You've seen treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and stair steppers in your gym. While the elliptical tends to get a lot of attention from gym-goers, stair steppers also get a pretty good workout. Both the elliptical and stair stepper tone your lower body, lift your butt and torch an impressive number of calories. Regardless of which machine you pick, you’ll be looking svelte in no time with regular use.
Stair Stepper Basics
Depending on your speed and weight, you can burn up to 10 calories per minute, according to "Shape" magazine. This machine works your entire lower body but really sculpts your buttock and thighs. To increase the backside benefits, step first onto your heel to further engage your glutes and hamstring muscles. To make the most of your workout, make sure to maintain proper form by standing tall, keeping your core engaged and looking forward.
The elliptical machine mimics your stride when you are running. Compared to the stair stepper, it is a lower impact workout because you do not lift and lower your feet during the workout. If your elliptical machine has moveable arm handles, grab on and make it a total body workout. The pulling and pushing motion targets your chest and upper back muscles. If you want to emphasize your core, swing your arms as you would if you were running. Based on your weight and intensity, you can burn up to 10 calories per minute on the elliptical, according to certified trainer Liz Neporent on the HuffPost Health Living website.
Stair Stepper Workout
A 145-pound person can burn up to 250 calories with this stair stepper workout, according to "Shape." To begin, warm up on the stair stepper at a resistance level 2 for four minutes. Pick up the pace for the next three minutes by upping the resistance to a level 8. Recover by lowering the resistance to level 5 for a minute but then back to level 8 for another three minutes. Repeat these hard-slow intervals for a total of three times. Then up the resistance to a level 10 for a minute followed by a level 5 one-minute recovery. Repeat this twice and then cool-down at level 1 for three minutes.
Make your elliptical workout a tempo workout by sustaining a fairly intense but steady pace for the best results. Begin with a 10-minute warmup and then increase the pace until you are at a 7 or 8 out of 10 on the rate of perceived exertion. Hold this pace for 15 to 20 minutes and then end with a 10-minute cool-down. A 145-pound person can burn up to 498 calories with this 40 minute workout, according to Health Status.
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.