The Secret of a Better Workout
Stand up straight. Check out the stair-climbing section in any gym and you'll see at least a few people hunched over their machines, gripping the side rails for dear life or reading a book. This posture strains the shoulders even as it makes the exercise easier. To get the most from your climb time, stand up straight with your hands at your sides or resting lightly on the rails for balance only. If this posture is new to you, you almost certainly will have to lower your usual speed or resistance. But as David Harris, the national training director of Equinox Fitness Clubs, points out, "you will actually burn more calories, because your heart and the rest of your body now have to work harder."
Also remember to...Vary your stride and your resistance. Short, quick steps with lighter resistance help you go faster, but it pays to spend some time taking longer, slower ones with higher resistance, too. "Going short and quick all the time can put stress on your knees," says Eddie Carrington, a trainer at Bally Total Fitness in New York City. "Mixing it up will help keep your workout interesting, work more muscle groups, and preserve your knees."