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Equipment Outfitting a serious gym. Vendors & suppliers. Devices & equipment

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Old 10-25-2006, 08:01 PM   #1
Don King
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I have never seen anything in Crossfit that incorporated a Stairmaster type machine into a WOD. I have used these type machines in the past with great results, expecially if you don't hold onto the railings the intensity level can get serious. Is there any official Crossfit view on stairsteppers?
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Old 10-25-2006, 09:57 PM   #2
Josh Brehm
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I think for the most part, stairmasters aren't useful to crossfitters cause from what I've seen the majority of us workout in our garages, and spending a thousand dollars for a stairmaster isn't logical or realistic. Running/sprinting will get you into better shape than a stairmaster will, no doubts.

It would be kinda interesting to see how a crossfitter would do on a stairmaster with a rucksack or a 20-40lb weight vest on. Who wants to bet how long it'll take before they're told not to do that anymore?
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:11 PM   #3
Travis Loest
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Don,
I have to ask where did you get that avatar? That has got to be the funniest I've seen in a long time.c
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:59 AM   #4
Keith Wittenstein
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I think CrossFit eschews machines that don't allow for a full range of motion and that do not allow for movement of the center of gravity.

The stairsteppers generally do not require a full range of motion in the legs and do not actually require the person's center of gravity move.

Compare that to a C2 rower where the legs and hips go thru a large range of motion and the center of gravity travels significantly. Furthermore, the C2 requires movement of a foreign object (the handle). Thus the C2 requires and promotes flexibility, coordination and strength.

The stairmaster simply requires that your heart beat.
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Old 10-26-2006, 05:57 AM   #5
Brian Mansfield
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Don, best avatar ever. Keith, you are a close runner up.

I have a stepper, (and just recently sold my elliptical), that I use for a sub for running ocassionaly. Knees are getting older than the rest of me.
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Old 10-26-2006, 06:58 AM   #6
Matthew Nielsen
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The stairmill type stairmasters will mess you up!
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Old 10-26-2006, 07:57 PM   #7
Don King
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Keith -

You are correct that most home gyms will not include a $1,000+ stairstepper. My point is that most fitness centers, including the one I belong to, have several of these machines but no rowing machine.

If a stairstepper is used without the aid of the handles, it very much requires the use of your arms for balance(upper body), coordination and strength. Using a C2 rower is not exactly like real rowing in that the oars on a real boat are independent, therefore requiring more coordination.

It seems that the point of any exercise would be to raise your resting heart rate. Climbing stairs is a functional movement and from an evolutionary point very useful for climbing a hill.

Keeping with the xfit philosophy of a diversified fitness program, it seems to me a stairstepper would be a good addition to any xfit type gym.

If I had to pick I would go with the C2 myself.

Thanks for everyone’s feedback.

P.S. The avatar seemed fitting since I'm a network geek during the day. I got it off of Myspace.
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:05 AM   #8
Keith Wittenstein
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Don

I didn't mention price as a concern (although it certainly is one). That was Josh. I pointed to the fact that Stairmasters do not require a full range of motion and do not allow for actual movement/displacement of the center of gravity.

If you look around this site, you might notice that we never concern ourselves with raising our heartrates. The point of any exercise is not to raise your heartrate. Raising your heartrate is the inevitable result of exercise, but that is certainly not the point. If that were the point, this would be called Curves.

There is a CrossFit saying that "The Magic is in the Movements." The exercises that are repeated ad nauseam on this website are functional in that they are natural movements that use universal motor recruitment patterns and utilize core to extremity activation.

Although, I agree stair climbing is functional and a very useful skill, the machine version differs from the real version in one significant way: the center of gravity doesn't move. It is the same as doing lat pulldowns instead of real pullups. Although, at first glance they look interchangeable, moving your own a$$ provides a stimulus that isn't easily replicated by a machine.

Therefore, before you hop on the stairmaster, you might look around and see if there are some real stairs you can go up and down. Compare 20 minutes of real stair climbing to 20 minutes on a stairmaster. Although I have never done it, I would bet a small sum of money that the real stairs would crush you and the stairmaster would merely raise your heartrate. I assume that is why every team coach that has access to a staircase will make his team run stairs during practices instead of making them all do 20 minutes on the stairmaster. If you ask a college wrestler/footballer I'm sure he'll say running real stairs is a different experience.

If there are no real stairs in or around your gym, then I recommend getting a bench or a box and doing weighted stepups and lunges. Doing walking overhead lunges will give you a similar stimulus to stairclimbing and work your balance, flexibility, coordination and strength.

True, your point about the C2 not being like real rowing on the water, but that argument misses the point. First, the CrossFit use is not concerned with real rowing, we are concerned with the stimulus and in that regard the C2 is unmatched. We aren't trying to make everyone great rowers, we are trying to make great athletes. Second, real rowers don't seem to mind. EVERY rower in the world uses C2s on land to train when they can't be in the water. It's the next best thing. In fact, they often train new rowers on the C2 before putting them in the water so they can learn the basics first.
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:29 AM   #9
Elliot Royce
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As a former crew #7 seat (albeit in college club crew), I would say the C2 is pretty close to real life. In crew, you don't have two oars, just one. And all new rowers, as Keith points out, train in a tank with simulated water flow or in an ergometer, which is effectively what the C2 is.

As for the stairmaster, I would make a big difference between the type where the pedals go up and down as you move and the kind where you have a never-ending staircase. The latter is much harder and does require you to balance (at a minimum to avoid falling off).

Frankly, though, I'm not a purist and have been known to use a stairmaster when travelling on business. Not holding on does make it a lot more difficult. So the next time I train with Keith, while he's putting me through with 30 clean & jerks, he's going on the stairmaster for 20 minutes at maximum setting. I'll report back on the experiment!
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:45 AM   #10
Franklin Shogie
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If you are sculling either 1 man or 2 man you do in fact use 2 oars.

If you are doing crew (sweep rowing) you only pull one oar. I was both an 8 seat and a 7 seat (but not at the same time:happy:).

I've never used a C2 rower although I have used rowers at various gyms and I used to "feather the oar" with them.
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