Cardio days or stay home days? To me, cardio can quickly become boring and a reason for me to skip the gym that day. Not to mention that the temptation is SO real to press that down arrow a few times too many and make it easier (P.S.: this is totally unlike me. I never make things easier on myself in the gym, so the fact that temptation calls my name says something). So, you pick your machine and try to distract yourself with loud music and people watching. C’mon, we all do it. You fix your pineapple bun, take a gulp of your water, check a few snaps, and lift the towel off of the timer to find that it’s only been seven.damn.minutes. The stairmaster workout exercises you’ll read are epic!
But ahhh, the “golden machine of cardio” aka the stairmaster is an answer for you. Some people call it the stair machine or the stairmill, but they all mean the same thing. I prefer stairmaster or booty machine, but people tend to turn that one into a dirty joke so maybe stay away from it. It’s the machine that looks like a mini-stairway to nowhere town and it is hard. The best part about the stairmaster is that it helps add to a full booty workout plan to get the best results. Typically, squats and lunges are known as the most effective way to shape the lower body. However, a fat burning aerobic exercise, such as the stairmaster and balanced eating will make a well-rounded (pun not intended) work out plan for the booty. Richard Cotton, chief exercise physiologist of the American Council on Exercise boldly noted that, “toning and shaping any muscle group requires incorporating a strong aerobic component into your exercise program”.
People are so quick to judge and think that running is the best form of cardio. Now don’t get me wrong, running is great but climbing is even better because it helps build muscle since it’s bearing the weight of your entire body as the muscles contract to pull you above a resting point. When muscles contract while carrying more weight than normal is what makes them gains real! This is also known as the principle of overload. With each step using the repetitive motion of lifting and the power to lift the leg forward targets quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Now combine the fact that you’re firing off major muscle groups along with burning calories and that will help show off the amazing muscles being built.
Make sure to warm up before climbing those stairs. I’ve found that I need to have my back and hips stretched out really well before facing the next 30 minutes on the stairmaster. Sometimes, the different exercises and motions need some getting used to so use a slower speed until you get the hang of it. It’s also smart to do 3-5 minutes of regular climbing before throwing in anything fancy.
Exercise #1: Skip a step
This is for sure a quad and booty burner. Face forward, pick a leading leg and step over two steps. This means that there should be one step in between your back leg and leading leg. Make sure to carefully switch leading legs halfway through the interval in order to give muscles equal working time. Squeeze through the glute when pulling back leg up and press through the heels to activate the booty even more. **This is a game changer**.
Exercise #2: Cross over
This is for the medial glute aka the outside of the hips as well as quads. Start by turning sideways and being steady. Hold the middle bar for balance and cross outside foot over the inside foot onto the next step. Continue that and make sure to switch sides. This is one of the most popular stairmaster workout exercises.
Exercise #3: Wide and Narrow Squat Jumps
This one is always the hardest for me. It is absolutely killer. Take the speed down a couple notches, but no worries.. Heart rate will speed up. Place feet into a wide stance on step. Then squat down as low as possible, place weight in the heels, and jump to the next step. When jumping to the next step, bring feet together into a narrow stance. It is important to squat as you land in the narrow stance to absorb the impact. Then, jump up to the next step into a wide stance. Keep going, narrow, wide, narrow, wide, etc. It’s a good idea to hold the railings. Better safe than sorry because this stairmaster workout burns!
Exercise #4: Kick backs with resistance band
First, step onto a step while holding a resistance band. Place resistance bands where you need to (depending on size of resistance band). Step up with leading leg and lift the back leg up. Make sure to keep a tall back and to hold the lifted leg for one second. This is good for lifting the booty and quads. This is an incredibly effective stairmaster workout move.
Exercise #5: Reverse Climb
Get ready quads, hammies, and calves. Everyone has their own way of starting this one. Personally, I take a few steps facing forward and then very carefully maneuver myself to face the other side. Hold the railings, lower the speed and then proceed to simply step one at a time. It’s just like regular climbing on the stairmaster — just facing the other direction. It can take a couple tries to get used to. This is a favorite stairmaster workout of mine.
I suggest doing each exercise for one minute and then follow with an ab circuit. For example, do one minute of “skip a step” followed by an ab circuit of 4-5 ab exercises. Take 20 seconds to rest and then do one minute of cross-overs followed by the same ab circuit. After making it through the 5 stairmaster exercises + abs, do it all over again! It will be an intense and fun cardio day. Remember that it’s okay to go at your own pace, struggle with it a little bit, but make sure to always challenge yourself. You made it to the gym and that’s half the battle. Why not make the most of it? Good luck! 🙂