Tips for using a step machine or stepper
Exercising on a stepper
Step machines (or steppers) aim to to simulate climbing stairs. Steppers enable exercisers to obtain stronger legs and increase cardiovascular endurance. Here's our brief guide to step machine exercise and it's benefits.
The step machines will feel familiar as virtually all of us will have walked upstairs at some point in our lives. 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 the speed, intensity and duration of the stepper exercise. The stepper can be set with the help of the gym staff or a personal trainer.
Tips and benefits of step machine exercise
- The step machine is great for working your thighs and buttocks.
- When you start out on the stepper you may think there is no way you can carry on climbing 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 and are less likely to get bored.
- On most step machines nowadays you should start out with your feet flat on the pedals and keep them flat throughout the first part of the warm-up stage. As you get more confident and want to go faster it is possible, and advisable, to lift your heels a little and work on your toes as the speed increases. This helps to give a greater over all stepper work-out to your calves as well as your quads, hamstrings and buttocks.
- The posture you adopt while stepping is quite important because if you get it wrong you’ll get a sore back and will work muscles you don't need to. The ideal body placement on a stepper is standing up with a straight back and arms slightly at the front and holding on to the rails. Too many people can be seen slumped over the front of the stepper machine or with their arms locked out desperately trying to hold them upright.