Make no mistake about it, StairMaster are the best at producing top class step machines and step-mills, that challenge even the fittest of people. A workout on a Stairmaster will push your body to it’s limit, burning calories and stripping away the fat. They might boast a hefty price tag, but they’re worth every penny when you consider how impressive these machines are, and if you’re a serious home gym owner.
StairMaster History :: The Innovation of Stair-Climbing was Born
They have been producing high-end, quality machines since 1983, that were first brought to the world by Tri-Tech, in the NSGA (National Sporting Goods Association) trade show. (1) The first model was called the StairMaster 5000, a rotating staircase, but was quickly replaced by the 6000 model which was identical to it’s older brother, but now included the innovation of a CRT screen, a heart monitor and which produced the users workout print-out summary from a thermochromic printer. StairMaster’s first independent ‘pedal-movement’ fitness machine was the ‘4000PT’, which rapidly became as popular as the Stepmills which are typically only found in membership gyms now. In 1987 the company took a side-step with the introduction of the ‘Gravitron’, an assisted pull-up and dip machine.
This was another groundbreaking invention that allowed virtually anybody to perform pull-ups (chins) and dips, both of which are the best upper body exercises to build strength and add muscle tone. The first Gravitron was made using a kind of hydraulic system, which was replaced in an upgrade, by swapping the mechanism for a stack of counter-weights. The initial StairMasters were not electronically ‘assisted’. Motorized versions were not invented and introduced to health clubs in the late eighties, with the ‘Gauntlet’. This machine brought speed regulating to party, allowing the user to almost ‘run’ up a flight of moving stairs! Around this time, the early nineties, the population realized the health benefits of stair stepping, by offering a cardiovascular workout that put other ways of exercising to shame.
The name ‘The Gauntlet’ was lost in 2005, and the StepMill was born – and these innovative machines are still in high demand today, because of their impressive ability to challenge you with the toughest of workouts. 30 years on, StairMaster continue to produce state-of-the-art cardiovascular and fitness machines, that although vary somewhat to the original ‘5000’ and ‘6000’ models, they prevail as one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment in gyms and health clubs all around the world. And in recent times, home micro-gyms have become more and more fashionable among health and fitness nuts like you and me, which are are including a Stepmill or Climber as part of their fitness arsenal.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Stairmaster Stepper?
- Improved heart rate
- Fat loss
- Toned lower body muscles
- Improved overall leg strength
- Ergonomic design means a low impact workout that is kind to your knees
- LCD console displays exact workout information – heart rate, calories burned, floors climbed
- Varied workouts for fat burning or heart health improvement
Comparing a Climber or Stepmill to road running, either machine wins every time! Road running does have many benefits of course (like endurance performance and improved heart strength), but a stairclimber or Stepmill offers all that, plus a lot more as you can see from that list. Because of their ergonomic design Stairmaster fitness machines are gentle on your knees, which is fantastic if you have joint problems. I have knee joint trouble so I cannot run on any type of hard surface. Even some treadmills cause me problems. This is why I prefer to use a Stepmill if possible (I recently moved house, and my new gym does not have one – I am so gutted!)
What other benefits does a Stairmaster offer?
You don’t have to lie down like you do on a rowing machine, and you don’t need to bounce around in a class of people you don’t know, if you want to improve your cardio and burn some calories! With the programs that a state stepmill offers you, you can set it to do basically whatever you want it to. Program it, push a couple of buttons and…..wait for the pain! It’s the best kind of pain of course, but if you don’t like the lactic acid build up in your thighs after a tough leg workout or steep uphill walk – maybe investing in one of these fitness hubs is not for you.
I am not trying to put you off, but if you are not one hundred percent sure if one of these top machines is for you, then the best advice we could give you is either not to buy one, or at least find somewhere you can use one and just try it out. This might save you a heap of frustration and a ton of money! But for the advocate and experienced user of any Stairmaster, the benefits are clear. You are going to have a lot of fun burning pounds of unwanted fat, boosting your heart beat like you never thought possible and knowing that you own the toughest workout machine ever made!
