The StairMaster Gauntlet Review
The StairMaster Gauntlet is easily the best and most well-known stair-climbing machine to come out of the hugely popular exercise machine brand. The first StairMaster Gauntlet hit the gyms a little over 30 years ago in 1988 where it instantly made its mark in fitness centers. While the Gauntlet became a fixture in most gyms, it was regarded by most as just an alternative cardio machine to ellipticals, stationary bikes and the perennial cardio favorite, the treadmill. That is of course until recently where interest in stair-climbers quickly started to gain ground on other gym cardio machines.
Ecofit, a company that tracks gym equipment usage via a wireless network, released a very revealing data that shows StairMaster StepMill exercise machines have become the most preferred cardio equipment next only to the treadmill. Part of the reason for this resurgence may be attributed to the latest iteration of the StairMaster Gauntlet, which is the Gauntlet 8G. This recent Gauntlet model integrated new technologies and programs into the exercise unit, while maintaining its core architecture. This discussion will take a closer look at the StairMaster Gauntlet 8G and see what makes it a new gym favorite among fitness buffs.
The StairMaster Gauntlet Overview
When you step into a gym, it will be hard to miss a StairMaster Gauntlet 8G, especially if you see a row of them. Measuring 58 inches long, 34 inches wide and 89 inches tall, these stair-climbing machine’s imposing profile hasn’t changed much in more than 30 years. It is easy to spot users who are on a Gauntlet 8G as they are literally heads and shoulders above everyone else in the gym while they continue to ascend the seemingly endless flight of stairs. Since its users are elevated about a foot or so off the ground, the 8G requires 10 feet of ceiling clearance for the safety of its users.
The StairMaster Gauntlet 8G has 8 revolving steps with three that are always active. Each step measures 8 inches high, 9 inches deep and 22 inches wide, which replicates almost perfectly the experience of exercising on real stairs. The steps have speeds from a leisurely 26 steps per minute to a highly intense 162 steps per minute. StairMaster Gauntlet G8 redesigned the handrail from the first Gauntlet by eliminating the angles and replacing it with a curved design for an ergonomic and flowing look. The handrails also switched from tubular to broad oval for a more comfortable grip and in tune with the overall ergonomics of the G8. Along the upper part of the handrails are active “hot bar” hand grips for remote stop, level adjustments and contact pulse rate monitor.
Even the subtle changes that come with the design of the new StairMaster Gauntlet G8 all contribute to a better overall workout experience. On the side of the bottom stairs are step-up assistants that make mounting easier for users. The step-up assistants also serve as emergency platforms to help users dismount safely anytime even while the steps are revolving. Also integrated on the console are a service light and a personal fan, which can be a lifesaver on warmer days. Two oversized bottle holders are located just on the side of the console lets you hydrate while in the middle of your workout session without needing to dismount to retrieve your workout hydrating drinks.
Key Features of the StairMaster Gauntlet
The most important upgrade to the StairMaster Gauntlet 8G is the integration of the OpenHub consoles that takes this classic stair-climbing machine into the future. These 10-inch or 15-inch capacitive consoles allow users to interface with the machine in many ways. It comes with a standard Global TV tuner that lets users watch their favorite shows while working out. OpenHub consoles also give users the ability to connect their devices to the machine via Bluetooth for workout data tracking. Users also have the option of streaming videos from their device to the console via an HDMI cable. Even without hooking up their devices to the consoles, users can still enjoy multimedia assisted workout with RunTV, which gives OpenHub consoles access to curated fitness videos, motivational videos, environments and feature films.
Networked OpenHub consoles allow users to access various web-based apps including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, NBA, ESPN, CNN and the BBC. It comes pre-wired for ECOFIT asset management solution that provides gym owners with valuable equipment usage data. Exclusive to the OpenHub StairMaster consoles is the 20 HIIT program designed by super athlete and trainer, Sonja Friend-Uhl. Apart from the HIIT training, it also comes with other workout programs to suit various levels of athletic proficiencies, fitness tests and competition programs from Fitmetrix, wahoo Fitness and MyZone.
It should be noted that the OpenHub console is an optional upgrade, but it is one that will undoubtedly help fitness centers bring in more members. The basic console that comes with the StairMaster Gauntlet G8 is a standard LCD display that still allows users to connect to it for workout data tracking. Several workout program options are also available with a basic LCD console including Quick Start, Manual, Fat Burner, Mystery Challenge and Heart Rate Zone Trainer.
The standard CPAT fitness test designed for firefighters comes bundled with the StairMaster Gauntlet 8G standard console. The CPAT test measures both stamina and muscle strength through a multi-level workout intensity. Even if you are not the techie type, the standard LCD display has a very intuitive display that lets you track your progress during the workout session.
