The Stair-master is a piece of gym equipment that has been designed to simulate the climbing of stairs. First of all, no machine will ever beat the real life task of climbing a set of stairs or hiking up the side of a mountain. The satisfaction of making it to the summit, along with the view, will always surpass the view of the gym car park or a row of televisions and or mirrors.
However when used correctly, the Stair-master can be used to supplement your training and have some cardiovascular benefits along with being a great tool in developing strength and endurance in the lower body.
This is not always the case as the majority of people are using the machine incorrectly.
The problem with the Stair-master
Almost every time you walk into a gym you will find people who don’t know how to use a Stair-master, or many of the cardio machines for that matter. The machine is meant to simulate climbing up stairs. Pretty basic right? Yet still you will find many people who find it necessary to add all of these un-natural movement patterns to try to complicate a simple movement.
Common mistakes people make on the Stair-master
In no particular order these are just some of the mistakes people make using the Stair-master.
Not really sure how this movement developed? Did someone say that this would help give you bigger more developed glutes or did you see someone else doing this exercise so you thought it was worth giving it a go?
Just Squat. And Hinge. The act of kicking out your leg while using the machine does nothing for you other than giving you the impression that you think you’re actually doing something productive.
After you finish squatting, do some glute bridges and kettlebell swings.
There are only two reasons you should need to hang on to the rails of a Stair-master:
- You’re an older trainer and have poor balance;
- You’re completely new to working out (or walking) and have developed no balance.
If you fall into the second category, you need to slow the machine down or take a walk around the park.
Stair-master sideways walking
Why? Is it because someone somewhere told you need to try to develop the outside (or inside) of your legs? Those muscles are probably already tight on you and if they’re not then going sideways on a Stair-master isn’t going to fix that.
Do you go to the gym to workout or do you go to the gym to read the latest gossip on the bachelor? There is a time and place for everything. Focus on the task at hand. If you want a good workout, then do a good workout.
How often do you walk into the cardio section of the gym and see people slumped over on the Stair-master? The aim of the machine is to simulate the climbing of stairs. There is zero transferable skill to slumping while conducting this movement pattern.
It’s bad enough to sit slumped over at your desk all day, but to go to the gym afterwards and make it worse by slumping over on a machine for an hour? One of the main reasons the gym exists today is to help correct the imbalances created by living in the concrete jungle.
Just slow down, stand up straight, chest up and shoulders back. And get those hands off the rails!
Chasing calories on the Stair-master
Why? Because you need to burn 500 calories so you could eat some food afterwards? Or the night before? There is another whole post here. Chasing calories will not develop successful training or eating patterns.
Firstly, if you’re slumped over and holding onto the rails then the number on the display isn’t even an accurate measure of calories burned.
Secondly, all this is doing is creating a negative relationship with both exercise and food. This will almost always end in failure.
How to use a Stair-master effectively
This picture tells a thousand words. Try a real set of stairs. Get outdoors and go for a hike. There is no machine that is going to help you with your movement so you actually have to do the work. You can’t lean on anything. You can’t read. It’s just hard work.
And that works.