When it comes to exercise machines at the gym, there’s usually more to them than what meets the eye. For instance, take the stair climber; it might look simple and straightforward enough — you’re just climbing an endless staircase, after all — but there’s a reason this particular machine has been a gym essential for decades.
No matter how often you find yourself in the gym, or how fit you are, the stair climber is guaranteed to offer you a challenging workout — making it a great go-to machine for every gym-goer. There are several stair climber benefits to consider:
The machine is a great tool for strengthening and toning your legs and depending on your fitness level, you could burn more than 300 calories in a mere 30 minutes, according to MyFitnessPal. However, many lesser-known benefits have made it a gym favorite for all these years; here are three advantages you might not know about (yet).
IT’S A TWO-FOR-ONE WORKOUT
On the stair climber, you’ll get a boost of heart-pumping cardio while simultaneously working for important muscle groups. The stepping motion gets your legs moving and actively engages your entire lower body, going a step further than simply running or walking on a treadmill.
The weight-bearing nature of the machine can also increase your bone density, notes the U.S. News & World Report. Ultimately, the stair climber can help you make the most of your time at the gym — a benefit that anyone who’s on the go is sure to love.
IT’S SUPER LOW-IMPACT
Climbing stairs is a very natural movement for the body; after all, it’s something you (most likely) do every single day without a second thought. It’s a low-impact way to get moving — which means it’s easy on your knees, ankles, and back — so you can enjoy your workout without any resulting soreness or tenderness.
IT STRENGTHENS YOUR CORE
You may not be aware of it, but schlepping your groceries (or laundry) up the stairs can be great for your core strength. That is if you remember to keep those core muscles engaged!
One of the most valuable stair climber benefits is that the machine helps you focus on your form while strengthening your lower back and abdominal muscles. It may feel like only your legs are being worked, but the stair climber is exercising and benefiting your whole body.
Stair Climber Benefits:
Imagine tackling a 40 floor walk-up in New York City in 30 minutes every day for your workout. Well, you can. This sweat-inducing, make-your-legs-scream exercise is called the Stairmaster, stair climber, stair stepper, stair whatever-er.
It has several names, but they all do the same thing—let you walk upstairs for as long as you want to. Within minutes, you will be drenched in sweat and building up those leg muscles. We love this piece of cardio equipment and think that you will too. Here are 7 of the stair climber benefits that you can enjoy.
The stair climber looks like an endless climb to nowhere, but it lends itself well to diverse workouts. Once you are comfortable with the normal step-by-step workout and are crushing it with proper form, your stair stepper workout can be as unique as you are. As always, perfect your form before you move on to more advanced exercises. We want to make sure that you stay injury-free so that you can enjoy your cardio routine well into the future.
If you need to swap out your high-impact running workout for a low-impact alternative, the stair climber is an excellent choice. Though there is more impact on the joints than with an exercise like swimming, it is still a safe choice to add to your routine. If you are prone to injury, ask your doctor if stepping your way to fitness is right for you!
If you have been getting past the stair climber to get to the elliptical or treadmill, you may be passing up on some calorie-torching minutes. The stair climber uses some of your body’s largest muscle groups which will help you to burn more calories as you rest. As long as your form is correct, and your effort is at its best, you could be burning 200 calories in 30 minutes (depending on your body composition).
Natural Movement Exercise
A natural movement is any movement that you do—well—naturally. A natural movement mimics movements you make every day like squatting (sitting), running, walking, deadlifts, and the like. The stair climber offers fantastic functional movement and will help you to build stronger muscles in the area where we tend to lose them reasonably quickly.
If you want to be able to walk up and down the stairs well into your golden years, adding stair exercises into your fitness routine will be incredibly helpful. Building up natural movement makes this one of our favorite stair climbing workout benefits.
You won’t just be torching calories during this low-impact cardio workout, but you will also be torching them after. The stair climber helps to develop muscles in your glutes, calves, hamstrings, quads, and core. So, you will be reaping the benefits long after your workout is through. Since muscle is an “active tissue,” it is consistently renewing itself which requires energy from your body. Since the stair climber targets the largest muscles in your body, your body will be using more energy to build those muscles, giving you a higher calorie burn overall.
Your cardiovascular health is essential to keep your heart healthy. With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the United States, it is increasingly important to implement cardiovascular fitness into your routine. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of cardiovascular workout. Adding the stair climber to your routine is a fun way to mix up those minutes and set yourself on track to be heart-healthy.
A Stronger Core
Since the steps are coming at you automatically on the stair climber, you will need to be moving and grooving to not fall off the machine. By using your muscles to stay balanced and upright, you will be building strength in your abs and back. Building a strong core allows for better posture, balance, and stability helping you to decrease your chance of injury.
If you’ve ever had to walk up the stairs to get to a hotel room then you probably have had a thought cross your mind that it could be considered as a hard workout! Now, imagine walking up those same stairs for about 30 minutes because that is exactly what the stair master is like.
This amazing but also leg-burning machine allows you to essentially walk straight up a flight of stairs for as long as you like, or can handle! Once you try it you’ll see that in a matter of only minutes you can be drenched in sweat and your legs will feel on fire, in a good way.
Here at Atmosphere, we really like this piece of cardio equipment and we think you will too and here are 6 of the benefits you’ll get when you start incorporating the stair master into your weekly workout regimen.
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You might be tempted to go straight past the stair master, aiming for the more familiar treadmill or elliptical but by doing this you could be choosing the slower calorie-burning option. This cardio workout forces you to use our body’s largest muscle groups which means not only is it burning more while you do the workout but also after the workout because of its resistance training element (as you’re having to drive upwards against your body weight).
As long as you use the machine properly and push yourself then you could be burning 200+ calories, give or take, in around 30 minutes.
