There are loads of different exercise machines out there and choosing the right one for your exercise session can be tough. Whether or not the stair stepper is a good workout for you will depend on your goals and how easily you can stay motivated to use the machine over the longer term.
What muscles do these machines work?
This machine won’t give you an upper body training session. What you will get is a good lower body training session. Your calves, quads, gluts and hip flexors will be exercised by this machine meaning this equipment is great for toning legs and buttocks. An elliptical trainer would also work the quadriceps on the front of the thighs, but a stair stepper will only start to act on this group of muscles once you start getting to the higher intensity level of exercise. Of course depending on how much effort you put you can also work your heart muscles.
Any good for cardio?
A stair climber will get your heart rate up and give you a good cardio workout. The problem with this machine is that you are not using your upper body at the same time. Exercise machines that use upper and lower body tend to provide better cardio workouts in as much as neither upper or lower body is over stressed. With a stair climber your legs take a mauling. The result is that after 30 minutes of exercise you feel less exhausted coming off an elliptical where you have worked your heart rate up to a constant 120 bpm than you would having come off a stepper with the same results.
How many calories will you burn?
I am 180lbs and various calculators suggest that with vigorous use of a stair step machine I might burn 386 calories in a 30 minute period, this compares with an elliptical where I might be expected to burn 600 calories in a 30 minute period.
The truth is most of the calculators and formulas for working out calorie burn are pretty hit and miss as they really require detail such as your sex, weight and age on an individual basis and then use generalisations on exercise intensity to make the calculations. What we can say is that if calorie burning is your goal then other types of equipment such as treadmills, bikes and elliptical trainers are usually considered better burners.
However, you can maximise your calorie burn on a stepper by either exercising at 65% of your max heart rate, this will put you in a fat burning zone which experts believe will allow you to burn 300 calories in 30 minutes or by using interval training techniques to get more from your workout.
Any Good For Weight Loss?
As we have discussed earlier a stair machine will give you a cardio workout and can help you burn calories but if I had to choose an exercise machine to lose weight this wouldn’t be it. The main reason I would opt for a different machine is that achieving a consistent workout program on a stepper is difficult, in short, it hurts to much. An elliptical burns more calories at less stressful levels so would probably be the best way to go.
What type of workout are they good for?
Stair stepper workout benefits vary depending on your goals. If you are motivated to primarily lose weight other machines are more effective but you can get some good benefits from step equipment. If you are looking for a cardio workout other machines are easier to use and stay motivated to use over a period of time. If you are looking to tone up your legs and rear then the stepper is an excellent choice and will contribute to a cardio and weight loss workout program at the same time.