After receiving a number of emails asking about the StairMaster I referred to in my article entitled, “What are the StairMaster Benefits?”, I decided to write this review of the StairMaster Gauntlet, which is also known as the StepMill. This is the model my aunt has. Having used it for four weeks while staying at her house, I can’t say enough good things about it.
Capable of providing a very challenging workout, its vast range of features makes it fun to use. The thing I loved most about it was that it kept my weight in check during my Hawaiian vacation, in spite of overindulging in Loco Moco, Pu Pus, and Pina Coladas.
In this article, we will look at the specs and key features of the StairMaster Gauntlet StepMill. We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of StepMills, in general.
NB This particular model is no longer available on Amazon. You may like to take a look at the newer StairMaster Gauntlet Series 8, but be warned it’s very expensive. A compact and far less expensive alternative which has excellent feedback is the Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster. (Click the previous link to read a review.) It doesn’t have the StairMaster Gauntlet’s programs, but it delivers an excellent workout, it will fit into the smallest of spaces, and it can support a weight of up to 400 pounds.
Why the StairMaster Gauntlet is an Excellent Workout Option
All of the great things you’ve heard about the StepMill are true, and this particular model has some very cool extras that make it easy to stay motivated and make workouts more enjoyable.
Delivering the perfect combination of cardio, strength training, and calorie burning in the one efficient workout, climbing on a StepMill such as the StairMaster Gauntlet, mimics ascending a staircase without descending it. With this movement being in an upwards and backward direction, the StepMill strengthens, sculpts, and tones the entire lower body.
It’s well-documented that workouts with a focus on the lower body burn a lot of calories. From my experience, this is definitely the case. A bonus with the StairMaster is that it also works the core.
Two downsides of the StairMaster Gauntlet StepMill are that you will need a fair bit of space to house it and it’s quite pricey. However, its vast range of features makes it fun to use, so if you have the room and it’s within your budget, you really can’t go wrong with this model. It will take care of all of your fitness needs now and for many years to come, and I’m quite confident you will enjoy using it and love the results it brings.
Following is an overview of the machine’s features, benefits, and drawbacks.
Who is the StairMaster Gauntlet For?
Anyone can use this machine, which has adjustable speed and resistance so you can customize it to your personal comfort and fitness level.
If you haven’t exercised before or not for a while and you want to get into shape quickly, you will be able to do so with the StairMaster Gauntlet. You can start with a pace as slow as 26 steps a minute, increasing your speed as your fitness improves. If you’re a fitness enthusiast, with an upper step rate capability of 162 steps a minute, this machine will have you covered.
The Stairmaster Gauntlet in Action
Is a StairMaster Better than the Gym or Jogging?
Exercise is essential if you want to have a toned body and the fitness and good health that comes with this. When we’re single and free of major responsibilities, we can usually find the time to exercise, and we have the freedom to jog, participate in sport, or go to the gym.
Fast forward a few years, and many of us have careers and a growing family. This can leave little spare time and getting out of the house to exercise can become virtually impossible. When this is the case, investing in home fitness equipment that gives maximum results in minimal time is an excellent option.
Without a doubt, one of the most efficient and effective pieces of fitness equipment I have used is the StairMaster Gauntlet StepMill. Created by a legendary name in the commercial and home fitness market and the originator of step climbing fitness machines, the StairMaster brand has over 30 years of experience, proven performance and excellent customer service. This means you can purchase with confidence knowing you will be getting a high-quality product that will last for many, many years.
What Muscles does the StairMaster Gauntlet Target?
Along with working the core, the StairMaster is excellent for targeting muscle groups that can be arduous to sculpt, these being the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
The StairMaster Gauntlet not only directly targets these muscles, it is capable of doing so up to 162 times a minute. And, unlike some workouts, the StairMaster builds lean muscle, which is what most of us women want.
Can’t I just Use the Stairs?
Stair climbing is good exercise. When you ascend a flight of stairs, you have to lift your entire weight to get to the next step. This movement burns calories, and it forces your body to achieve a certain balance, so you don’t fall over. In the process, your core, thighs, butt and calf muscles are toned and strengthened.
The problem is that when climbing a real set of stairs, you need to come back down them. Descending stairs puts stress on the knee joints because it entails going against the force of gravity. This creates the potential for injury, especially if you want to stair climb for exercise and spend twenty minutes or more going up and down.
The Stairmaster Gauntlet StepMill was created with this consideration in mind, ensuring it delivers a low-impact and efficient workout that is safe on the joints. And, when used at the higher resistance levels, the workout you get will be the equivalent of running up stairs, not walking up them.
Using a StairMaster is far more enjoyable than using the stairs for an extended period, too. Having tried the latter, I can honestly say those twenty minutes were some of the longest and most boring minutes of exercise I’ve ever endured. With its variety of features and onboard entertainment, time seems to pass quickly when using the StairMaster Gauntlet. This makes it a lot easier to stick with a workout schedule.
