair climbing workout each week. If you start out on level four, and continue working out on that level, you will reach a fitness plateau, and your lower body strength will not develop to its full potential. Therefore, it is important to go up at least one level each week to continue to challenge yourself and to get the most from your stair climbing workout.
Switch up the Programs
You should also switch up the programs you use on the stair climber to continue to shock your muscles and stimulate them to grow to their maximum capability. When you hop on the machine, it will ask you to choose a routine. Some of these programs offer altering speeds, while others remain steady. The programs where you steadily climb (at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate) will help build up your endurance and muscle mass, while the interval training programs work wonders on your metabolism and enable your body to burn calories more efficiently (as it has to constantly adjust to the varying speeds). Therefore, it is important to include both of these programs in your stair climbing routine and constantly change up your workout.
Lift Your Legs
Once you have mastered the motion of the stair climber and feel confident with your abilities, you can add small leg lifts to your workout. When you right leg hits the stair, quickly lift your left leg a foot in the air, then vice versa. This will add resistance to your stair climbing workout and help you achieve your fitness goals even quicker. However, exercise caution when attempting this movement, as the stair climbing motion is difficult enough on its own. Don’t proceed with this exercise if it doesn’t feel right to you.
If you can’t make it to the gym, you can always climb actual stairs—either at a local park, in your apartment complex, etc.—to reap the same fitness benefits.