(Mini) Stepper: presentation, benefits, advice on buying and using …

The stepper is a fitness device that allows you to tone your lower limbs and work out your cardio at home. Discover its advantages, disadvantages, as well as our advice on how to choose and use it.

What is a stepper?


A stepper, or mini stepper, is a fitness device made up of 2 independent “steps” under which hydraulic jacks are attached . Its use consists in pressing alternately with the feet on these 2 steps in order to reproduce the movement obtained when climbing stairs .

Be careful not to confuse this device with the step , which is more like a simple walk, and which is used in particular during step classes in the fitness room.

Accessible and easy to use, the stepper has been used in many homes for many years. It owes its success in particular to home shopping programs which have been able to highlight its strengths.

 

 

PROFESSIONAL STEPPERS


In some fitness rooms you will also find much more robust professional stepper models, equipped with an electromagnetic resistance system as well as an on-board computer , allowing you to carry out various programs and monitor your performance (heart rate, number of calories burned, number of stairs climbed, etc.) just like what elliptical trainers or treadmills offer .

Professional stepper

Some brands even go even further by offering machines that simulate real stair climbs , like an escalator that would have been set upside down (here the steps go down). These machines obviously make it possible to carry out much more intensive and efficient training than with a mini stepper.

 
These professional devices sell for several thousand euros … if you want to climb stairs at a lower cost, you can always practice on real stairs, or failing that, equip yourself with a mini stepper for a few tens of euros.

What are the benefits of the stepper?


MUSCULAR WORK OF THE LOWER LIMBS


The stepper is an interesting fitness device for toning the thighs, calves, and buttocks to a lesser extent. It allows you to work on the following muscles:

Quadriceps : These are the large muscles located on the front of the thighs. Climbing stairs is particularly helpful for the quadriceps.
Sural triceps : made up of the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles, the sural triceps is none other than the calf. If you want to tone them more, do not hesitate to do the stepper on the tips of the feet.
Glutes : contrary to popular belief, doing the mini stepper is not the best solution to strengthen your glutes. Indeed, the action of extension of the thigh on the pelvis which makes it possible to solicit them is not sufficiently important when this device is used. To properly strengthen your glutes, it is necessary to take big steps. Climbing stairs 2 by 2 will be much more efficient.
Hamstrings : antagonistic muscles of the quadriceps, the hamstrings are located at the level of the back of the thighs. As hip extenders and thigh flexors, they naturally come into play when walking. Just like the gluteal muscles, large-amplitude movements will help to solicit them more.


CARDIO-RESPIRATORY WORK


When you go up stairs, you activate your heart and your respiratory system. When you do the stepper it’s the same thing! Your heart and respiratory rates speed up . The increased flow of blood and air allows your body to support the strain on your fitness equipment.

Be careful, however, the effort achieved on a mini stepper remains moderate . You will not be able to perform high intensity sessions like on a rower or exercise bike . This accessory is nevertheless interesting to use as part of a resumption of activity, a warm-up, or a circuit training. If you are already in good physical condition and want to do intensive cardio sessions, switch to other exercises, or use a professional stepper, such as the models presented above.

DO THE MINI STEPPER TO LOSE WEIGHT?


Do you think stepping can help you lose weight? This training tool of course allows you to burn calories, however it is not a miracle device that will make you lose weight quickly . If doing the mini stepper can help refine your figure, know that there are a lot of much more effective exercises to lose weight at home . Also, don’t forget that diet plays a major role in a weight loss program.

A GENTLE PRACTICE


Unlike running where each support on the ground results in a shock, one of the big advantages of the stepper is that it allows you to perform training without impact. A real asset to preserve your joints and your back! In fact, this fitness device is particularly suitable for overweight people and all those who suffer from weakness in the knees, ankles, or back. The practice of the mini-stepper is also recommended for pregnant women in order to maintain a gentle activity.

