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Are you looking to add intensity to your workout? Try a step mill.

Stair climbing has been a preferred workout among athletes for years. Athletes from many sports, including top soccer, football, and baseball players, have jogged up and down the steps of their stadiums to get the extra strength and endurance training steps can provide. Even office workers are encouraged to take the stairs to increase activity levels. Stair climbing is so good for you that it's more than just an opportunity to skip the elevator; it's now a genuine workout.

What is it about climbing stairs that has driven step mills to become a top choice in training?

A StairMaster StepMill is an escalator version of a treadmill that rotates steps rather than a running belt or running slats. Like a treadmill, you can select the rate at which you climb the steps. The steep incline provided by the StairMaster StepMill can provide an above-average cardio workout eliciting the use of larger muscle groups and both muscle fiber types (the endurance type 1 muscle fibers and the fast-twitch, power-producing type 2 muscle fibers). The results are significant for bodybuilders and exercisers that want to maintain muscle mass and avoid potential muscle mass losses associated with traditional forms of cardio.

Kick it up a notch!

The StairMaster StepMill focuses on these muscle groups:

  • Quadriceps - which aid in leg extension
  • Hamstrings - which aid in leg flexion
  • Calves - ankle extension
  • Glutes - pelvic stability and pelvic movement

One step at a time!

Using a StairMaster burns twice the calories of walking. If you are usually a runner or walker, stair hiking may be an excellent change of pace to your workout routine. Here are 12 fitness benefits of using a StairMaster and why it is far more worth than a passing glance and should be a staple in your exercise regimen.

1. Aerobic Conditioning:

Stair mountain climbing strengthens the coronary heart and lungs — the keys to aerobic health. More effective lungs allow you to breathe in more oxygen, and a healthier coronary heart can pump oxygen-rich blood much more effectively to all your muscle groups and organs.

2. Calorie Burning:

The StairMaster is a systematic and powerful tool in dropping weight by burning tons of fat. Another advantage is that it is excellent for exercisers who want to maintain muscle mass compared to other cardio modalities. Using a StairMaster StepMill for 30 can burn anywhere from 180 to 260 calories—or even more—depending on your intensity. A 180lb person tends to burn more energy than a 125lb person doing the same amount of exercise. A StairMaster Step mill also offers versatility in terms of intensity. A faster "climb" will burn greater calories than a slower session. Most StairMaster StepMills come with calorie-burning calculators that plug your measurements to help calculate estimated calories burned.

3. Middle Muscle Energy:

StairMaster StepMills consistently challenge and help build your postural muscles that anchor your center of gravity. More vital middle muscular tissues both assist and enhance posture, prevent and decrease back pain, and reduce susceptibility to injury.

4. Healthier Bones:

Weight-bearing exercises such as mountaineering stairs can help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis and help prevent or slow the rate of bone density loss if you already have it.

5. More Powerful Quadriceps:

The quadriceps femoris is a collection of 4 muscular tissues in the front of the thigh. These muscle tissues are critical for walking, jogging, running, and functionally, allowing us to transition from seated to standing.

6. More potent Hamstrings:

The hamstrings are the muscle group located at the back of the upper thigh. They assist in bending the knee. They also eccentrically contract to slow the acceleration of leg extension during kicking and running motions to protect the integrity of the knee joint. The hamstrings work in both directions and are an important muscle group that aids in all bipedal movement.

7. Endorphin Rush:

Stair mountaineering is intense exercise! The advantage of the strenuous effort required to climb stairs is the hidden rewards of allowing the human body to reach endorphin release faster than steady, low-intensity cardio exercise. Endorphins are often referred to as the 'good feeling hormone' and are responsible for the euphoric state many people experience after exercise.

8. Climb Unlimited Flights of Stairs:

Usually, what goes up must come down, but not in this case! A step mill allows you to concentrate on climbing up steadily without having to climb down. It's doesn't hurt to avoid the strain on your knees from going downstairs.

9. Increase Your Longevity:

Stair climbing will strengthen your heart and lungs leading to a reduced resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, and could even lower your bad cholesterol levels (LDL count). One study had 500 exercisers climb an average of seven hundred steps each week. The researchers determined that the exercisers decreased their mortality risk factors by 20%! To replicate a similar effect via walking, it would take on average 30-to-40-minute blocks of time to achieve what took the 500 exercisers in the study a matter of minutes to do.

10. It's a Functional Fundamental Activity in Daily Living:

Climbing stairs requires no learning curve. We have all climbed stairs before! Not only will you get a great workout, but you will not subject your knees to the high impact pounding inherent to running fast and hard on a treadmill. StepMills also involve more muscle groups than a standard elliptical.

11. It is a GREAT Training Tool for Runners:

If you are a runner, including stair climbing in your routine is a smart training move. Climbing stairs helps runners to increase their stability and coordination. It also allows you to target stabilizer muscle mass, such as the gluteus medius muscle that rarely gets any stimulation with straightforward running. Another benefit of climbing stairs is the improvement in leg strength. Combined with stronger gluteus medius muscles, your hips will be more stable and more level during runs helping to prevent lower back and gait issues down the road. Lastly, the gradient of climbing stairs is far greater than most running environments and settings, allowing you to build strength and train the body to use oxygen more efficiently during times of high oxygen demand.

12. Exercise Options and Variety:

StairMaster StepMills offer a great range of options. Once you have become acclimated to trekking up one step at a time, you can then start to skip steps. You can also walk up the stairs sideways and even backward, challenging every angle of your hip musculature.

Take a Step in the Right Direction.

Try a StairMaster StepMill during your next workout. It is a versatile option and could become your primary form of cardio. Or do stair climbing to complement other forms of training.

Here is a sample of how you can integrate the StairMaster StepMill in a gym setting for a whole-body workout:

  • 5-minute treadmill warm-up
  • 1-minute on stair climber
  • 1-minute bodyweight squats
  • 1-minute stationary cycle
  • 1-minute bench press
  • 1-minute soar rope
  • 1-minute rowing machine
  • 1-minute stair climber

Each of these steps should be done with no rest in between. Completion of this circuit would be 1 circuit set. After each circuit set, rest for 1-2 minutes before going back into another circuit set. If you can get through 10 circuit sets, you would have survived an exercise routine that touches on all levels of fitness!

If you have never used a StairMaster StepMill, you are missing out on one of the most incredible training options on the market. Not only will be you be burning massive amounts of unwanted fat, but you will also be gaining and maintaining beneficial muscle mass without the same compromises that accompany regular cardio. Not only will you be doing more in less time, but you will also be given the gift of time to be the fittest and best version of yourself.