Proper Stair Climbing Techniques

A stair climber can be an excellent way to build endurance and improve leg strength, but it must be used properly. It is an aerobic workout that does not put stress on the joints. It can be used by people of all ages and fitness levels and is often recommended for rehabilitation after reconstructive knee surgery.

There are two basic types of stair climbers: mechanized and non-mechanized. For the best aerobic workout, a mechanized machine is recommended. A good machine will provide you with specific programs as well as the ability to manually adjust the speed, time, distance and intensity level at any time during your workout.

Here are five important tips on how to use your stair climber correctly for optimum results:
Make sure your entire foot is placed on the pedals. Letting your heels or toes hang over the edges of the pedal is a common mistake. This can put additional pressure on your knees and calf muscles.

Gently hold the handrails, using them for balance only. If you find yourself gripping the handrails and allowing the transfer of weight off of the pedals, your intensity level may need to be lowered.

Stand tall while leaning slightly forward from your hips. Avoid hunching over, this may give you a sore back. By standing erect you will also strengthen your back muscles. Your head should be up and not looking at the floor.

Arms are bent with hands in an overhand position to the front or side of your body. Wrists should be facing down rather than up to protect from injury to the wrists and elbows. Be sure not to support your upper body by propping yourself up on the handrails. Doing so can decrease your workout intensity by as much as 20%.

Use your legs to push the steps downward instead of using your upper body to compensate for your legs. If you find yourself moving side-to-side, you may need to lower the resistance of your steps. Pedals should come close to the bottom and top of the actual step without touching at either point. This will ensure that you are using the large muscles in your legs. Short, quick steps will work the calf muscles instead.

A stair climber can provide you with a good, challenging workout when proper technique is used.

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