Step machines (or steppers) aim to simulate climbing stairs. Steppers enable exercisers to obtain stronger legs and increase cardiovascular endurance. Here's our guide to step machine exercise and it's benefits.

Most people are familiar with the motion of walking up stairs, the only difference with a step machine is that the stairs never stop and you have to keep climbing to keep up with the machine. There is a little bit of technique involved with a stepper but most of you will able to just jump on and go. The only difficult bits are tackling the speed, intensity and duration of the stepper exercise.

Tips for using a stepper

  • When you first start out on the stepper you may think there is no way you can carry on as your legs become tired quickly. The key to using the step machines is rhythm - if you try too hard or go too fast at the start you will struggle to maintain the pace or complete your workout. Start off at a reasonable rhythm and maintain it until you feel comfortable.  
  • When you feel more comfortable on the machine you can start to incorporate some sessions. You don't just have to do steady-state work on the stepper and always follow the same routine. By changing the pattern of your training on the stepper you'll find it easier to concentrate, are less likely to get bored and will see more progress in your fitness.
  • Keep your feet flat on the machine and stand with a straight back to maintain correct form whilst on the stepper.  
  • Once you are comfortable with the motion of the machine, try to minimise your use of the handrails. This will engage the muscles further and make them work harder and as a result, you will burn more calories through the workout. 
  • Limiting your use of the handrails will also engage your core as you will be focusing on maintaining the correct posture and maintaining good form.

Benefits of using a stepper

  • The step machine is great for working and toning your lower body in particular, as the movement works on the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and calf muscles.
  • The step machine is a great low impact aerobic activity which will give a good cardiovascular (CV) workout and a suitable alternative to running or jogging which can cause damage to the joints.  
  • Your stability and balance will likely improve as a result of using a stepper.
  • You can set the intensity of the training, increasing the resistance on the machine when you want to gradually make the training harder.
  • If you are using the machine at home, the stepper is much smaller than alternative CV machines such as treadmills or exercise bikes.