An Introduction to Stair Steppers

The benefits of using a stair stepper are very impressive. Which is why they are now one of the most popular home fitness machines. Using a machine like this, regularly, will help you lose weight, tone your hip muscles and your leg muscles (and your upper body muscle structure, when you choose a one that has resistance bands – more on this later), stripping any fat away. Plus, by using a stair stepper for just minutes a day,  you will improve your cardiovascular health so that you will feel alive and have bursting amounts of energy.

The fact that you can get all of this with a machine that takes up less floor space than a kitchen stool (depending on your choice, makes it an excellent choice of home fitness equipment. A stair stepper will deliver a cardiovascular workout, comparable to stationary bike, and BETTER than a treadmill set on a steep incline, without hurting your knee joints.

 

 

Why is a Stair Stepper Better Than a Treadmill, an Exercise Bike or a Rowing Machine?

Stair steppers are low-cost to buy, and can be used anywhere you choose to exercise – in your kitchen, bedroom or living room in front of the television (depending on the type you).

Reasons You Want a Stair Stepper:

  • You cannot move a treadmill.
  • You cannot usually move an exercise bike.
  • You definitely cannot use a rowing machine in your lounge, while your partner and kids are watching their favorite TV program!
  • A treadmill does not tone your leg muscles like a stair stepper does.
  • A rower will improve your cardiovascular health, but it won’t strip your leg fat and strengthen your core muscles.
  • sunny health and fitness stepper with bandsAn exercise bike does not strengthen your legs, like a stair stepper will.
  • A 10 minute workout on a treadmill, is not comparable to 10 minutes on a stepper – you won’t burn even half the amount of fat on a treadmill.
  • A rowing machine will not strengthen and tone your upper body, like a stair stepper with resistance bands will.
  • An exercise bike is pointless for overall body toning.
  • A treadmill is noisy.
  • A rowing machine is noisy.
  • A stair stepper offers a near silent workout (most models).

The larger stair steppers are usually more commercial and typically found in membership gyms, but many home fitness enthusiasts are deciding to invest in them because of their durability and product guarantees, and service cover that is often offered by manufacturers. All the same, they can be used by everyone – men, women, the old and the young.

These machines are usually quite expensive, which is why we have developed this site. To provide you with all the information you need, and to give you a broad choice of affordable steppers that you can read about in one of our reviews, so you can choose the right one for your needs.

We hope that you will find a suitable stepper here on this site, so you can start burning hundreds of calories and stripping away that unwanted fat, at a pace this is good for you. We understand how important personal health and fitness is to you, and how being slimmer, more toned and having more energy can really benefit your daily life.

Here, we tell you everything you need to know about choosing, buying and using your new home fitness machine. So if you like, you can skip to any part of this page by clicking one of the links below.

How Long Should You Exercise on a Stair Stepper?

stair stepper machines are fun

That is up to you of course, but there are a few things you should know beforehand if you are new to exercising, either in your home (including any outdoor activity) or in a membership gym. Before you start any new exercise program, you should consider consulting a doctor before you begin to make sure you do not have any underlying health concerns that may be affected by your new enthusiasm for fitness. If you don’t want talk to a physician, you may be interested in reading this article on the absolute beginners guide to exercise on the WebMD site.

Please bear in mind, as with any exercise machines and equipment, that you must workout safely and within your own fitness limits. Please read this article on how long you should exercise for, and if you have just had a baby, this article on the Baby Center website will help you understand how soon after delivery can you start exercising.

Here are some basics:

1. They are easy to set up and use at home.
2. They are usually very basic, which makes them easy to use.
3. You don’t have to workout in front of anybody else.
4. No matter of the weather, you can always have a workout in your home.
5. Minimal space is required (unlike a treadmill), in use and when stored away.
6. Increase your general health and well-being.

Fitness and Cardiovascular Benefits of Stair Steppers

Steppers work the whole of your lower body, toning the muscles in your buttocks, shaping your calf muscles and working your quadriceps and hamstrings (upper thigh muscles) into a lactic acid frenzy! A stepper will also work your core muscles, giving you a mid-body workout which you would never get on say a treadmill. This will help you in your daily life (if you are out of shape and have problems climbing stairs without being breathless) because the stepping motion simulates walking an ordinary flight of steps. By strengthening your abdominal and lower back muscles, as well as your legs, you will find that climbing an every day staircases becomes a breeze!

Cardiovascular fitness is important to everyone, especially as we get older (1). Toning, shaping and working your leg muscles will guarantee you a cardio workout of some degree. But, this does not mean that your workout has to be hard. Far from it. If you work at your own pace to begin with, then increase the intensity and time spent on any type of step machine, you will gradually gain the cardiovascular benefits in a matter of no time at all.

Your choice of stepper will largely depend on your goals for toning and losing weight. If you intend on having some really hard workouts, then choose one which is durable and one which preferably has handles for safety. Also choose one which has an electronic digital display so you know exactly how long you are exercising and what level you are using.

How to Use a Stair Stepper?

You should always warm up before  using a stair stepper. Start by stretching your leg muscles, (without over straining them) and then flex your upper body and you will be ready to begin. In layman’s terms – bend over with your legs straight and reach for your toes for your hamstrings, squat a few times to flex your quadriceps and lean against a wall with one straight back, for a good calf stretch. (2)(3)(4)

Keep your back in an upright position and start stepping in a smooth rhythm. Use your free hands to balance yourself, as holding on while you exercise can put increased pressure on your lower back. Beginners should exercise on a low resistance level for up to 10 minutes, and increase as fitness levels and confidence increases. Intermediates and advanced people should aim for 15 to 20 minutes, at a resistance level to suit them.

