A stepmill is a an exercise machine that looks like a little escalator. You won’t see one in every health club, but if you do find a stepmill, you’re in for a good workout. You’ll tone your thighs and your tush because it works your lower-body muscles. It also provides a good fat-shedding aerobic workout.
You need to flex, or bend, your hip as you raise your knee and lift your foot up to the next step. Your main hip flexors include the iliopsoas muscle and rectus femoris. The iliopsoas is really a combination of two muscles: the iliacus and the psoas major. The iliacus runs along the back and inside part of your hipbone down to the front and top of your thigh bone. The psoas starts in your low back and merges with the iliacus. The rectus femoris is part of the quadriceps muscles that straighten your knee.
You extend your hip when you straighten it. Hip extensors include the gluteus maximus and the hamstring muscles. The gluteus maximus starts at the back and top of your hip bone and runs down to the top of your thigh bone to form the fleshy part of your buttock. The hamstrings run from the back and bottom of your hip bone and top back part of the thigh bone down to the back of your knee. The hamstrings give the backs of your thighs their shape.
You extend your knee as you straighten it. Quadriceps femoris is a group of four muscles that start at the top and front of the thigh bone, except for the rectus femoris that starts on the hip bone. The four muscles form the front of your thigh as they run down to merge into the quadriceps tendon just above your knee. The quadriceps tendon attaches to the knee cap, which attaches to the lower leg with the patellar tendon.
Ankle Plantar Flexors
Plantar flexion is the anatomical term for pointing your foot and toes downward. The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles do most of the work. The gastrocnemis attaches to the top of the lower leg bones and runs down to the back of the heel. It forms the fleshy part of your upper calf. The soleus runs just underneath the gastrocnemius and it forms the lower part of your calf on either side of the Achilles tendon.
According to the exercise website ExRx.net, you should avoid putting your weight onto the machine's handle bars. You can turn on the intensity by increasing speed, but be sure you can keep up with the pace of the machine.
- ExRx.net: Stepmill
- Shapefit.com: Stepmill Workouts - Cardio Exercises To Burn Fat Calories
- Essential Clinical Anatomy, Fourth Edition; Keith L. Moore
Sheri Kay has a master's degree in human nutrition. She's the co-author of two books and has been a nutrition and fitness writer since 2004.