StairMaster Gauntlet Specs
Dimensions – The StairMaster Gauntlet StepMill measures is 58″ (L) x 34″ (W) x 89″ (H).
Space requirements – To use this model, it will need to be housed in a room with a ceiling height of at least 8 1/2 feet to 9 feet.
Weight – It weighs 328lbs.
User weight – This model can accommodate users of up to 350 pounds.
StairMaster Gauntlet Key Features
In this section, we will look at some of the machine’s many features.
The functions of the StairMaster Gauntlet are very easy to activate. Selecting your desired program, speed or intensity level, is as easy as pressing a button or touching the screen.
The owner manual that comes with the StepMill explains everything clearly. You will also be given access to online support and a toll-free phone number, which you can call should you get stuck and need one-on-one advice.
The StairMaster Gauntlet uses a highly durable and rust-free polypropylene construction that has the appearance and performance of an industrial machine. Ergonomically designed handrails and an optimally positioned monitor allow you to maintain good posture when viewing your stats.
The StairMaster Gauntlet features a revolving staircase with eight steps. These are 8″ high, 9″ deep and 22″ wide. That’s approximately the same as a regular set of stairs, so your workout will feel comfortable from the start.
The steps can be programmed to rotate anywhere between 26 and 162 times per minute, to cater to exercisers of any level. It also allows you to progress to a more challenging workout as your fitness improves.
There are 9 resistance levels, ranging from easy to moderate, to intense and more. To further increase the challenge, you can ascend two steps at a time.
Workout profile options include Manual, Fat Burner, Calorie Burning and Intervals. There’s also Bell Shaped (the intensity increases during the first half of the workout, then decreases during the second half), Build (the intensity steadily increases throughout your session), Mystery Challenge and Steady. Other options include Time Goal, Calorie Goal, and Floor Goal.
Available fitness tests include the Multi-stage Fit Test, the CPAT Fire Fit Test, and the WFI StepMill Test.
Landmark Challenge Program
This particular feature enables users to choose pre-set programs that simulate climbing famous landmarks. These include the Taj Mahal, the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, the Great Pyramid and the Eiffel Tower, among others.
This state-of-the-art model comes with a choice of three consoles. These include an easy-to-read backlit dual window display, a 10″ touchscreen with integrated iPod capability and a TV tuner.
Range of stats
Stats displayed include Heart Rate, Calories Burned, Floors per Minute, Level (1 to 20), Floors Climbed, Watts and Mets (the higher the number, the harder you are working).
Step-Up Assist enables easier mounting and dismounting. This is a convenient feature for anyone, and most especially people with mobility issues.
Heart Rate Program
The machine comes with the option of using contact heart rate monitoring or a chest strap.
The StairMaster Gauntlet arrives partially assembled. Included are easy to understand instructions for completing the assembly, along with the tools you will need. The parts are heavy, so having a second person help you will make the job easier.
- Transport Wheels
Transport wheels make it easy to relocate the machine if required.
Accessories include two large, conveniently positioned water bottle holders and a reading rack. There’s also an accessory tray for storing small items you may want access to during workouts.
The StairMaster Gauntlet comes with a 15-year warranty for its frame. The parts warranty is 3 years, and there’s a 1-year labor warranty.
Benefits of the StairMaster Gauntlet at a Glance
• Low-impact workout that’s easy on the joints, making it suitable for all
• Efficient and very effective
• Adjustable speed and resistance caters for the new to the advanced athlete
• Dual-action of cardio and strength training
• Increases core muscle strength
• Tones and sculpts the lower body, including the glutes, hamstrings, calves and quadriceps
• Takes less time to see results than with many other fitness machines
• Capable of burning more calories than many other forms of exercise
• A wide range of programs and features help you achieve your fitness goals while keeping you motivated and entertained.
Drawbacks of the StairMaster Gauntlet
• Considerably more expensive to purchase than most other exercise machines
• Being large and heavy, you will need a dedicated workout space to house the machine
• This machine is for people who are serious about getting into shape. If you want to exercise lightly, without sweating, this is not the machine for you
Final Thoughts on the StairMaster Gauntlet
The StairMaster Gauntlet StepMill will enable you to get fit quickly or take your athleticism to new heights. Using the science behind real stair climbing, it provides all of its benefits without you having to climb an actual set of stairs and risk the stress doing so can place on your joints as you descend.
Delivering a highly effective workout, with a StepMill you will be able to build lean muscle on your lower body and core, lose weight, decrease body fat all over and become very fit. And, you will be able to do this in less time than it would take using many other exercise machines.
Though there’s no denying it’s expensive, in my opinion, its quality, longevity, range of programs and features and the health and fitness benefits it provides, makes it worth the extra money. If I had the room for one in my apartment, I’d buy a StepMill in a heart beat.
Not sure if the StairMaster is for you? Click this link to find out more about the StairMaster benefits.