Well, well well! I just got done with a smashing workout out there in the park – a workout consisting of mainly STAIR climbs today – a few solid stretches, and of course dips and pull-ups to end it off.
50 pull-ups and 50 dips to be exact, and I feel on top of the world now.
The sun BE a shining here – well, at least in my own mind, if not in the grey and dank skies outside – and on that note, here’s an interesting question I got from a reader a while ago – and which I’ll address NOW.
I’ve been reading a lot and with much interest about your hill workouts in China, and the nature of the climb you described. I don’t have hills here in Florida where I live, but I do have the stairmaster at the gym which I use regularly, and which seems to be giving me results – but not quite the sort I want.
What are your thoughts on the stairmaster? Is it a good alternative to actually climbing steps? If so, why?
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
My response – –
Thanks so much for writing in. My answer to this – in short – will be the SAME as it’s always been for similar questions – the real deal can’t be beat.
In other words, there’s nothing that beats climbing actual stairs and making a workout of it – – and if you have a hill – – a long, steep winding route up a HILL to do it on – so much the better!
Regular readers of the list and perhaps you as well will recall the solid workout that a friend of mine got by climbing the stairs to his 17th floor(probably more in terms of actual height) apartment one day when the elevators were out of order.
And EVERYONE on this list knows the great, great workouts I get out there on the hill – workouts that have been nigh instrumental in getting me in the sort of shape I am in today.
Without further ado, then, there’s nothing that can quite beat the feeling of a NATURAL incline – or a stair climb.
Many years ago, when I didn’t have access to hills, I’d do sprints at max intensity on the treadmill with the gradient elevated to the max degree possible.
These were good, I suppose. I sort of felt it in my thighs and calves later, but were they even 10% as good as sprinting the hill I climb now?
No way – – and results are the proof in the pudding here.
When you’re on a machine, you’re on a machine – no matter how good, and it has its limitations.
One of the things you can’t do on either an treadmill or stairmaster is to change directions – or to climb steep stairs one minute – and then a set of easier ones the next.
Not to mention the sheer impact a natural incline has on your calves and shins – I’ve never quite felt that same impact on a stairmaster or stair stepper, whatever you call them. Although beginners might feel it, you’re far better of doing the real thing.
And let’s fact it. Not everyone has a hill nearby, but we can all find STAIRS nearby!
Subway stair sprints are another great alternative I urge you to consider – that fat will literally be melting off your body the way you DO want it to – – within a few short, intense sessions of doing so.
Last, but certainly not least, the mental aspect of this is very important.
When you’re out there on a steep, steep flight of stairs – lungs bursting, thighs burning, calves screaming – and you’ve still got a few more to go – and the stairs are the “narrow” kind I often kind – well – then – stopping and resting in itself can be a chore when you can barely balance yourself as you walk!
Trust me on this – I should know! You don’t have the luxury of pressing a button to “turn the machine off” – and that to me makes a huge difference as it forces you to keep going no matter what – and ultimately gives you a far better workout.
None of this, of course means that the stair master is utterly useless.
It’s not – and its certainly MILES ahead of some of the other machines at the gym – the lat pulldown being a prime example of the latter – if there EVER was an utterly USELESS machine with NO crossover to the real world – the lat pulldown is it – followed closely by the chest press machine.
Must have taken a genius to design them two, methinks!
So thats the long answer to a somewhat short question – best of luck!
And that, my friend is today’ tip. If you’re doing things – do ’em the natural way.
Trust me, the workout you’ll get from pounding up stairs regularly is way, way different you’ll get on the stairmaster at the gym – and the RESULTS will speak accordingly as well. If you don’t believe me – well – just try BOTH and let me know how you do on the former!
P.S. – I forgot to recommend the 0 Excuses Fitness System to Joe, but I’ll recommend it to YOU, my friend and dear reader. Here is where you can grab a copy of the System that has literally changed LIVES – – https://0excusesfitness.com/0excusesfitnessystem/