What Is the Correct Way to Use a Stairmaster?

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A Stairmaster provides challenging cardiovascular workouts for any fitness level. The digital display screen allows you to track your fitness goals through several markers -- including heart rate, calories burned and steps climbed. The accuracy of the computer depends on the accuracy of your form and motion while exercising. Optimizing the benefits of a Stairmaster requires following several key points.

  • Step onto the machine and adjust the stepping speed using the arrow buttons. The upward arrow will make the step pedals move more quickly while the downward arrow provides more support. Choose a speed that lets you climb in controlled motions, similar to the movements you would use on regular stairs. Reduce your speed if you keep sinking to the floor or if you can only support yourself by grasping onto the side rails.

  • Stand upright. Hanging onto the side rails or reading tray strains your neck and shoulders and reduces the number of calories your body burns, warns the American Council on Fitness. Reduce the step speed if you feel unable to maintain your pace without upper body support. Your hands should be completely free, with your spine and neck in alignment not hunched over.

  • Step in a smooth, continuous motion. Correct use of an exercise machine should appear natural and consistent, as though you really were climbing a flight of stairs. Allow your body to settle into a challenging but comfortable exertion rate and avoid rapidly changing your speed. Jarring or halting movements are indicative of improper speed or body position. You should appear to be using the Stairmaster, not the other way around.

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