Remember to always have a water bottle available, particularly when exercising in warmer regions (and rooms) as you will lose increased amounts of water when working out.

How Many Calories Do You Burn on a Stair Stepper?

This is a tricky question, because there are so many variable. But we have set out a ‘rough’ guide here that you can follow. How many calories you burn will depend on your weight, your fitness and your age. Also, if you are a man or woman. And, obviously how long you exercise for, at what resistance level.

Here is a very general guide which is based on a vigorous 60 minute workout.

Your Body Weight:

  • 120 lbs = 514 calories burned
  • 150 lbs = 643 calories burned
  • 170 lbs = 729 calories burned

That is based on a continuous sixty minutes of stepping as a medium resistance level, at a medium pace.

However, there is a better way to use a stepper to burn fat. Actually, there are a few that involve doing other forms of body-weight exercises, combined with stepping, and exercises using free weights, again combined with stepping. But here are two of the very best ways you can workout at home, maximizing your fat burning.

High Intensity Interval Training on a Stair Stepper

Firstly you have high intensity interval training or HIIT (‘hit’) as it is known. HIIT has become one of the biggest buzz words in the fitness and weight loss industry recently. This way of exercising has been proven to burn more fat, and quicker than if you were to use a stepper as I described above for sixty minutes. (5)

However, HIIT does not suite everyone. And it does not accomplish all fitness and cardiovascular health goals. What do I mean? Ok, if your goal is to achieve an improved level of heart health and overall well being, then high intensity workouts are not for you. You need good old fashioned time versus stepping, at a medium resistance.

But if you want to burn fat, as effectively and as quickly as possible then you need to do higher intensity exercise, and higher resistance training. High intensity interval training works like this. You do a set amount of time at the highest resistance you can for 30 seconds, then rest for fifteen seconds. Repeat this for around a thirty minute workout and you will burn a lot more fat than you did for continuous stepping for sixty minutes. That’s great news, but how is this possible?

The facts are that HIIT workouts allow your body to remain in fat burning state for the following 24 hours (or more). Again, fabulous news if you want to lose weight.

Watch this video review about interval training.

High Intensity Cardio Workouts

The second of my preferred and favorite ways to burn calories is to exercise as for as long as you can, as hard and fast as you can! This philosophy is simple, although some may argue the contrary (incorrectly in my opinion), is that the higher your heart rate, for longer – the more calories you will burn overall.

How’s it done? Simple. Warm up and stretch for at least five minutes, then get as physical as you can! It may take you a couple of workouts to get it right (unless the adjustable resistance level is close to your hands), but once you have found the perfect resistance – just go for it, stepping as fast and hard as you can. Keeping your heart rate as high as you can, for as long as you can is going to burn calories like you never though possible!

How Long Should You Exercise on a Stepper This Way?

There is a point which you can go beyond, where the whole ‘exercising’ scenario gets a little complicated, and your body stops burning fat. Once you’ve gone past the 45 minute mark (of higher intensity fat burning exercises), you stop burning fat and burn muscle instead.

So do not to exceed forty five minutes for your workout, or your stress hormones kick in, you start burning muscle and actually gaining fat! (6)

We recommend building up to a maximum of 45 minutes of vigorous exercising or 20 – 30 minutes of HIIT work for even better results.

 

 

Where to Buy Stair Steppers

We recommend buying from Amazon because they offer the best prices we can find anywhere. They also qualify for Amazon’s free Super Saver Delivery which means big saving for you. You will of course be able to buy most brands of stepper from the manufacturers official websites, but the downside of that is that you usually end up paying their shipping costs.

Warranties and Guarantees

Amazon offer the same warranty and guarantee policy of any item you buy. Separate from that, certain items come with an additional guarantee like a twelve month warranty against defects and a lesser time for moving parts.

Stair Steppers of all types, shapes and sizes have become vastly popular in homes right across the country, because of the health and fitness benefits they provide at little cost. We would reiterate, that if you are new to any kind of cardiovascular exercise regime at home, to consult a professional before proceeding.

References:

1 - http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/index.html

2 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamstring

3 - http://exrx.net/Muscles/Quadriceps.html

4 - http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/picture-of-the-calf-muscle

5 - http://www.builtlean.com/2010/06/04/high-intensity-interval-training-hiit-best-cardio-to-burn-fat/

6 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortisol

Reviews:

Top 3 Stair Steppers

Best reviews of the top 3 stair steppers on the market, including the pro’s and negatives of exercising on these cardiovascular and fitness machines.

sunny twister stepper bands

Top 3 Mini Steppers

Here is our Top 3 Recommended Mini Steppers, bringing you the best and worst reviews. Easily decide which mini stepper you want to buy, because we do all the work for you.

Weight Loss & Fitness Tips:

Burn Calories

How Many Calories Can You Burn On a Stair Stepper

How many calories you can burn on a stair stepper depends on several variables, but when you know all those personal variables you can use these FREE tools to find out how much work you have to do to burn calories and reach you target weight.

Mini Steppers

Mini Stepper

An Introduction to Mini Steppers

Mini stepper’s are unique to home fitness equipment and are very impressive for wha they offer you. Easy to use, great for cardio exercise and perfect for losing weight at home.

StairMaster Fitness Equipment:

stairmaster sc5

What’s So Great About StairMaster Steppers?

StairMaster steppers are the ‘Kings’ of all stepping and climbing equipment. They are the original inventor of home stepping, producing only the highest quality home fitness equipment.

Equipment:

Stair Stepper Brands

Which Are the Top Stair Stepper Brands

The top stair stepper brands offer a huge range of stepper machines which you can use in your front room, your office or in any home gym. Decide for yourself which company offers the best type of stepper for the finance you have available to spend.