Machine Spotlight: The Stair Climber

Just when you think you’re making progress at the gym, increasing your endurance and strength, and improving your cardiovascular health, you walk up a flight of stairs, and suddenly you’re winded. We’ve all been. Climbing stairs can make you feel out of shape, regardless of your fitness level. At SWEAT in Dallas, TX, we can help you master your next stair climb with our stair climber machines. These machines allow for a different kind of cardio activity so that the next time you climb up a flight of stairs or even go out on a run, you’ll feel stronger than you did before.

The stair climber is one of those machines that can look both intriguing and intimidating from afar. It’s unlike any other machine in the gym and can make cardio feel more fun. You’ve probably heard the term functional fitness before, and if you weren’t sure of its meaning, the stair climber is a visual definition. 

By mimicking a natural movement and replicating a stair climb, the machine increases heart rate, improves balance and stability, strengthens the leg and core muscles, and can even help reduce lower back pain. It delivers a low-impact workout that can get you out of your cardio rut, help you break a sweat, burn stubborn fat, and tone your lower body. 

What It Works

While a stair climber workout primarily targets and strengthens the lower body, it can also strengthen the core, especially if you do it right. When people feel winded on the stair climber, they often lean forward over the rails, no longer using them for balance but instead to support their weight. While doing so can provide you with a temporary rest, it’s not an effective way to use the machine. In fact, it will only lower your heart rate and keep you from using your core to stabilize your body to maintain the upright climbing position. 

Leaning on the rails will also prevent you from getting in a great workout because by decreasing your heart rate, you’ll spend the same time on the machine but will be burning fewer calories. If you can’t keep up with the step speed, slow it down. You’ll benefit more from taking the speed down a few levels than cheating yourself by using the rails to support your weight for the majority of your workout. As long as you do it the right way, adding this machine to your cardio rotation will increase your endurance and make you feel stronger during running, cycling, and other cardio workouts.

Why You Should Add It to Your Workout Regimen

When you perform the same workouts daily, your body gets used to the repetition, and it becomes harder to progress toward your ultimate goals and see visible changes and improvements in your body composition. If you’ve never tried the stair climber before, adding just a few minutes to your workouts can shock your muscles and help you push past that plateau. If you’re new to this kind of workout, make it a warmup to your strength training workout. 

If you already use it for a warmup, try spending more time on this machine to slowly build up your endurance so you can progressively increase your workout length. At SWEAT, we have three different stair-climbing machines on which you can track the number of flights you’ve climbed during your workout, your caloric burn, and the number of steps you’ve taken. You can choose from pre-programmed workout options or choose a manual option. However long you spend on the stair climber, you’ll experience all its fat-burning and cardiovascular health benefits.

How to Beat The Stair Climber Boredom

If the stair climber is already one of your go-to machines for cardio workouts, you’re well aware that climbing stair after stair for 20 to 30 minutes or more can feel tedious. If you’ve been a long-time stair climber user and want to make this workout go by faster and change your routine, there are some ways you can do so. You can perform HIIT on the stair climber, alternating from a faster-paced climb to a slower-paced climb. You can break down the intervals to 30-30, 40-20, or any challenging ratio based on your fitness level. 

If you want to maintain a slower pace, you can add different movements to create slow-paced intervals. You can do a lateral climb, slowing down the machine to skip steps and alternating to the opposite side for the next interval. Or, you can perform alternating glute kickbacks on each leg as you climb or do some lateral leg raises. No matter which variation you choose, avoid climbing backward. Climbing backward on the stair climber isn’t the safest option and will increase the chances of falling, embarrassing yourself, or worse, sustaining an injury. It will also throw off your alignment and put unnatural pressure on the knee joints.

Who It’s Right For

Individuals of all fitness levels can benefit from making the stair climber a staple in their workout regimen. Spending five minutes on this machine or 50 minutes will benefit your health. You can use it for a warmup or for LISS cardio to burn fat. You can also amp up the intensity and perform HIIT by adjusting the speed from slow and steady to a fast-paced step. 

If you’re not sure whether the stair climber is the right machine to add to your workout regimen because of your health history or physical limitations, we have experienced personal trainers who can help implement the right cardio regimen for you. They can show you how to utilize this machine to burn fat and build muscle and design a comprehensive workout for you so you can step closer to reaching your ultimate fitness goals. 

Cardio doesn’t have to be boring. At SWEAT, we have a variety of machines to choose from, making it easier to stay committed to your workouts and health. If you want to invest in your health, lose weight, build muscle, or break through a fitness plateau, we can help. Contact us today at SWEAT in Dallas, TX, to schedule an appointment with a personal trainer, find out more about our facility and equipment, and learn more about our memberships.