EASY TO USE


Another advantage of the stepper is that it is not bulky and can easily be used at home. Whether you have 5 minutes or 1 hour free, you can easily integrate its use into your training. As part of a warm-up, a cardio session, or integrated into a circuit training, this accessory offers many possibilities of use.

What are the disadvantages of the stepper?


Unfortunately, the mini stepper is often forgotten in the back of a cupboard, or throne like a work of art in your living room. The reason: the lack of playfulness . The movement is very off-putting, you can get bored in a few minutes. So, before buying this fitness accessory, we advise you to try it. Ideally, if you can borrow a stepper from a friend for a few weeks, this will allow you to make up your own mind about this equipment.

Of course, there are solutions to make its use more attractive. By watching TV, dividing your workout, listening to music, or even integrating it into a circuit training. Thus, the time will pass faster and you will be able to derive more benefit from it.

In addition, the stepper is an accessory which mainly solicits the lower limbs (even if the postural muscles are solicited to maintain balance). There are models equipped with elastic bands to solicit the arms and shoulders, however this remains more of a marketing strategy to sell you a device that allows you to muscle the whole body. Don’t be fooled! If you are looking for a complete machine that allows you to strengthen your entire body, you should rather choose an elliptical trainer or a rower .

Tips for choosing the right stepper


The stepper is an economical and practical fitness device. Most of the models on the market are equipped with electronic counters that let you know the number of steps taken, the duration of your training, the frequency of steps per minute, as well as the number of calories expended (which however remains approximate. ). Some models are also equipped with elastic bands to strengthen your upper body, but will you really use them?

If you want to train seriously it will be better to opt for a classic mini stepper, simple but robust , such as this one:


If you lack balance, a stepper equipped with handles may be an interesting choice. The following model offers good value for money:

How to use your stepper in a fun and efficient way?


Rather than doing 30 minutes of mini stepper in front of the TV, there are solutions that will allow you to perform much shorter and more effective workouts.

INTERVAL TRAINING


This type of session allows you to work at higher intensities and thus optimize your training. The gains will be multiple : greater energy expenditure, increased muscle building, development of your cardiovascular and respiratory capacities, improvement of your general physical condition, etc.

Concretely, rather than carrying out a training at constant intensity on your stepper, the objective here will be to vary the intensity of your efforts . The principle of interval training thus consists of alternating periods of effort at high intensity with periods of recovery at low intensity.

EXAMPLE OF INTERVAL TRAINING:


5 minutes warm-up + 10 x (30 sec. At high intensity + 30 sec. At low intensity) + 5 minutes cool-down.

In 20 minutes you will have achieved a much more efficient session than if you had done 30 minutes of mini stepper without forcing in front of the TV.

INTEGRATE ITS USE INTO A CIRCUIT TRAINING


Rather than just stepping, concoct a more varied session by integrating several exercises in the form of circuit training . This will allow you to exercise your whole body in a fun way, while working your endurance.

EXAMPLE OF CIRCUIT TRAINING:


5 minutes warm-up on stepper + 3 x (20 lunges + 1 min. Of stepper + 30 sec. Of ventral sheathing + 1 min. Of stepper + 10 push- ups + 1 min. Of stepper + 20 squats + 1 min. Of stepper + 20 hip thrust + 1 min. Of stepper) + 5 minutes of calm down on stepper.

This circuit is only one example, with each one to choose his exercises according to the zones of the body which he wishes to strengthen.

NEED A PERSONALIZED PROGRAM?


If you want to progress quickly and achieve your goals, do not hesitate to hire a personal sports coach. They will be able to offer you a tailor-made training program. Find your sports coach

In summary


The stepper is for all those who wish to tone their lower limbs and work their cardio at moderate intensity, directly at home. It is particularly suitable for overweight people and all those who wish to preserve their joints. Not very fun, its uses in the form of interval training or circuit training remain the best solutions to train effectively and stay motivated!

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