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Stair Stepper Workout at Home Routine

Climb your way to a healthier you!

The Best Stair Climber Workout for your butt and legs

We love the satisfaction we feel after a good full-body workout. Do you know the feeling? You’re drenched in sweat, and your heart is pounding, but you feel alive and full of accomplishment! Yeah, that one. It’s great, isn’t it? One of our favorite ways to bring about these endorphins is to hop on the stair stepper! But lackadaisically going through the motions isn’t going to get you there, which is why you need our best stair stepper workout at home or gym routine to guide you!

What is a Stair Stepper? 

HIIT steps

The stair stepper can also be referred to as the stair climber, the stepmill, or the Stairmaster (an actual brand.) It is a cardio machine that mimics climbing stairs. While there are several different versions of stair steppers, the one we are focusing on for this workout will be the substantial piece of gym equipment that resembles a mini flight of stairs.

The stair stepper basically works like a treadmill, but instead of a flat track, it’s a staircase! You can adjust the speed of the rotating steps to be faster or slower by increasing or decreasing the level. The steady motion at which the steps move creates a fabulous, heart-pumping workout. 

Tips on Using the Stair Climber

warm up stretch

If you’ve never used a stair stepper before, there are a few things that you should know to ensure you get the best workout possible. 

First, holding on to the handles is fine, but you want to be careful not to depend on them too much. A common mistake people make is holding too much of their body weight in their hands instead of their legs. This will severely limit the benefits you get from the workout. Instead of gripping too tightly, let your hands rest gently on the handrails just enough to keep your balance. 

This brings us to tip number two. You always want to make sure that you’re maintaining a good posture. Not only will this prevent an achy neck and back, but it will also optimize your workout. Climbing the stairs with good posture will force you to push more weight through your legs and even challenge your core muscles! Keep your shoulders back, chest out, arms relaxed, and head and neck in a neutral position.

Our third tip is to always begin with a warm-up. Regardless of the type of cardio you’re doing, you should give your muscles a chance to warm up. This is particularly true on the stair climber. Warming up properly will prevent injury and allow you to get more out of your workout. 

Related: The Best 5-Minute Warm-Up to Do Before Any Workout 

When the stair stepper workout is finished, cooling down is just as important as warming up. The cool-down portion of your workout helps bring your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure back to normal pre-exercise levels. It also reduces the build-up of lactic acid, so you will be less sore and able to get another workout in sooner!

Health Benefits of a Stair Stepper Workout

cardio machine

It might look like a big scary piece of gym equipment to beginners, but the stair stepper is actually very easy to use. It’s a piece of equipment worth getting to know because it has so many health benefits to offer!

Working out on a stair stepper boosts your heart rate. Not only is this fantastic for improving your cardiovascular health, but also for burning calories and shedding excess fat. And because the stair climber keeps you moving at a steady pace, it’s a great tool for increasing endurance!

In addition to aiding in weight loss, the stair climber also targets and tones several different muscle groups. It’s a fantastic form of exercise for the entire lower body, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hips, and even the abs!

Using a stair climber is more challenging than walking up the stairs or using a stationary aerobic step because it keeps us going at a steady pace. Oftentimes our minds convince our bodies that we need to take a break or stop when in reality, our bodies are perfectly capable of a few more minutes. The stair stepper will push you to take a few more steps!

The stair stepper offers a fantastic low-impact workout that’s easier on the joints than jogging or running. It provides the best of both worlds– efficient results with less strain on your ankles and knees. While walking is less taxing on the joints, you’d have to walk a lot further to burn the same amount of calories that you would on the stair stepper. 

This leads us to our last point. Our stair climber workout will save you time! It’s quick but efficient in helping you reach your fitness goals. Get your workout in and get on with your day. 

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Workouts to Help You Improve on the Stair Climber

supporting workout

We’ve already shared tips on how to optimize your time on the Stairmaster, but having some workouts on hand that can improve your performance will make your stair stepper workout even better! Think of it as doing a stair stepper workout at home without the stair stepper!

Performing moves like squats, lunges, and deadlifts regularly will strengthen the muscles you use on the stair climber. It’s also a good idea to incorporate core and ​high-intensity interval training for the best results. Luckily, we have plenty of awesome workout routines for you to choose from. Here are some recommendations:

Best Booty Workout To Maximize Your Glutes – Target your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, abductors, and more with this awesome butt-strengthening workout!

The Best Thigh Workout for Lean Legs – Toughen up those thighs for the stair climber with this challenging routine!

 Get Fit with the Lean Body HIIT Workout Challenge – This HIIT routine will whip your heart and body into shape!

High-Intensity Routine to Target Your Abs – Get your HIIT and core workout done at the same time with this combo workout.

20-Minute Core Strength Workout – It may surprise you how much you use your core on the stair stepper. This core strength workout will give you stronger abs to improve your posture and your fitness! 

Balancing Exercise and Rest Days

exercise and rest

We highly recommend strength training your lower body, upper body, and abs at least once a week, in addition to performing high-intensity interval training and cardio. But rest is just as important as exercise! Be sure to give yourself at least 2 rest days each week! In order to accomplish this, we like to double up our cardio exercise with a strength training day. Here’s what that might look like:

Lower Body and Cardio – Day 1: Try a routine like this Killer Legs and Butt Workout and then perform our stair stepper challenge or any other SkinnyMs. cardio workout!

Upper Body – Day 2: We have plenty of arms, chest, back, and shoulder workouts to choose from! Check out this 7-Day Tone Your Upper Body Challenge. 

Rest – Day 3: Take a day off or perform our Full Body Yoga Flow for Beginners to limber up and recover! 