As we mentioned above, the stair master is not JUST a cardio workout but it also heavily fires up your glutes, calves, quads, hamstrings, and core. You may have heard that you continue to burn more calories after a strength workout because your body is working overtime to help repair those muscles that have been under pressure (which is how they grow), this is also what happens after your stair master workout!
Even though you might feel all the burn in your legs, your core also activates to keep you balanced and upright while you’re walking up the levels. Having a strong core not only feels great but it helps with better posture, everyday balance, stability and decreases your chance of injuries.
KEEPS YOUR WORKOUTS INTERESTING
You might feel like you’re walking up the stairs to absolutely nowhere initially but, once you’ve got that down and you start feeling stronger and familiar with the machine then you can start to shake up your workouts.
You don’t just have to walk upwards step by step, you can include some more interesting movements such as squats, lunges, skip-steps, crossovers and so much more. If you’re a stair master regular then try checking out platforms like YouTube for all of the other great exercises you could incorporate into your routine. Of course, make sure that you are feeling 100% on your form before moving onto these more advanced movements to stay injury-free. If you are not sure then ask a personal trainer nearby!
Look, we know! Cardio is not everyone’s favorite thing to do but it’s something we should all work on. Having good cardiovascular health is essential to keeping our heart healthy which is becoming more and more important with heart disease killing an Australian every 30 minutes.
LOW JOINT IMPACT
Running either on a treadmill or outside is a very high impact on the joints throughout our body. If you’re starting to feel it and need to swap your usual run for a cardio workout that is not as high impact, then the stair master might be your answer. If you are injured or really in pain then we would suggest speaking to your doctor first, an even lower impact alternative cardio exercise for you could be swimming.
We are big fans of functional exercises here at Atmosphere and the stair master is one machine on that list because it is a natural body movement that we could find ourselves doing on any regular day. Strengthening the muscles that we use regularly is so helpful and by doing so consistently, you’ll be able to boost up and down those stairs well into your golden years!
Next time you’re feeling up to trying something new in the gym, consider taking the ‘step’ and jump onto one of our stair masters. With such great benefits, your body will be thanking you.
How do Stair Steppers Work?
The beauty of stair steppers is that they provide a great, safe cardio workout by simulating the actions of walking upstairs. The reason this makes for such a good workout is that it allows for a very low impact workout and can be either a light workout or leave you gasping for breath at the end of it.
An easy way to imagine them is a small escalator with maybe 2 or 3 visible steps. The workout is climbing up the ‘down’ stars. The steps will keep coming down to you and all you need to do is match the speed and keep up with the staircase.
Are Stair Steppers suitable for Weight Loss?
If you are looking to lose weight then stair steppers can be a great alternative to jogging or other more intense cardio workouts. The low impact will ensure that your joints and muscles are not injured during the workout, as there are no shocks to the body.
Building Muscle and toning with Stair Steppers.
Because stair steppers is a cardio workout it won’t build muscle. What it will do is make your leg muscles have more stamina so you will feel better doing day-to-day tasks, like walking and climbing. If you want bigger muscles then you need to lift heavy weights! The biggest benefit to your leg muscles will be the fat you are burning will make your legs look fantastic as they tone up.
How many calories can I burn on a stepper?
This is a tricky one, the answer depends on how hard you work out. For a beginner, you can expect to burn about 300-400 calories in a 40-minute workout. As you become fitter and increase your intensity then you will burn more and more until you top out at about 500-600 calories in a 40-minute workout. The heavier you are the more calories you will burn during the workout.
What should I consider before buying one?
When looking to buy a stair stepper then it’s always worth working out how much you will use it, how much spare space you have, and your budget.
One of the issues with stair steppers is that they are quite bulky. Unlike treadmills and indoor bikes, they need quite a lot of headroom, as you will be climbing up the stairs like a mini escalator.
Budget wise these machines can become quite expensive, top models cost thousands. However, if you are looking for a low-cost option then you can look at mini steppers that provide a great workout for very little money.
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More About Stair Climbing
Does stair climbing help running?
Yes. Stair running changes things up as you’ll not only use different muscles, but you’ll engage your brain. Running stairs also taxes your body more than running hills and can improve your VO2 max which allows you to run harder and longer.
Is stair climbing cardio?
Yes. Stair climbing is a great cardiovascular exercise that burns lots of calories while developing both strength and power. It’s a great way to strengthen and tone your legs – from your calves to your butt usually without the impact commonly associated with jogging, running, or sprinting.
Is running upstairs a good workout?
Running stairs is an effective high-intensity workout that builds speed, power, agility, and cardiovascular fitness. Running stairs is efficient because it targets many major muscle groups and is an excellent workout that can burn 889 calories per hour running upstairs for a 64 kg person.
Can you run stairs every day?
Running stairs is considered a hit intensity workout and it’s not recommended to do it continuously for more than an hour. You should break up your stair running workout in intervals to allow your heart rate and muscles time to recover.
Burns more calories:
Stair climbing engages your body’s largest muscle groups to repeatedly lift your body weight, step after step.
Thus using your muscles to carry your weight is far higher than running as compared.
Maximizes your cardio efforts:
It also raises your heart rate immediately thus maximizing your cardio benefits.
Increases core muscle strength:
Climbing stairs is a great way to amp your core muscle strength.
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Tones and sculpts your body:
It also engages every major muscle in your lower body – glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, abs, and calves to exercise and thus tones your body better.
Low impact workout:
You don’t have to ideally sweat it out while climbing stairs. Just a few stairs every day will give you a good workout.
Safety first: Never run down the stairs, be confident while running up, and take a break when needed.
Start doing this regularly and soon, you will be running up flights of stairs, feeling fitter, younger, stronger, and leaner.