When I go to the gym I often use the stairclimber for my cardio workout. I usually do about 20-30 minutes at a level 5 intensity. I am tired and sweaty when I’m done, but don’t always feel like I gave my best effort. How can I get the best workout on this machine?
Sustaining your intensity at a steady level for 20-30 minutes is a commendable effort, however, there is a more effective way to perform cardio on the stairclimber that will turn up your caloric burn, plus sculpt your legs and buttocks.
The stairclimber is a cardiovascular machine that simulates walking up stairs. There are two different types: One is a set of revolving stairs that circulates around, the other type has platforms that you place your feet on; when one foot goes up, the other goes down.
Using stair-climbing equipment has many benefits. The machines focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and butt, plus it’s an intense exercise for your heart, lungs and leg muscles. I believe stairclimbers are one of the best pieces of cardiovascular equipment available because the exercise translates well to real life. Most of us have to walk up stairs at some point each day!
The best way to obtain an effective workout from the stairclimber is to use interval-style training, which involves short bursts of intense effort interspersed with periods of lesser intensity. This helps improve your cardiovascular fitness and helps the body burn more fat. (It is important to note that this does not translate into immediate fat loss, but simply an increase in your body’s ability to burn fat). Click here for more information on interval training.
When using a stairclimber, keep your upper body slightly forward, back straight, eyes forward, knees soft. Keep a light grip on the hand rails to maintain your balance and be sure to wear a good pair of cross-training shoes.
1. Begin with 5 minutes at low intensity. Start slowly, you want the muscles, heart and lungs to adjust. You should be able to carry on a conversation.
2. Increase your intensity by one level for one minute.
3. Return to your warm-up level for a one minute recovery.
4. Increase your intensity by two levels for one minute.
5. Return to your warm-up level for a one minute recovery.
6. Continue this pattern, increasing your intensity each time until you reach your maximum intensity. Perform 2-6 intervals at maximum intensity. You will know that you are at your maximum intensity when you are barely able to carry on a conversation (close to breathless). To do this you will need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
7. After completing your maximum intensity intervals, begin decreasing the intensity of your intervals one level each cycle until you are back at a low-intensity.
8. When you dismount the machine, make sure to stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.
This type of interval workout is not only stimulating for your muscles, but also your brain as you shift your intervals up and down and challenge yourself with ever increasing intensity. Don’t forget to load up your iPod with a good steady beat to keep you moving.
About Author: Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman and fitness expert.