A stairmaster or stepper is an excellent choice for improving your workouts and getting an amazing cardio workout. Whether you have one already or are considering purchasing one, here’s how to take your stairmaster workout to the next level.
In order to work out the correct parts of your body and put strain in the proper areas (your glutes and hamstrings – not your back) you need to maintain correct posture. Do not hunch when using a stair climber which will put strain on your back. Instead, remain upright. It’s ok to lean forward a little bit at the hips since this will engage your glutes even more—as long as you keep your spine straight.
It might be tempting to hold on to the side of the stair climber machine as you’re using it, but unfortunately, all that does is reduce the impact of your workout. If you’re feeling off-balance during your workout, try lightly grasping the sides to help you get steady. But don’t rely on the sides or handles to hold you up. This reduces the load of your body while using the StairMaster and reduces the effectiveness of your workout.
Once you’re confident in using a StairMaster and are ready to take your workout to the next level, try taking steps two at a time. By skipping a step, you’ll target your glutes and upper thighs. The more muscles you are able to get involved in your workout, the more calories you burn. If you want to try this approach, start slowly and focus on methodically climbing while maintaining your balance before increasing your speed.
Using the stepper traditionally, targets your glutes and hamstrings however, you can target different muscles by changing how you use the machine. For example, you can turn and use the machine backward to work your quads or you can try crossover steps, to work out your abductors, stabilizers, and gluteus medius.
A great way to really enhance your workout is to grab a pair of dumbbells and incorporate them into your workout. As you climb, add bicep curls, overhead presses or side raises. This works for even more muscle groups and helps to elevate your heart rate for a better workout.
It’s important to take note of how your body reacts to your StairMaster workouts. Use a heart rate monitor to measure how long it takes for your heart rate to return to resting levels post-workout. As your body becomes more conditioned to using the stepper, that recovery time should shrink. Your goal should be to get your heart rate lower and your recovery time shorter.