There is no denying that stair climbing is one of the best cardio exercises to burn fat, target the lower body and improve cardiovascular fitness. The Stepmill or “Gauntlet” as many lovingly call it, is a staple form of cardio for figure and fitness competitors. While simply surviving a turn on it is a success in itself, we wanted to take it one step further and give you a great interval workout to do on your own, along with some tips and tricks on how to get on (and stay on!) the StepMonster :)
One of the cool things about exercising on the Stepmill is that you can incorporate short, single stepping as well as longer, double stepping. Double-stepping forces the body to become efficient in balance and coordination, and it also allows you to step for longer at higher levels. For example, using single-stepping only, many cannot sustain levels beyond 16 or 17 for very long, while double-stepping (alternating with single-stepping) allows one to maintain Level 20 (highest) for up to 1 minute or even longer for some super-fit exercisers. Double-stepping also extends the stride length so that the step mimics the movement of a lunge somewhat and targets the glute-hamstring tie in more effectively. In general, single-stepping focuses more on the calves and quads, while double-stepping recruits more hamstrings and glutes.
For beginners, stick to single-stepping at low levels until you become more proficient at stepping, and then slowing incorporate double stepping at you scale the Levels to 15, 16, 17, etc. Here is a short video of Tara showing us how to get on, start it up and double-step at a higher intensity:
Once you master double-stepping, you can use both techniques interchangeably to get an incredible workout every time. In order to do intense intervals on your own, like the workout below, you must monitor your own exertion and adjust the levels as needed. As a general rule, choose a level for your “pushing” interval so that by the end of that interval you are breathless and legs/glutes are burning. Then bring the level all the way down and rest/recover as needed.
Below is an example of one of our favorite High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts for the Stepmill. Remember, adjust the levels to your personal/ideal exertion–it’s not going to be the same for everyone…and don’t get discouraged if you can’t do this workout as it is written–it is good to have a goal to work toward AND remember, this is an ADVANCED workout! Beware: results inevitable! Tell us how you like it! :)