Stair climbers present the same challenge as a long set of stairs.
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When you walk up a long flight of stairs, you will notice a burning sensation in your legs and an increase in your heart rate. A stair climber uses this exercise to work out different areas of your body ranging from your large leg muscles to the heart. Like any exercise, proper form ensures the stair climber targets the correct areas of your body throughout the exercise.
Upper Leg Muscles
The quadriceps and hamstrings of your upper legs take up the brunt of the work as you ascend each step on the stair climber. This is likely the first place you will feel the burn from the exercise. As you apply downward pressure on your feet, your hamstrings engage to provide power and stability to your body throughout the movement.
Target Those Glutes
Those marvelous glutes receive their fair share of exercise when using a stair climber. The type of machine you use will determine how much work they receive. On escalator-styled stair climbers you lift your feet with each step; your glutes balance your bodyweight with each step. They also contribute power to the movement of lifting your legs.
How you use your feet will determine how a stair climber works your calves. Keeping your feet flat will limit the workout on your calf muscles. Land on your toes with each step and point your toes toward your shin, as you lift your foot off each step to engage your calf muscles.
Heart of the Matter
Your heart is a strong muscle that requires exercise just like the rest of your body. A strong heart has the ability to move blood throughout your body in an efficient manner -- essentially, it beats less to move more blood. The faster you move on a stair climber, the higher your heart rate climbs, as it works to pump blood throughout your body. Keep your heart rate elevated for at least 30 minutes to target the heart in a healthy manner.
Get the Benefits with Proper Posture
To gain the most benefit from a stair climber you need correct posture. Slumping over and supporting your weight on the machine's handles reduces the effectiveness of the exercise. Keep your back and hips in line while using the handles for balance rather than support. When you step, keep a slight bend in your knees to avoid injury and protect your Achilles tendon by avoiding landing on the steps heel first.