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Elip vs. Stairmaster..which??

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have been working out regularly(6 days/week) for about 15 yrs? and always thought the stairmaster and of course aerobics (slide in particular) and weight train and the stairmaster did a great job of getting me into ski shape, but I recently switched to the elip machine. It has been great for the cardiovascular benefits but not as much (for me, anyway) in muscle strengthening as the stairmaster. In fact, after returning from Canada a couple of weeks ago, I was sore for two to three days after. Particularly my calves and quads. This is the first time this has happened. I am going to take into account that we skied more powder and bumps this time, but I still can't rule out that the elip just doesn't do it for me to get the strength in my legs that I need? Arrggghh.
I started doing the stairs at work since returning and am going to test my theory in Jackson Hole in March. Does anyone else have any experience with this? Has the subject been posted before?
post #2 of 9


You are one of the few to get a good workout on a stairmaster. Most people cheat with their arms. Therefore the eliptical is better for aerobics, but maybe not as good as the stairs for quads. There is a machine where the stairs move, but real stairs are cheaper.
For me the concept rower (flywheel, not piston type) really gets the flexors and extensors of the leg better, as well as the abs and back
post #3 of 9

What is the "concept rower"??
post #4 of 9
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post

What is the "concept rower"??
Concept 2 Rower

This machine provides a great workout!
post #5 of 9
IMHO, if you want to have a great workout, you should mix it up. these machines dictate your movement and muscle use and no matter which one you choose, you're going to get 'used' to it. So changing it up will be better in the long run. All three of these machines will provide about the same calorie per hour aerobic work out (if you don't cheat). The rower was hard on my back the first time i used it, so my advice is to work into it.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Good and sound advice. Mom. In the winter, it is hard to get outdoors, so I am doing the elip, stairs and aerobics with the weight training every other day.
In the warmer months...cycling, running, a little tennis AND the former four things.
post #7 of 9
For me the Stairmaster has made a big difference in my skiing - enough so that I bought a gym-quality machine (thanks, e-bay). Dude Walker's right, though - it's easy to cheat with your arms and if you do you're defeating the purpose.

I also have a heart-rate monitor - I discovered that even though I thought I was working hard I wasn't getting my heart rate up into the working zone consistently. This has also made a big difference.

I do a tough interval workout twice a week, which the Stairmaster makes easy to do.

I've not been able to achieve the same results with an elliptical machine, although I know there are people out there who swear by them.

I cross-train with resistance, Pilates, and skinning uphill to earn my turns. I think focusing on one thing to the exclusion of others is self-defeating. MTB in the summer is a great complement.
post #8 of 9
After a solid 8 months of elliptical, this is the first ski season where my quads are not burning when skiing steeps and bumps. Not even a bit of pain. All I have done is elliptical with some walking mixed in.

The elliptical machines with the arm attachments are even better, and provide a real good workout. On certain ramp/resistance settings, it feels like skating/XC on skis.

I really like the Concept II rower, in fact that was my main workout machine until last year when I nearly blew my knees landing a ski jump (sat down hard on the back of the skis) and it hurt to retract my knees when rowing. That led to the elliptical, and it seems to have helped my skiing. But no doubt the rower gave me a better overall body workout -- it's one of the best.
post #9 of 9
this is a no brainer for me Prior to this season, i hadn't skied in a number of years because of various health issues, including becoming very overweight. Started hitting the gym 5-6 days a week almost a year ago at my young age of 38 massive cardio on the elliptical, weight training and eating 'clean' lost me about 100lbs, and increased lean muscle mass Ive never had before. When I hit a plateau, I stepped it up even more with doing squats and hitting the Stepmill instead of the elliptical. There is no question comparing the stepmill to the elliptical is like comparing a blue run to a double black. (since stairmaster makes different products, for clarity, im talking about the machine with the moving stairs at different speeds) Most of the serious bodybuilders i converse with, all swear by the stepmill also for the most intense leg and cardio workout you can get combined. Altho, doing squats with a good technique will strengthen *every* muscle from your calves to your lower back.

Anyway, even after the first day returning to skiing in over 10 years, I had absolutely no trace of any soreness or fatigue, which I occasionally used to have even when I *thought* i was in shape many years ago
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