HISTORY OF STAIRMASTER
Since introduced to the fitness industry in 1983, the StairMaster, a brand of Nautilus, Inc., has become one of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment at both gyms and homes. The simulation of walking up a flight of stairs to burn excess calories is the appeal of this equipment. Although the general population has adopted the name StairMaster as a generic term to represent all exercise steppers, the StairMaster is a brand with an expanded line of equipment with slightly different applications. The exercise equipment line includes the revolving staircase (the StepMill), the stepper (the StairClimber) and the pull-up machine (the Gravitron). The StairMaster is a leader in cardio and lower body exercise providing an efficient workout to enhance overall health and fitness.
The StairMaster, invented by Lanny Potts, was first introduced by Tri-Tech, Inc., at the National Sporting Goods Association in 1983. The StairMaster 5000 model, a revolving staircase, was the first StairMaster machine to be featured. In 1984 and 1985 the StairMaster 5000 was replaced with newer models to include a workout display, printout and heart rate monitor. In 1986, the StairMaster 4000 PT debuted at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association conference. The 4000 PT model, a stair-stepper, became more popular than the revolving staircase and shaped the stair-stepper business. The StairMaster Gravitron launched in 1987. This assisted chin-up and dip machine provides the same effects of an individual doing pull-ups and tricep dips in Outer Space without gravity. The Gauntlet, now the modern StepMill, launched in 1989. This exercise machine simulates walking up a downward-moving escalator. During the late 1980s Tri-Tech, Inc., changed the name of the company to StairMaster Exercise Systems. In 2002, Nautilus, Inc. acquired StairMaster Exercise Systems and uses StairMaster as one of their brand exercise machines.
The featured cardio models of StairMaster are the StepMill and the StairClimber. Both machines simulate walking up stairs, but the applications of the stairs move differently. Requiring a minimum ten-foot ceiling, the StepMill features a revolving staircase much like a down-ward moving escalator with 8-inch high steps. The staircase revolves at speeds varying from 24 to 162 steps per minute. The StairClimber features independent pedals that move requiring the exerciser to keep up with the stepping cadence. Speeds range from 26 to 174 steps per minute. Both models feature a water bottle holder, reading rack, accessory tray, LCD console, TV compatibility components, ergonomically designed handrails, heart rate monitors, and fitness programs including manual, fat burner, calorie burner, speed intervals, heart rate zone trainer and random intensity.
BENEFITS OF CLIMBING
The lower body most benefits in strength gain from stairstepping. The Stepmill has adjustable speed and resistance. Using it requires simple balance, but significant strength. Calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteal muscles are trained by lots of repetitions, which is known for building lean muscle and burning fat. Additionally, increasing the resistance of each stepping motion adds challenge. Core muscles are engaged by keeping your balance, which is more challenging on the Stepmill than other similar equipment. The Stepmill is great for cardiovascular exercise due to its ability to raise your heart rate almost immediately. The level you set dictates workout intensity, but even at the lowest levels the heart is definitely getting a workout. The Stepmill makes the user work hard without being hard on the user. The stepping motion incurs less impact than a treadmill, but with higher cardiovascular results. The thoughtfully designed handrails provide a safe grip should a misstep occur, but don't allow you to cheat by leaning on them. The actual stepping motion forces the foot to remain mostly flat while climbing, versus the pedal format, which does not require the foot to leave the pedal. The stepping motion uses nearly every leg muscle.