First you walked, then you ran, then you climbed. Operating a stair climber is very intuitive. You can figure it out in seconds, because we’ve all climbed stairs. And that is basically…no, literally, what you are doing with one of these machines.
While the Stairmaster was the first to make it big, it led to many variations on the stairs-as-exercise theme. But no matter what shape or size they take, climbers simply require you to take it one step at a time.
Your gym may have a type of stair machine called a step mill. It works the same basic muscle groups as the original Stairmaster, or any other stair-climber or stair-stepper, (except for a Jacob’s Ladder-style machine) but operates with a mini rotating staircase versus alternating foot pedals. A step mill requires a bit more balance and makes it harder to “cheat,” but either way, your how-to guidance is very similar.
So, if you haven’t used a Stairmaster, or any stair climber yet, we’d love to spend a few seconds on how-tos so you can give it a try and get the best results no matter your fitness level. It’s a great substitute to other types of machines for a low-impact cardio option that’s easy on your joints, but can get your heart pumping and your legs burning in minutes in a completely different way than on the elliptical, treadmill, or bike. And unlike other cardio machines, climbers make it easy to increase the intensity of all workout routines without putting additional impact on your lower body, especially your knees. And it can be safer than techniques like lunges which can put you at risk for knee hyperextension. The motion of climbing stairs can help shape the muscles in your quads, calves, and glutes. It will also make your heart stronger by the minute because it is one of those workouts you can feel working immediately.
And, bonus, just 10 minutes of stair climbing (or climbing on a Jacob’s Ladder) as a warmup before your resistance training or strength workout a few days per week, will give you the ability to exercise for longer periods of time, with more intensity and more endurance. It will also improve your weight loss goals, and increase injury prevention because it supports your joints. Big score for the stairs!