I bet you didn't think you could get a full workout from climbing a few stairs. Well, we are here to tell you that you can!
Climbing up and down stairs is used as a fitness modality more often than you think! Even sports stars have used stadium stairs as a training tool for years.
However, a stair master may provide the same benefits as actual stairs, so there's no need to rely solely on your home's or outside's steps.
This fixture of the modern gym has been around since the '80s, but its technology has advanced significantly since then; this includes stair masters being able to count calories and have a heart rate monitor.
So let's look at what this new fitness staple can do for you, what the Stairmaster does and what the Stairmaster is good for.
What does the Stairmaster do?
Like a treadmill, a Stairmaster is a stationary workout equipment with revolving steps that allow the user to climb to the desired height at a pace and for a chosen period.
It's a great way to get your heart rate up and tone your lower body, especially your lower limbs, including the quadricep muscle group, hamstrings, calves and glutes.
Types of Stairmaster Workout:
Believe it or not, there are actual stairmaster workouts that you can follow, depending on what you try to achieve from your training that day, and some Stairmaster before and after pictures are amazing!
Two main workouts are popular on TikTok and other social media platforms: the 25-7-2 workout and the 12-3-30 workout. But what is the hype all about? Let's take a look!
What is the 25-7-2 workout?
It was created by the reigning queen of social media, @shutupcamilla, in the following format:
- Climb for 25 minutes on a Stairmaster set at level 7.
- Repeat the routine twice every week.
- Preferably, you should perform the workout without a handrail (I know it seems a bit odd - but we will get into it in a minute).
Not holding on to the Stairmaster's handrails as you ascend is meant to promote core strength, or so the notion goes.
Regular TikTokers may be familiar with this as the "ab trick," but very little research is lacking, and quite frankly, there is no basis for it. The "core" is responsible for maintaining stability in the trunk while under pressure and transferring energy from the upper to lower halves of the body.
Hands-free use of a Stairmaster is not a substitute for actual core exercises, and really - if you feel the need to hold onto the handrail now and then, it's not the end of the world.
Are there any advantages to doing the 25-7-2 workout?
Results are inevitable, but only if you do it carefully, consistently and safely (and not seven days a week). The Stairmaster workout has the following advantages in addition to the usual cardiac benefits:
- The effect is mild.
- It sets a realistic amount of time that most individuals could dedicate to two workouts each week.
- It's less extreme than "intense boot camp style programs" and more long-lasting.
- Builds strength, balance and cardiovascular endurance
You'll be fighting against gravity more than a treadmill, and the workout has a much lower impact, so there is an argument that it could be more joint-friendly, too, compared to the 12-3-30 routine.
Wait, so there is one for treadmills too? Oh yes! We'll divulge a little more into that one next.
It was made by viral sensation Lauren Giraldo and has a straightforward layout.
- On a treadmill, the ideal incline is 12%
- Slow down to 3 mph (4.8km/h)
- Walk for 30 minutes (it's that easy!)
However, what they should have shed light on was that Giraldo lives in the United States, where treadmill speeds are measured in miles per hour. However, in the United Kingdom, kilometres per hour (kmph) is used to measure treadmill speeds; thus, you should have used a setting of 4.8. Can you believe it? So it's a little faster than you may have thought.
In addition, you need to warm up for five minutes and cool down for five minutes, both of which should be done at zero gradients.
What are the benefits of the 12-3-30 workout compared to the 25-7-2 workout?
While there are some differences, these two workouts share many of the same qualities. This includes:
- It is low impact and aids in building lower body muscle strength.
- It enhances cardiovascular fitness and activities in daily living.
- Burns fat
- Enhances bone strength
- Improves balance
Each workout routine is done on a different piece of equipment, so it comes down to preference. But we have heard incredible things about the 25-7-2 Stairmaster workout; try them out and see what you think!
Why You Need to Try the Stairmaster Workout
There are many blissful reasons to add the Stairmaster to your workout routine!
What makes functional fitness exercises and motions so great is that most of them are helpful in our day-to-day lives, helping us improve our quality of life and overall functioning. And yes, you guessed right -- that includes stair masters.
