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There is no easier way to add extra calorie burn into your day than by taking the stairs rather than the elevator. But extra calorie burn is not the only advantage to stair climbing. The motion of climbing stairs requires the use of several major leg muscles, including your gluteus maximus. Climbing stairs is not the only way in which you can work this muscle, so if you have access to a gym or weights at home, you can add extra resistance to further your gluteus maximus and add variety to your routine.
The gluteus maximus is a muscle commonly referred to as the glutes and it is located on the back of your hip. The gluteus maximus acts on your hip joint, and its main functions are to rotate, extend, adduct, and abduct your leg. In other words, without your gluteus maximus, you wouldn't be able to climb stairs, pivot in basketball, perform the kicking motion required for swimming, or even take steps on level ground.
Muscles Worked in Stair Climbing
The gluteus maximus is an important muscle, but not the only one implicated in stair climbing. Stair climbing also works your hamstrings, which are located on the back of your thigh; your quadriceps, which are located on the front of your thigh; your hip flexors, which run along the outside parts of your thigh; and your calves. Stair climbing can improve the efficiency of your workout, if you substitute this activity for a group of exercises that target these muscles in isolation.
Other Gluteus Maximus Exercises
Many other exercises can strengthen your glutes, enabling you to add some variety to your gluteus maximus training. Performing barbell lunges, deadlifts, dumbbell step-ups, and barbell squats can all help improve the strength of your glutes. If you don't have access to a gym or weights, you can perform lunges, step-ups and squats using just your body weight and can add an extra challenge by performing the moves very slowly.
Whether you're climbing stairs to lose weight or using it as a cardio workout after your weight-training session while trying to gain muscle, understanding how many calories you're burning is important. Performing an hour of stair climbing burns 686 calories if you have a weight of 160 lbs.; heavier individuals will burn more, while lighter people will burn fewer. The amount of calories burned by stair climbing is equal to the amount burned in an hour of running at an 11.5-minute per mile pace.