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People who go sideways on the StairMaster. Why?

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I see people walking sideways on the stairmaster at my gym all the time.  Can anyone tell me the purpose of doing this?  Is there any other exercise that will give the same benefit?
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I believe it just targets different muscle groups, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.  I believe it's like going "backwards" on the elliptical.

I do step aerobics and there are moves where you step onto the step sideways as well. 

I would fall off...

You're right really works the outside of the leg that climbs closest to the machine and the inside of the other (outside) leg...


I know it sounds confusing, simply put...instead of working just the tops of your legs and booty you can work the inside (inner thigh) and outsides (hips) of your legs as well...


It's also great to side shuffle on a treadmill & run backwards...keep it slow until you get the hang of it.  Definitely give 'em a'll feel the difference! 

she's right. yes, it targets a different set of muscles. my trainer used to walk backwards on the treadmill, on the highest incline...i would def fall off, too!
Backwards on the treadmill sounds more dangerous than the stairmaster!  I think I will give it a try, but I needed to know the point before I start blindly following other people in the gym.


lol I tried to do some side-shuffle thing I saw in SELF magazine on the treadmill and I am just NOT cut out for that fancy stuff. Even with it set at 1.5 I was falling over.

I imagine the people watching me got a better work out laughing!

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