Abs and Cardio – Day 4: This is The Only Workout for Abs You’ll Ever Need; however, we have plenty more to choose from! When you’re finished, hop back on the Stairmaster for another HIIT Workout. 

Upper Body – Day 5: It’s time to hit your upper body again! You can focus on one muscle group, like your back or shoulders, or do another full upper body routine. 

Lower Body and Cardio – Day 6: Hit your lower body again, or isolate those thighs or glutes. Then, it’s time for one more stair-stepper workout to round out the week!

Rest – Day 7: Take a day off! You’ve earned it! And if you’re feeling up to it, groove into another yoga flow like The Best Yoga Routine for Overall Flexibility! 

The Role of Nutrition in Reaching Your Fitness Goals

eating protein for muscle growth and fat loss

All of your training will be for naught if you don’t get your diet in order. You should always eat to support your health and fitness goals (well, most of the time, anyway…). Don’t expect to lose weight or build muscle if you eat too much junk and not enough protein. If you’re not sure where to start, begin by following a few basic healthy eating tips:

1. Focus on whole foods. Fill your plate with fresh, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats or plant-based proteins, whole grains, and more. 

2. Prioritize protein at every meal. Make sure each meal contains some form of protein. Eggs, meat, tofu, fish, protein powder, and more, are easy ways to add protein to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t forget, you can get all the protein needed from a whole food plant based diet.

3. Drink plenty of water. Most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day, but doing so is great for weight loss and your health! Aim for at least eight 8-ounce glasses per day, but one gallon is even better! If plain water isn’t your favorite, add fresh fruit for extra flavor. 

4. Avoid drinking your calories. Try to avoid soda, juice, and alcohol as often as possible. These drinks may taste good, but they offer no nutritional value and can add hundreds of calories to your diet.

5. Prepare meals and snacks ahead of time. Staying prepared is the best way to be successful! Prepare your meals and snacks ahead of time so that when hunger strikes, you reach for the healthy option!

6. Cook at home. Preparing your meals and snacks at home will make it much easier to stick to your diet. Eating out at restaurants and grabbing fast food all the time is a surefire way to hold on to and gain excess weight. 

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Getting your diet in order is actually easier than you think! The hardest part is turning healthy choices into habits. Once you become accustomed to making healthier decisions, your health and fitness journey will feel so much simpler. 

Related: 5 Tiny Changes That Will Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Recipes to Support Your Workout

The best way to ensure you get a great workout is to properly fuel your body pre-workout! We have so many great recipes to choose from, but here are some of our favorites for extra energy!

The Stair Stepper Workout

climbing stairs

This stair stepper workout is a HIIT-style routine. It will increase and decrease in intensity to boost calorie burn. You will start off with a slow pace and gradually work your way up to the high-intensity portions. This routine incorporates short sprints, slow climbs, and more! 

The chart below lays out the workout minute by minute. It covers the level, move (single step or double step), time, and the way you should be feeling throughout the workout. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin:

  • The levels are a recommendation. That said, every person is different. If the recommended level is too difficult/easy for you, feel free to increase or decrease it. You want this stair stepper workout to challenge you, but safety should be your number one priority. 
  • When the workout tells you to “skip a step,” it means just that. Instead of climbing one step at a time, you will climb two, skipping one. This will challenge your legs and glutes.
  • You will need to focus on controlling your breathing throughout the entire routine, especially during the “hard” levels. 
  • As you get better at using the stepmill, feel free to increase the number of rounds in the workout. You can also add in some new move variations like side stepping and back kicks.

Begin by performing this workout 2 to 3 times per week. As you progress, you can do it up to 5 times per week.

stair stepper workout

Frequently Asked Questions

stairclimber workout at the gym

Is the stair stepper a good workout?

The stair stepper is a fantastic workout! It can improve your cardiovascular health, help you burn fat, and tone the muscles in your legs, butt, and abs!

How many days per week/month should I spend on the stair stepper machine?

If you’re a beginner, you will want to start with 1 to 3 days per week. As your body becomes more conditioned, you can perform a stair stepper workout 5 days per week. Remember, rest days are important too!

You should be aiming for 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise or 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise each week. You don’t have to only do this workout for cardio, though! We have plenty of other cardio routines to choose from, like the best walk/run training plan for weight loss.

How long does it take to see results with this stair climber workout?

The rate at which you see results from the stair climber is dependent on how well you stick to a healthy eating plan. If you maintain a clean diet, you can expect to see results within a few weeks. 

How do I get better at using the stepmill?

Practice, practice, practice! The more you do something, the better you will get at it. But there are also supporting workouts you can perform to increase cardiovascular health and endurance, as well as lower body strength. We left some recommendations in one of the sections above!

What muscles does the stair stepper target?

The stair stepper works so many muscles! It will target your glutes (gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, specifically) as well as the thighs (quadriceps and hamstrings,) calves, and core muscles!

Is the stair stepper considered cardio exercise?

The stair stepper is considered cardio exercise. You can perform steady-state cardio or use it for an awesome HIIT workout.

Are there any risks I should know about?

Using the stair climber does come with some risks. There is a risk of falling off, as with any other piece of cardio equipment. The best way to avoid this is to let your hands rest softly on top of the handrails. You will also want to limit your speed to what is right for you. The higher the level, the faster the stair climber will cycle. Finally, be careful not to overdo it. The Stairmaster is a serious cardio workout. Going too hard too fast can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.

If you give our stair stepper workout a try, be sure to let us know what you think of it!

Did you enjoy this workout? You might also like to try our Full Body Step Challenge or learn How to Build Your Own HIIT Workout!

Want to improve your overall fitness? Check out The Ultimate 7-Day Gym Plan for Beginners!

Need an energy boost before your workout? Try this Avocado Pear Smoothie.

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