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Stair Climbing

Also called: Stair Master, Step Machine

- The Basics
- Upside
- Downside
- Is It for You?
- Tips
- Our Fitness Expert Says
- iVillagers Say

Reviewed By:
Liz Neporent, MA

Stair Climbing Basics

stair climbingStair climbing at the gym gives you the challenge of climbing real stairs without the impact and pressure on your knees.

Stair climbers simulate climbing real stairs. Most are of the stepper variety, where you stand on two foot plates, hold onto the handrails and alternate pressing one foot down as you pick the other one up. There are also rolling staircases, which are a cross between a staircase and a treadmill.

These machines often have programs to focus on specific areas. Or, you can control variables such as pace, duration and sometimes resistance and step height.

Most people think stair climbers intended for home use don't feel as good or as smooth as the high-quality stair-climbing machines found in gyms.

Upside of Stair Climbing

  • You burn more calories and strengthen your bones because this activity is weight-bearing.

  • Stair climbing is low impact, so the risk of injury is lower than that of climbing real stairs.

  • Using a stair climber prepares you for climbing the stairs you encounter throughout your day.

Downside of Stair Climbing

  • Stepping on a stair climber takes practice, and you may feel a bit clumsy at first.

  • Some people complain of knee, hip or low back discomfort while climbing. Improper technique such as leaning too far forward, short stepping or stepping too quickly may cause this, or it may simply be a poor exercise choice for some people.

  • If treadmills, elliptical trainers and stationary bikes bore you, this probably will too.

  • The stepper variety doesn't do that great a job of mimicking climbing real stairs, so there's little crossover effect.

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Review Date: 11-08-2007
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