Stair Master or Cross Trainer?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Trackchamp, Jul 15, 2009.

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  1. Looking for some sensible opinions regarding the 2 above, please.

    Which is most likely to give a better work out, I have never used machines other than treadmills, and need to do some lighter training, not running to give my knees a break, from the pounding.

    So basically which is most likely to give the same kind of workout from your own experiences.

  2. Neither, but the cross trainer will save your knees whilst the stair master would potentially be worse than the treadmill. Personally I only use either cycling or running for cardio work so I can't really comment on how hard each is, but I do know several ultra-fit norwegians who use the cross trainer more than anything else.
  3. Use the cross trainer. Stair masters are pump IMO, I was on one the other day in the gym, and the workout wasn't as hard when compared to the cross trainer.

    I still prefer a treadmill over either of them though.
  4. Having tried repeatedly I absolutely cannot make a cross-trainer work. I just don't see a way of getting the force down given the movement it makes you follow. It's like trying to work your heart and lungs by scraping the world's hardest dogshit off the sole of your shoe.

    A stair master (for me) is the kit, and my knees are buggered. The closest I've come to my absolute physical limit recently was on some "Giant Steps" or "Famous Steps" program - climb the Empire State building and so on. Whichever is the highest one - can't remember - I did it in about 17:40 and was literally reeling about, saturated in sweat, with no impact on the knees at all. The green light "Precor" stepper is similar - 20 minute interval, four floors a minute recovery thirteen floors a minute work, hands forward and weight back, and I'm cardiovascularly jiggered, my legs are in bits, but me knees are fine.

    I think if impact is the problem I'd go with the stepper. If range of movement is the problem you might want to go with the cross trainer.

    Right now I'm going to run some real steps - twenty little efforts up 60 steps. It's surprising how little impact there is. Running on the flat is much worse.
  5. From personal experience, I either run, row or for long distance stuff use the eliptical if I'm giving the knees a break.

    From exclusive eliptical use, I got my 1.5 mile down to 8 min 31 (at 86kg and not doing any running for about 7 months prior, that's not too shabby).

    I would suggest though, get a HR monitor.
  6. Don't use the erg. You're more likely to injure your back through incorrect technique than anything else. Besides, its not nearly as effective as running for cardio.
  7. Erg being the rower?
  8. Yes.

  9. Thought so

    I haven't touched wood had a lower back issue with the concept 2, then again I have been known to GM 120kg for about 8 reps.

    Doing 500m sprint repeats on the thing has a different effect then run sprinting for myself.
  10. If you have correct technique then you can probably avoid it. Its good exercise for sure.
  11. The thing I like about the Stairmaster is the step count and (especially) the percentage completed. For a twenty minute all-out effort it ticks over 1% every twelve seconds, if you start aggresively it takes 6 minutes before you're in a really bad way, by which point 30% is complete and you are thinking, "31%, not long, not long, hang in, 32, nearly a third, don't jack, hack it 33.." When a big visual proof of progress is only twelve seconds away you can put yourself through hell.

    The big problem with the Stairmaster, though, is that to get your heartrate high and to do your best effort you have to start much harder than seems comfortable and suffer agony in the quads until your legs go dead and stop hurting. It seems a lot like climbing a big hill seated on a bike, you need to commit to it in the knowledge that the local pain in the legs will ease off. They took the red light Stairmaster out of our gym, but before they did they had a challenge board with a pen - note your best effort. An awful lot of fairly young and presumably reasonably fit blokes were posting really pants scores. Of the (I think) twenty levels of difficulty, by trial and error I found out I could do (I think) 16 or 17 for the biggest climb without cheating, but it felt like the kind of effort that you would make for a minute or two. I think that's why steppers are under-used in gyms; the level of resistance you would naturally select is a lot less than what you can do.

    The other machine alternative for dodgy knees is "King of the Mountains" on the indoor bike - set it up for twenty minutes and spin a very low resistance for a minute and then dramatically increase the resistance and get out of the saddle for a minute, climbing on nearly straight legs and moving your weight. I look a bit of a dick doing this, but I think it works ok, although there is a fair amount of experimentation involved in working out just what you can do.
  12. Cheers for the advice chaps

    I did 40 mins on the cross trainer using a hill programme levels 10 upto 18, god its boring, but i was sweating like a mad man and my legs new they had done a bit this morning.

    Need to keep a level of fitness without smashing the knees as i am attempting P Coy on the 5th August and this niggle in the knee couldnt have come at a worse time.

    Thanks again
  13. Dosen't really answer the question asked, but, personally i think you can't beat going out for a run. It isn't boring like using a machine for long periods of time.
  14. ^^^^
    Especially if you run through woodland.

    Yeah, I'd rest that knee as I've heard (having not done) P coy has a lot of running 8O .

    Honestly I would also suggest a HR monitor so you know where you're at.
  15. Hear Rate Monitor

    I saw this a few weeks after spending £50 on a Polar HRM. This one has more features, and at £20 is surely good value for money.

    Try one of the giant Tesco's to see one in the shop.