The Stepper: how to use it and why
If you want to slim down and tone up, then stair climbing might just be your thing. Yes it’s pretty tough, but it it combines an awesome leg and butt workout with seriously torching fat like little else. If go big or go home is your motto, the stepper is your thing.
As an exercise, it is extremelly popular in Hollywood and, you’d be surprised, with body builders. You even see people doing this outdoors. If you prefer the comfort of the indoors, however, the stepper is what you need.
As a general tip, the higher the step, the harder your muscles work so take the biggest step you comfortably can. The main muscles used in stair climbing are the quadriceps, hamstrings, the gluteus maximus and the calves.
Benefits of Stepping Machines:
Step machines blow many other forms right out of the water for various reasons:
- Step machines provide a low impact workout. Unlike jogging and running, which place a lot of impact on your legs and back, there is no such impact when using a step machine. This makes a workout on the step machine much easier on your joints and is especially beneficial for heavier exercisers and those with knee and hip issues.
- Step machines are easy to use.
- If you want to tone your legs and butt while burning lots of calories and improving your fitness, step machines offer a great way to do it all in one simple (but not easy!) workout.
- Most step machines have an on-board computer programmed with a variety of workouts. They also display speed, the number of steps you’re talking per minute, distance traveled, and calories burnt.
- Step machine workouts can be as hard or as easy as you make them – simply adjust your speed and step height according to your current fitness level and exercise goals.
As step machines tend to vary from model to model and each will come with their own detailed instruction of use, which you should check before exercising. However, some general guidelines are common to the majority of machines…
- Keep your feet flat and avoid coming up on to your tiptoes too much. If you spend too much time on the front of your foot you’ll may inadvertently make these muscles bigger. In other words, press down with your whole foot, including the heel, not just the front of your foot, as most of us are naturally inclined to do.
- Your knees should stay over your mid foot and never travel beyond the end of your feet. Position your feet to minimize how far your knees move forward of your toes. Too much forward knee travel places an inordinate amount of stress on your knee joint and quadriceps tendon and can cause overuse injuries.
- Keep your body upright and don’t slouch over the consol. Try not to use the handrails but, rather, use your core muscles to maintain good posture. By keeping your use of the handrails to a minimum, you will burn more calories because your muscles have to work harder. You also get a core workout thrown in for free.
- Keep your pace roughly steady. Set the resistance and speed of your workout to allow you to maintain around 60 to 80 steps per minute. Going much slower than that can feel laborious, while faster speeds mean you’ll probably have to reduce the size of each step, which will, in turn, reduce the benefits of using a stepper. If you want to make your workout more challenging don’t try to go super fast, instead increase the resistance.