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Treadmill vs. Stairmaster

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Authored by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise 
Published on 09-07-2009

Do you love endurance training, but hate everything else? If so, keep reading. With all of these shiny new cardio machines hitting our gyms nowadays, it can be hard to figure out which ones really offer the greatest benefit. Some of these machines are awkward and don’t make much sense, but some are very practical and transfer fairly well to daily life. Two of the most practical machines you may use in the gym setting are the treadmill and stairmaster. Both present great value as far as indoor cardiovascular activity is concerned, but is one more effective than the other?

Debates exactly like this are seen quite often in the fitness industry. Arguments pop up on a daily basis in regards to the effectiveness of one machines versus another and efficiency of one supplement versus another. These types of debates are pretty common these days. Somewhere in this broad spectrum of controversy, the treadmill vs. stairmaster issue is raised. Is one of these cardiovascular implements really better at burning fat and keeping your heart healthy than the other?

Luckily, the answer is pretty straightforward. It might be boring, but it’s definitely straightforward. Both treadmills and stairmasters are crucial to those running an entirely indoor cardiovascular routine. Although there are a few other helpful machines, these two in particular transfer extremely well to the activities performed each and every day of our lives. You walk at least somewhere every day, so the treadmill comes in. As far as the stairmaster, the majority of people do some sort of step-climbing most days. As far as the two machines compared to each other in terms of calories burned, the results will be fairly close. The stairmaster does require a little more effort in terms of leg movement than the treadmill, but the faster rate of exercise performance on the treadmill makes up for that loss.

Due to the above factors, the treadmill vs. stairmaster debate is a pointless one. Both movements burn close to the same amount of calories due to the similarity of the movements. The stairmaster is likely going to be more difficult on most of the population because of the higher leg strength demand. Since that whole debate was probably a pretty big let-down, let’s run through a couple of tips relating to overall cardiovascular performance.

  • Be sure to vary your exercise. Don’t spend all of your time on the treadmill or the stairmaster. Both of these machines are a great help when it comes to heart health and fat loss, but your body will adapt over time. Switch between these two implements to help prevent stagnation.
  • Progress is key. Be sure not to hit the treadmill every single day, running exactly 27 minutes each day. As stated above, your body will soon adapt to this and a plateau will likely arise. Tweak intensity, frequency, and volume in order to avoid a quick adaptation that will shut your gains down. Although you may alter all three of these variables at once, it is often a better choice to focus on one at a time.

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