A stair climber is a cardiovascular machine that simulates the action you would perform while walking up steps. It is basically a revolving staircase that never halts until you hit the "stop" button. These machines offer a high intensity workout and involve a lot of leg muscle recruitment due to the vertical nature of stair climbing. When it comes to the exercise plans, several different options exist.
When you use a stair climber, be aware of the proper mechanics and form you should have while using it. The hand rails on the stair climber are there to offer you support and balance, especially when you are first starting out. Do not place all your weight on them, and stop using them once you become more comfortable on the machine. Another checkpoint to consider is your posture. Do not lean forward when you are using the climber. With every step you take, stand upright and keep your head up. Avoid swinging your arms to add challenge and gain greater leg-strengthening benefits.
Begin with a gentle routine to help burn fat and improve cardiovascular health. Start out at a slower level for 5 minutes. Turn the speed -- or steps per minute -- up slightly and step at this steady pace for 30 to 45 minutes. Reduce the speed and go slowly for 5 minutes.
Intervals are more intense than your regular stepping routine and they can increase your caloric expenditure and your aerobic capacity. There are many different interpretations of how to do interval training, but the underlying message is all the same -- alternate between bouts of high and low intensity. To do this on the stair climber, start with a 5-minute warm-up at a light pace. Turn the speed up so you are making fast, short steps and go for 60 seconds. Lower the speed back down and go for 60 seconds. Alternate back and forth 10 times total and finish at an easy pace for 5 minutes.
There are a few variations in your steps you can do on the stair climber. For example, instead of landing on every step, land on every other step. To do this, you might have to rely on the hand rails a little bit more to maintain your balance. Another variation to try is walking backward. To do this, keep the speed low and again, rely on the handrails to keep your balance.
If you get bored easily from doing the same type of cardio day after day, incorporate the stair climber into a circuit with other exercises. To do this, you need to be at a gym. Start out with a 5-minute warm-up on a treadmill. Go to the climber and step for 60 seconds, hop on a stationary bike and pedal for 60 seconds, jump rope for 60 seconds, get on the rowing machine and row for 60 seconds, then come back to the treadmill and run for 60 seconds. Follow this same procedure through 10 times, finishing with a 5-minute cool-down walk on the treadmill.
Over time, your stair-climbing speed will begin to feel easier. When your old routine is no longer challenging, increase the number of steps per minute and/or your exercise duration to avoid hitting a fitness plateau.