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Increase resistance to create a more difficult workout.
Stair steppers help target your legs and buttocks as a simulated staircase. Gyms or home fitness centers might have electronic or manual models, but both can be effective workout tools, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Some stair steppers have revolving steps that circulate like a treadmill track, while other machines have independent, self-leveling steps. One step sinks as the other step ascends, creating a smooth and natural pace that will help you a build a firm lower body over time.
Climbing stairs can help burn calories and fat, slimming the padding around your hips, butt and thighs, according to MSN Healthy Living. A person who weighs 165 pounds could burn 675 calories for every hour of high-intensity stair climbing. In addition to burning calories, the repetitive action of stepping provides resistance for your butt and leg muscles, which must contract and release in order to climb the next step. Targeting this region for extra strength building will result in a firmer physique.
Tips for Best Use
Stair steppers are often equipped with handlebars for support and balance. While handles can keep you safe when you're climbing, avoid having the machine support the bulk of your weight, as this will detract from your workout, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Stand up straight and step briskly. Depending on the machine type and your own level of fitness, you might also be able to incorporate upper-body workouts by pumping your arms or hoisting small hand weights. Keep your abs tight throughout the workout. If you find yourself leaning forward or gripping the handles excessively, increase the stepper's resistance and you'll be forced to slow down.
Importance of Posture
Keeping a straight spine on the stair stepper helps activate your back and hip extensor muscles, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. When you're stepping, the glutes help transfer force from your legs to your back. Taking short-stride steps without arm support feels more challenging than taking full-stride steps with arm support. It also causes higher levels of metabolic activation in the gluteus maximus, giving you a tougher workout.
Firming Your Glutes, Freestyle
Stair steppers mimic the action of climbing stairs, but if you don't have access to stair steppers at the gym or at home, you can still step to firm your butt. Meet with friends to climb stadium steps, office building steps or staircases in your apartment building, according to USA Today. Stair steppers offer the advantage of climbing up, and not down -- climbing down stairs can place undue stress on the knees. But if you're determined to firm your rear, climbing staircases in your community could be an effective alternative.