There were also major improvements in the Gauntlet’s motor, which now makes for a considerably quieter and smoother operation compared to the earlier Gauntlet version. Interfacing the alternator, drive chain and brake with a newer console give users better and more precise control of the stair speed, allowing them to workout comfortably within their level of proficiency. Look to our Nautilus Stairmaster article to see the two brands compared to one another and see various other benefits of the stairmaster gauntlet.
Benefits of Working Out On a StairMaster Gauntlet
Part of the reason for the resurgence of the Gauntlet as a gym favorite may be attributed to a number of studies that show how it can help improve stamina and strengthen the muscles better than the regular treadmill. Some trainers have taken note of these studies and have incorporated Gauntlet workouts into the training regimen of their clients. So what exactly do the studies show? The following are the main benefits of working out on a stair-climbing machine.
StairMaster Cardio Workouts
StairMaster Gauntlet replicates exercising on a flight of stairs. One of the major advantages of working out on the Gauntlet is that users can adjust the setting to make each easier on the knees. This allows users to focus more on improving their endurance without worrying too much about injuries.
Unlike a more straightforward running action on a treadmill, the climbing motion on StairMaster Gauntlet hits more muscle groups, thus making for a more intensive aerobic conditioning. Some studies also show that working out on stair-climbing machines provide quicker gains in shorter workout sessions compared to running on a treadmill
Muscle and Strength Conditioning
The best StairMaster machines hit more muscle groups than the standard treadmill. Since you are maintaining your balance throughout your workout session, your core muscles will also be working the entire time. Strong core muscles improves posture and reduces the risks of back pain and injuries.
Workouts on a StairMaster Gauntlet also hit the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves better compared to treadmills. Stronger quads, hamstring and calves are an advantage for host of athletic disciplines, which makes the StairMaster Gauntlet a workout staple among professional athletes. Aside from also improving physical performance, stronger and firmer glutes on the other hand, give users a boost of confidence as clothes will fit and look better.
Any form of workout improves bone density, thereby making it stronger. Since StairMaster Gauntlet workout focuses on the lower body, you are also improving the bone strength on the most often used extremities on the body.
Improved stamina and endurance, coupled with stronger muscles combine to make one more efficient at burning calories. Even short 30-minute workouts on the StairMaster Gauntlet can help you burn up to 260 calories or more. The heavier you weigh and the more intense your exercise, the more calories you burn. Gauntlet workouts, will therefore be a good addition to a sound weight-loss program. If you want more information on what kind of workouts you should do on the StairMaster Gauntlet then look here at our StairMaster HIIT workout article.
Working out on stair-climbing machines, as mentioned earlier, strengthens the bones and muscles in the lower body. The ability of users and trainers to precisely control the level of intensity on the StairMaster Gauntlet, the workouts may be used effectively for pain management. For instance, those suffering from knee-joint pain will benefit from stronger leg muscles, which you can easily acquire with regular and consistent StairMaster Gauntlet workouts. The StairMaster Gauntlet G8 and other stair-climbing machines are being used effectively by medical professionals to treat patients for pain and for physical rehabilitation and therapy.
A StairMaster Gauntlet G8 costs upwards of $7,000. While this may appear like a considerable investment for fitness centers and for light-commercial gyms, it is still more affordable compared to commercial-use treadmills. StairMaster Gauntlet G8 machines also offer an attractive cardio workout alternative to the treadmill, making it a good addition to an establishment’s existing cardio equipment. Since survey shows that the StairMaster Gauntlet has consistently been increasing in popularity in terms of equipment usage, a row of Gauntlets may just be the edge that fitness centers need to pull ahead of their competition.
The StairMaster is good for toning your lower body such as your hamstrings, glutes, and quads, and for burning calories effectively. The StairMaster goes above and beyond other cardio machines by building lean muscle mass, while also still being an effective calorie burner like other cardio machines.
The StairMaster can cost anywhere from $1,000 up to $7,000 depending on which machine you get and if it is new or used. The StairMaster Gauntlet 8 series is one of my more expensive machines provided by StairMaster and can cost up to $7,000, however it is one of the best machines offered on the market.
The best stepper machine depends on what you are personally looking for when it comes to your personal workouts. Some people want a more challenging workout and others want a more low impact to get their heart racing. To decide between stepper machines you should look to the length of the revolving steps, the speed variations, and workout programs to decide how challenging the stepper machine can be. The best kind of stepper machine to get is the most accessible one so you can adjust your workout to how you are feeling each day.
The company StairMaster makes StairMaster gym equipment such as revolving stepper machines for cardio fanatics. Many people call the revolving stairmaster stepmill machines StairMasters, however, StairMaster is their own company and makes other cardio machines. You can also look at our stepmill vs stairmaster machine article to see our top recommended stepper machine.