Why Nothing Beats a StairMaster Machine For Steady State Cardio

There’s no doubt after walking up a flight of stairs, you’ve felt winded. Okay, maybe not after a short flight of, like, 3 or 4 stairs, but after a substantial set of stairs; we’re talking, like 12 or more. The kind that you walk up at a mall, in an apartment or office building, at a hospital, or in a high-rise of some sort… You know what we’re talking about. 

Well, that winded feeling that you experience? You’re feeling that way because you’re giving your body a workout! That’s right, walking up a flight of stairs can be a workout! Many an athlete has taken advantage of the workout that stair climbing provides for a long, long time; soccer players, football players, basketball players, runners, swimmers, bodybuilders..and pretty much anyone else who wants to get into shape; both pro and recreational athletes….

In fact, if you’ve ever seen the classic movie Rocky, that scene where Sylvester Stallone runs up the stairs in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and stands triumphantly when he reaches the top? That’s a quintessential example of using stair climbing for exercise. 

If you’re looking to lose weight and get in shape, you might want to capitalize on the incredible workout that stair climbing can provide. Sure, you can search out the perfect sets of stairs, or instead, you could make it a whole lot easier on yourself and get yourself a StairMaster. A staple piece of exercise equipment at gyms since around about the 1980s, StairMasters have played a major role in transforming the physiques and overall health and wellness of countless people around the world.

Fast forward almost 40 years and StairMasters are just as popular as ever, but thanks to advances of technology, they’ve definitely been upgraded. Modern-day StairMasters are outfitted with a variety of features, like calculators that keep track of the amount of calories you’re burning with each step you take, and monitors that keep tabs on your heart rate.

Not only do StairMasters provide a great workout, but StairMasters are really easy to use. You don’t need to have any experience, and they aren’t complex, and don’t require getting in strange, awkward positions, etc. 

Thinking about investing in a StairMaster? Read on to find out more information about this incredible piece of exercise equipment, including an overview of what it is, as well as some of the best models that are currently on the market. 

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StairMaster 8 Series 8G Gauntlet Stepmill Stepper Exercise Machine with LCD Console
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StairMaster 8 Series 8G Gauntlet Stepmill Stepper Exercise Machine with LCD Console
  • Includes the Landmark Challenge Program as well as standard console programs.

What is a StairMaster? 

While it might sound pretty self-explanatory, just in case, here’s a breakdown of what a StairMaster is… Basically, it’s a stationary exercise machine that’s similar to a treadmill, as it rotates steps, letting you climb upwards in a manner that mimics, well, climbing up a set of stairs.

The name “StairMaster” is trademarked by Core Health & Fitness, who also own Schwinn bikes, Nautilus machines, and Throwdown. Other brands who make these devices will usually just refer to them as “stairstepper machines”.

You set the speed and duration that you want to climb in that upward manner. As we mentioned above, StairMaster machines can be equipped with a variety of features, like heart rate monitors and calorie counters. They might also feature built-in fans, cup holders, and other useful and handy features. 

StiarMaster meme

What are the Benefits of Using a StairMaster? 

So, what are the benefits of using a StairMaster? There are actually a myriad of benefits. They offer an awesome cardio workout, and they tone the muscles in the lower region of the body, particularly the hamstrings, quads, calves, and the glutes. Here’s a more in-depth look at the benefits that working out on a StairMaster provides. 

Cardiovascular Benefits

The cardio benefits that a StairMaster provides are numerous, and include the following: 

  • Aerobic conditioning – Recall those times when you’ve climbed up a significant set of stairs and you felt winded afterword… That is the perfect example to illustrate the aerobic conditioning that stair climbing provides. In short, aerobic conditioning means strengthening the lungs and the heart, which are the very foundation of aerobic fitness. The stronger your lungs are, the more oxygen you can breathe in. The healthier your heart is, the more oxygenated blood it can pump out to the muscles and organs throughout your body. 
  • Calorie torching – Stair climbing is a great way to lose unwanted weight or to maintain your current weight, as it’s highly effective at burning calories. Work out for about 30 minutes on a StairMaster and you’ll burn between 180 and 260 calories on average – if not more, depending on your current weight and the intensity of your workout. The faster you climb, the more calories you will more. Additionally, the heavier you are, the more calories you will burn; for instance, a 190 pound woman will burn more calories than a 120 pound woman, even though both are doing the same workout. As previously noted, most modern StairMasters are equipped with built-in calorie counters that keep tabs on the amount of calories you’ll be burning with each step you take, and that amount is based on your weight at the time of your workout. 

Strength Benefits

Working out on a StairMaster isn’t just beneficial to your cardiovascular health; it also strengthens and tones your body. The following are some of the strengthening benefits that stair climbing provides: 

  • Increased core strength – Since you need to keep your balance while you’re working out on a StairMaster, your core muscles will get a great workout. The stronger your core muscles are, the better your posture will be; plus, you’ll also experience less lower back pain (if you’re currently experiencing lower back pain), and you’ll minimize the risk of developing an injury. 
  • Stronger bones – Weight-bearing workouts, like stair climbing, may be able to minimize the risk of developing osteoporosis, and if you already have the condition, it may be able to help treat it. It may be surprising, but your bones are living tissues, and climbing stairs can enhance your bone mass and bone density. 
  • Stronger quads – A set of four muscles located in the front of the thigh, the quads get a great workout on a StairMaster. With each step you take, you extend the quads, which in turn, strengthens and tones them. 
  • Stronger glutes – The gluteus maximus are the muscles that are situated in the buttocks region, and you may be shocked to learn that they’re actually some of the strongest muscles in your entire body! Despite popular opinion, their primary function isn’t to look good in a pair of jeans or leggings, but they’re actually meant to move your hips and thighs. Because stair climbing requires heavy use of the glutes, you’ll give those muscles a great workout when you work out on a StairMaster.
cardio routine for bodybuilding

Skinny Yoked Summary

On the whole there is just no way getting around cardio if you want a strong cardiovascular system and if you want to not always look like you’re in pudgy “bearmode“. To go “ottermode” and actually let the definition of your muscles shine through your flab you’re going to have to do some sweating.

We believe there are varying degrees of “suck” when it comes to cardio. Elliptical’s are okay but the stride is fixed and since we all have different length legs with different pivot points they’re not particularly comfy.

Stationary bikes and rowing machines are two of the better options when it comes to getting in those burned calories. Low impact and at least with the bike, you are able to multitask. That said, in both instances you’re still sitting on your ass.

The humble StairMaster is a nice in-between, kind of like the goldilocks zone of cardio. It’s intense enough to be effective, gets your legs moving (fighting the dreaded chicken leg syndrome), allows multitasking, and well, are just kind of fun.

Spend some time watching some professional bodybuilders on Youtube, you’ll see many of them default to stairstepping machines for their cardio and if they’re doing it, it’s gotta be a good idea!

Last update on 2022-03-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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