Endlessly climbing stairs. Sounds like some awful form of punishment, right? Strangely enough I missed the stairs (the stair mill) more than I have missed running when I hurt my ankle. For some sick reason I love the challenge that comes from putting in a good session on the stairs. I sweat like a fool, and it keeps my legs in shape. It's killer. I've managed to get myself back on the stairs and although it was pretty painful at first, I actually think it's helping rehabilitate the torn tendons.
One of my favorite things to do on the stairs is intervals. The program goes as follows...
5 min warm up (Level 8-10)
2 min level 12 (moderate intensity)
2 min level 15-17 (high intensity)
1 min level 8 (low intensity)
*repeat this as many times as you can, i usually try to do 5 min warm up, 50 minute interval set, 5 min cool down
You'll be surprised at how quickly the time passes when you are doing intervals. You will burn a TON of calories, and you'll be sweating like crazy. If these interval levels are too high you can take the whole thing down and work up to it. (Example: 2 min level 6, 2 min level 9-11, 2 min level 2 etc.) Your high intensity set should feel like you could probably go a tiny bit faster, but you don't want to kill yourself because you want to be able to complete the whole workout. One mistake that people often make with the stair climber is they crank up the speed and then proceed to lay their entire body weight on the machine...not the point. It would be better for you to take the speed down and not hang on with all your might. This will force you to build up stamina, engage your core, and burn more calories. You don't burn calories from lying on top of the equipment...weird I know.
A lot of people are afraid of the machine, but don't be. It is large, yes, but it's not that intimidating once you get up there. Just start slow. You'll get the hang of it. I just crank up my jams and watch the funny things my fellow gym goers do. (Due to the fact that the stairs are like a perch, it is a prime location for one of my favorite activities; people watching.) Now if my gym could just get one of those stair mills like on The Biggest Loser Ranch, that requires you to climb with your hands too...