Climbing stairs is a great exercise which works the glutes, quadriceps, calf muscles and hamstrings but completing this activity can be highly impractical. Fortunately, there are two types of gym equipment designed to simulate the exercise, providing you with a leg workout which will tone the muscles and give your resting metabolism a boost. These machines are called steppers and climbers and both offer these great benefits. In this guide, we will take you through both machines and the considerations you should make when looking to purchase one.
Stair Steppers use two foot pedals to simulate the action of climbing stairs. Depending on the type of machine you choose; the pedals may move independently of each other (providing a more challenging workout) or have dependant foot action which raises one pedal as you push down on the other. At first glance, stair steppers seem like ellipticals but up close, the differences become apparent. They offer supporting handles, but for the best workout you should avoid using these to support yourself too much. Use handles to maintain your balance but avoid using them to support your weight as this will reduce the benefits of the workout.
The second type of machine to offer this type of workout is stair climbers. Stair climbers resemble a small escalator of about 3 steps. The workout is almost identical except, as you walk up the escalator, your feet don’t stay planted as they do on a stair stepper. This means that although it is a low impact exercise, you will feel more strain on your knees. Stair climbers provide a rail, which like a stair stepper’s handles, should be used for balance but not to support your weight.
As stated previously, both stair climbers and stair steppers offer a fantastic lower body workout. When you use the machines correctly, standing upright throughout your workout you force the muscles, connective tissue, and bones in your legs, hips, and lower back to support your weight. Weight baring exercises such as these are good for reducing bone mineral loss. The workout is also slow paced which is appealing to many people who find running on treadmills or fast spin cycle sprints daunting.
If you find yourself regularly climbing stairs or walking up steep hills, then these machines will help you develop the muscles you need to reduce the strain of these tasks. Furthermore, despite only working the lower body, stair steppers activate many muscles creating a cardiovascular workout.
There are other types of stair steppers available, but these two machines are the main types and are the ones you will likely come across at the gym. Though many people will visit the gym for a stair climbing workout some people prefer the convenience of being able to workout at home in their own home gym. If you are one of these people, then here are the things you need to consider when choosing your stair stepper or stair climber machine.
Purchasing a quality machine is crucial. There are many reputable brands to choose from and you can find them at great prices from a selection of trusted gym equipment suppliers. Instability or a low build quality will not offer a smooth workout and can dramatically reduce the results you will see. Poor quality machines will typically have a short life span. Not only will higher quality machines last longer, but when buying through a good supplier, you will often be offered a warranty for extra assurance.
Many gym equipment suppliers will also have fantastic stepper machines at great prices in their refurbished gym equipment ranges.
Size is something that plays a huge role in purchasing most home gym equipment. Many machines have large rails and handles but in some cases, this makes them more difficult to store away between workouts. Stair climbers will generally be smaller but there are some more compact stair stepper machines available on the market. If you are insistent on having a stair stepper over a stair climber but need to limit your machines size speak to your supplier and they will help you through your options.
Stepper machines and climber machines come with screens for tracking your progress, stats and even watching videos whilst you work out. If you are investing in adding a stepper or climber into your home gym, you may want a high-end screen which provides in-depth analysis and greater control over resistance and other variables which affect your exercise routine. However, simpler LCD screens are available at a lower cost if you don’t require all the added extras.
It is worth noting that the other machine types alluded to earlier, may be sufficient for a home workout, but steppers and climbers are a higher level of gym equipment. If you are looking for a low impact, lower body workout but are still unsure which machine is right for you then talk to the team at UK Gym Equipment. UK Gym Equipment are experts in their industry and can help you choose the perfect machine for your needs.