Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Stair Stepper Routine

Lately I've been kicking ass on the stair stepper machine. I have always been intimidated by it (most likely because of my cardio level was weak then and favored the elliptical trainer) until my friend introduced me to it. We would do anywhere between 7 and 15 minutes on it and then I was hooked (but was only doing 60 to 70 steps per minute)!

Since then, I've increased my steps per minute to a comfortable range of 90 to 115 steps and have consistently worked out for 30 minutes per session every weekday. Those minutes can be pretty boring when I am stationary so with the help of my tunes and intervals, I keep the variety in my stair stepper workout.

What I like to do is start at 90 steps/minute for the first few minutes while I put on my arm band and hook up my iPod. Then minute by minute I change up the steps from 90 to 95 to 100 to 115 and back to 95. Time really flies when I'm just living for the minute, trying to keep good form and take full steps, not little short ones (I think that's cheating). What I'm doing is referred to as HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and research has shown that it's a more effective way to burn fat than slow and-low-intensity exercises. There is also a training chart that you can try.

You may have a more comfortable range. I'm 5'6" and 131 pounds so this range is what I can handle for now. If you are heavier, the steps range may not be as high because you'll find that you will sink faster than I at say, 90 steps/minute. If you are lighter than me, your step range may need to be higher. It just depends on what kind of intensity you are looking for in your workout.

I hate the stair stepper because it kicks my ass but I LOVE IT because it challenges me, makes me sweat like pig, and has helped me immensely in improving my cardio level.

Do you use the stair stepper and is there a routine that you wouldn't mind sharing in the comments? I am always looking for variety in my workout and am open to suggestions. Here's what I have been doing (click on the image for a larger view).

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