In reality, it should be called the Stairway to Cardio Heaven. Granted, you might not feel heavenly when you’re on it, but trust me: the results will make the climb worthwhile.
So what exactly is this piece of equipment I’ve just painted a halo over? We’ll call it by its original name: the Stairmaster. Chances are you’ve seen one in your local gym, or even tried climbing aboard one yourself a few times.
The Stairmaster is similar to a treadmill, except it features revolving stairs at a high grade. Now, if you’ve ever decided to take the stairs instead of riding the elevator up more than a flight or two, you know how deceivingly intense just walking up stairs can be.
Why You Should Do a Stairmaster Workout
Read on to see why you need to stop the treadmill and switch to the Stairmaster for your HIIT cardio workouts.
1. Serious Fat Burn
Stairmaster Benefits – Serious Fat Burn
As we know (or have at least heard), working out on the Stairmaster is intense.
When used as a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, this intensity is increased even more, setting up the perfect environment for serious fat burn.
Unlike low-intensity, steady-state cardio workouts (like most typical treadmill workouts), HIIT has been proven to burn fat more effectively than any other type of workout.
This is because high-intensity exercise creates chemical and structural changes to your DNA that increases your number of fat-burning proteins (1). And of course, the more fat-burning proteins you have, the more efficient your body is at using fat as a fuel source, rather than storing it.
Not only that, but high-intensity workouts also boost the release of hormones (including growth hormone), leading to greater muscle growth and fatty acid mobilization .
Perhaps the best effect of HIIT workouts – like those we can get with the Stairmaster – is their ability to create a nifty little side effect called “afterburn.”
Officially termed excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (or EPOC for short), afterburn is defined as the number of calories you burn following a workout, rather than during. And nothing creates a bigger afterburn than HIIT workouts.
2. Sculpts Your Stems
Stairmaster Benefits – sculpted legs
Don’t let all of this cardio talk fool you. Once you hop on the Stairmaster, you’ll realize what a powerful lower body workout you’re in for.
The stair motion is similar to that of a step-up on a box, which engages your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves to push your bodyweight up and forward.
The great thing is that by changing your angle of walking up the stairs, or by “skipping a step,” as you’ll see below, you can target different areas of the legs and glutes, so you get some versatility in your workout as well.
3. Low-Impact, High-Intensity
Stairmaster Benefits – Intense Workout
If you’ve been avoiding adding HIIT to your workout routine due to the belief that all intense exercises are high impact (running, plyometrics, etc…), the Stairmaster might be a way to increase your workout intensity without causing pain.
Walking on the Stairmaster doesn’t involve bouncing or jumping, which allows you to get your heart rate up without jolting your knee joints.
4. Beats Cardio Boredom
Stairmaster Benefits – Beats Cardio Boredom
Another amazing aspect of doing a HIIT workout on the Stairmaster is the fact that you’ll be in and out of the gym in under 30 minutes.
In fact, if you’re only doing the Stairmaster workout below, you’ll be out in a mere 15 minutes!
And the best part?
You’ll be burning more fat and seeing better results than you would have if you had spent an hour slowly jogging on the treadmill.
These are some important tips regarding stair climber HIIT.