Stairmasters are a great way to strengthen the muscles used for climbing stairs and walking uphill, similar to how squats can assist us in standing up from sitting or lifting heavy objects. They can also be good for enhancing balance and cardiovascular fitness.
Let's take a closer look at some of the Stairmaster.
Stairmaster workout to lose weight
When it comes to reducing weight or keeping it off, the Stairmaster is an excellent choice of equipment. Depending on your weight and how hard you work out on the Stairmaster for 30 minutes, you can burn anywhere from 180 to 260 calories.
Calories burned during a "climb" will increase with speed. But remember that a person of 180 pounds will use more energy during a given workout than a person of 125 pounds.
Depending on your current weight, most Stairmaster machines have calorie-burning calculators that predict how many calories you'll burn during your workout.
If that is a goal, take some time to understand the machine and how it works so you can use it to its full potential and get the most out of your workout!
Improves Joint Mobility
Stairmaster workouts and other low-impact exercises help to stretch the muscles that push blood into your joints, allowing your body to move more fluidly, preventing injuries and improving function.
Increases strength and endurance
Stair climbing strengthens the heart and lungs - the keys to aerobic fitness. When your lungs and heart are in better shape, you can take in more oxygen and distribute it to your muscles and organs with greater efficacy. Stairmasters are great for your heart and bones because they help you build muscle and burn fat.
Stair climbing and other weight-bearing workouts can help prevent osteoporosis and aid in treatment if you already have it. Incorporating the Stairmaster into your workout routine is a great way to boost bone mass, making them stronger. This is especially crucial as you become older because natural bone loss tends to increase as you age.
Stairmaster workout plan
Stairmaster workouts are challenging, great for the time invested, and low-impact, making them ideal for those who want to be gentle on their joints without sacrificing results.
The following workouts are for beginner, intermediate and advanced - you can progress the minute you feel you need more of a challenge. You can repeat these workouts twice a week, nonconsecutively.
Stairmaster Workout 1: 8 Reps x (1-minute hard effort, 3 minutes recovery)
Note: RPE (Rate of perceived exertion) is how hard you feel you are working.
- 13-minute warmup: Step up your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) by two levels every 2 minutes, from RPE 4 up to RPE 8. Reduced Physical Effort to 4 for 3 minutes, or recovery.
- Main Part: 32 minutes broken up into 8 x (1 min RPE 10, 3 min RPE 4)
- 15-minute cooldown.
Stairmaster Workout 2: 7 Reps x (2 minutes hard effort, 3 minutes recovery)
Note: You set your pace for this workout. Use that as your intensity to work on for the remainder of the exercise.
- For the first 10–12 minutes of your workout, start on an easy setting and increase it by one every two minutes. After two minutes at maximum effort, reduce your intensity to zero and rest for three minutes.
- Main part: 35 minutes broken down into 7-seven-minute segments (2 min highest level, 3 min recovery)
- Fifteen minutes cool down.
Stairmaster Workout 3: 8-Minute Endurance Build with Sprints
- Endurance Set: 27 minutes
- Increase one level every 2 minutes:
- Set 1: Level 8-9-10-11 (RPE 5 → RPE 8)
- Set 2: Level 9-10-11-12 (RPE 6 → RPE 9)
- Set 3: Level 10-11-12-13 (RPE 7 → RPE 10)
- Recovery Level 6/7 for 3 min (RPE 3 → 4)
- Speed Set: 16 minutes
- 4 x (1 min at Level 14 or RPE 10, 3 min at Level 6 or RPE 3)
- 15 minutes cool down
- Increase one level every 2 minutes:
Who is the Stairmaster workout good for, and who should avoid it?
The rules for a Stairmaster should be similar to those of a treadmill, recumbent or any other piece of equipment. While there is more good it can do for you, there are some risk factors you should be aware of.
Those who suffer from chronic back pain would be better off avoiding the Stairmaster. This is because using a stair stepper can cause one to develop a slouchy posture. The more tired one gets from the Stairmaster, the more likely they are to slump, which can aggravate back pain/
Individuals with chronic low back pain should focus more on strengthening their lumbopelvic region and neuromuscular control. When pain-free, they should be cleared by a physical therapist to use specific gym equipment.