Here are a few StairMaster Models
Stairmaster Stepmill SM916: Coined as the ‘hardest workout in the gym’, the Stepmill offers an incredible cardio workout for anyone tough enough to challenge it. The revolving staircase mimics actual stairs, but with the revolving action you can set the level to give you a workout that will make you think you are running upstairs. One of the things which regular users have declared that they like most about the Stepmill SM916 is its smooth stepping design, which for anyone like me who suffers from painful knee joints, is an absolute godsend. The Stepmill comes with handrails which have been designed with the user in mind, to give a high intensity workout.
The LCD back-lit console is easy to read and has been redesigned for the purpose of better visibility, not aesthetics. The SM916 has pre-programmed settings offering you an aerobic workout with 20 levels to choose from. Imagine how much weight you could lose with this beast! Another very important feature which I like about this machine is that it is totally user friendly, from the level settings to the display unit. That’s great for people who just want to switch on and GO!
Stairmaster Stairclimber SC916: This model is highly favored among many fitness enthusiasts for its high intense, short burst workout ability as well as allowing you to choose long sessions if you want them. So if you are looking for a true endurance workout, the Stairclimber SC916 will provide you with just that. As with the SM916, the SC916 has been designed to give a smooth motion, particularly with the descent, which is a great bonus if you have knee joint problems. It has a patented independent pedal action which guarantees the user safe momentum, again great for people like me with knee conditions.
The Stairclimber offers a high calorie burning workout with ten programs ranging from manual, heart rate workout and various speed interval settings. The backlit LCD display unit allows you to view your progress right throughout your workout. It shows calories burned, number of steps and time. Like the Stepmill, user specifically designed handrails offers you a safe workout at all times.
Where to Buy StairMaster Fitness Products
Our preferred and recommended online store for StairMaster products is Amazon, because of the high quality level of customer service and satisfaction they offer every buyer. With Amazon, you are eligible for their FREE shipping and they also offer additional warranties which you can definitely benefit from (which is something that the official website does not offer you).
Stairmaster 4600CL Stepper: Designed for just about anyone to use, the 4600CL is classified as a climbing machine, however for most people it is a stepper that is going to ‘blow your socks’ off when it comes to giving you a burn in your thighs! Perfect for use in a home gym, or if you have a large spare room this machine can easily be set up just about anywhere with available space of 44″ x 32″ and a height of over 69″. This versatile stepper offers you a step range of between 1 to 14 inches and a minimum step rate of 26 steps per minute, up to a maximum of 174 steps per minute. Controlled electronically, the alternator chain drive motor has complete control of the descending steps (which is great for knee joints), allowing for a very smooth workout, even at the hardest of levels.
It arrives equipped with heart monitoring equipment, and is perfectly safe and comfortable to use with its heavy chassis and non slip feet and foot plates. It boasts twenty resistance levels, six workout programs and with a state of the art LCD display showing your progress this model perfect for just about anyone. If you could summarize StairMaster fitness products, you would say that they definitely lead the way in home stepping, offering fitness machines which although are heavily priced – will definitely do the job you want you need it to. It’s as simple as setting a program, pressing a button and off you go burning calories, pumping up your heart rate and stripping away body-fat.
What Do Others Say About StairMaster Products?
I’ve scoured the internet to bring you some unbiased opinions of Stairmaster steppers, from people who use them in the membership gym they belong to so this is literally what gym users think of these fitness machines. In fact this page on About.com has a question and answers dedicated to whether they are a waste of time and money, or if they have benefits. One comment from a female user said that since she had been using the Stairmaster, she had never had so many nice comments about her legs. Since using one her legs have started looking ‘fabulous’. Another lady exclaimed that she has so much fun on a Stepmill, she stays on for as long and a fast as she can step. Talk about beating your goals, eh? She said that when she first started exercising on it she literally could not do more than ten minutes, and while she does not divulge how long she stays on now, you can get a really warm feeling from her comment that she is as fit as a fiddle! Another really fit advocate confesses that although they are at the top of their game (cardio and fitness speaking), a workout on a Stepmill or Stairclimber never fails to challenge them! I think that just about sums up Stairmaster, even strong and fit people say they offer a great workout.