If you long for a perky, shapely rear end, look no further than the stair stepper. This ingenious contraption offers a cardio workout that targets your glutes for a butt-shaping, calorie-burning bonanza. But remember, even the best workout won't remove fat directly from your buttocks. If you're looking to trim down your buns, you need to include a sensible diet in your fat-blasting arsenal. Skip the sugary sodas and fried foods, and cut back to 1,200 calories per day to lose weight.
There are a few different stepper varieties on the market, though the benefits are all similar. The more expensive types are electronic and have motors to keep them running. The more cost-effective ones are manual, fueled only by your own two feet. Some steppers operate like treadmill staircases, allowing you to climb up at a set pace. One advantage of these is that you can skip a step for an additional workout option. Most steppers, however, have two separate pedals, making this move impossible.
It may be tempting to lean heavily on the stepper's railing in order to reach a higher-intensity setting, but this is a big no-no. Doing so prevents your glutes from getting the muscle-toning action they deserve. Remain upright, lightly resting your hands over the rail. If you have any knee soreness, it may help to lift your feet up with each step. Use as large a stride as possible; the bigger the step, the more muscle area you use.
Stair steppers provide all of the benefits of an aerobic workout as they perk up your rear -- a win-win situation. This means you'll enjoy a higher resting metabolism along with increased calorie burn during your workout, helping to reduce your risk of obesity. You'll also enjoy improved cardiorespiratory fitness, meaning your heart, blood vessels and lungs will all be in better shape. You'll metabolize glucose more effectively, lowering your risk of diabetes. You'll even feel better, as your self-esteem and overall mood rise.
You won't get all of the cardio or muscle-shaping benefits of your stepper with just a session or two. In fact, you need at least two and a half hours a week of moderate aerobic activity, or an hour and 15 minutes per week of intense aerobic activity, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Depending on your speed, stepping can be either moderate or vigorous. How can you tell? During moderate cardio, you can speak a few sentences but not hold a song. During vigorous cardio, saying more than a few words is difficult.
- MayoClinic.com: Fewer Calories, Healthy Food Best Weight-Loss Plan
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using an Elliptical Trainer or Stair Climber
- BodyResults.com: Stair Stepping Effectiveness
- IdeaFit.com: The 25 Most Significant Health Benefits of Physical Activity & Exercise
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise Intensity: Why it Matters, How it's Measured
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.