Not everyone has the time to commit to a gym, making exercising at home a good idea. Luckily, there’s a cool piece of equipment, the mini stepper, that can help you achieve your fitness goals at home without having to create space or save money for it.
Portable mini steppers can be used underneath your work desk, on the couch, or at the kitchen table. So you easily can burn some calories without leaving the comfort of your own home.
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What Is a Mini Stepper?
A mini stepper is a compact exercise machine that lets you step on two pedals against adjustable resistance. It’s like walking in your place, plus extra control you get by adjusting resistance against your feet.
The most apparent advantage of getting a mini stepper instead of other gym equipment is that it’s small in size, making it easy for you to exercise anywhere in your home without occupying much space. It’s also quite affordable compared to other pieces of equipment like treadmills.
Another benefit of a mini stepper is that it’s super easy to exercise on, even if you’re someone who never went to the gym before. It’s perfect for kids, adults, and elders. There are three types of steppers, including:
- Conventional steppers. These steppers have pedals that move upwards and downwards, similar to climbing stairs. They’re the most basic types of steppers.
- Elliptical steppers. Unlike traditional steppers, elliptical steppers have a more circular motion that gives a similar feel to working out on an elliptical machine. However, the range of motion on them is a bit limited compared to the bigger elliptical machines.
- Mini elliptical steppers. These are even more compact than elliptical steppers.
Benefits of a Mini Stepper
Working out on a mini stepper can do wonders for your body. Some of its benefits include:
- Strengthening your glutes and leg muscles. A mini stepper primarily targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, thighs, and glutes, giving your lower body a good workout.
- Making your core muscles stronger. Working out on a mini stepper tightens your abdominal muscles, which increases their strength over time.
- Strengthening upper body muscles. Using a pair of resistance bands with your mini stepper allows you to simultaneously work out your chest, shoulders, and biceps.
- Weight loss. Working out on a mini stepper is a great way to burn fat at home without lots of expensive gym equipment.
- Improving your cardiovascular health. Working out on a mini stepper is a form of cardio, which means that it elevates your heart rate during the workout and improves blood flow.
- Boosting your testosterone levels. Studies have shown that working out your lower body, in particular, is linked to an increase in testosterone, the male sex hormone. A mini stepper works out most of the muscles of your lower body.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Mini Stepper
There are several factors you need to keep in mind when shopping for a new mini stepper. Let’s get into them!
Your mini stepper should be correctly assembled and made of durable materials if you want it to last for a long time. You can check that by taking a close look at the mini stepper. If it’s mostly made out of metal, it’ll be more likely to last longer than one that has lots of cheap plastic components.
Most mini steppers are pretty compact, but some of them are bigger than others. Ensure that you have enough space for the mini stepper before buying it and that the pedals are wide enough for your feet.
Before choosing a mini stepper, you must make sure that it can support your weight. Manufacturers usually specify a weight capacity for their mini steppers. Most budget ones can support a maximum weight capacity of 220 lbs, while more expensive models typically have a higher weight limit.
Some people, especially beginners, may have a problem balancing themselves when working out on their mini steppers. In that case, a pair of removable handlebars would be great. They can help you balance yourself on the machine until you can do it on your own.
Some mini steppers are used in a sitting position, while others require you to be standing to use it. Some models can be used in both positions.
The position you choose depends on your needs and how and when you’ll be using the machine. It’d be better to get a mini stepper that can be used in both positions to give you more freedom in your workouts.
A mini stepper’s pedals should rotate smoothly without interruptions and awkward jerking. You should also make sure that the pedals are textured to prevent your feet from slipping while pedaling.
Resistance adjustment is one of the most useful features of a mini stepper. Having the ability to adjust your mini stepper’s resistance level allows you to make your workout more challenging as your muscles become more robust.
There’s no point in doing the same exercise with the same level of resistance over and over again. You need to create enough resistance to your muscles for them to get stronger.
Being able to adjust your mini stepper’s step height gives you another level of control over your workout.
When choosing a mini stepper, make sure that it gives you the option of changing the step height if you want to be able to vary your workouts between fast and slow-paced movement.
When exercising on a mini stepper, you need to be confident that it won’t move out of its place while pedaling to protect yourself from injuries.
Some mini steppers come with a textured mat that you can place under the machine to prevent it from slipping, while others come with feet covers that serve the same purpose.
Many people like to work out using their mini steppers at work or while reading a book or watching TV. In these cases, a mini stepper that produces lots of noise can be quite annoying, which is why you need to ensure that the mini stepper runs quietly.
Tracking your progress is a great way to keep yourself motivated and proud of yourself. If you want to be able to see how many calories you burned and the number of steps you took, choose a mini stepper with an LCD display.
While lots of mini steppers are affordable, some of them can be quite expensive if they have some extra functionalities. You can compare expensive models with the more affordable ones and see whether the extra features justify the higher price tag.
A warranty can be your best friend in case anything goes wrong with your new mini stepper. Exercise machines are some of the products that are most prone to fail or break, so make sure that the mini stepper you’re going to buy comes with a warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Muscles Can a Mini Stepper Work?
A mini stepper works out your legs, glutes, and core muscles. If you use a pair of resistance bands, you can also work out your chest, shoulders, and arms muscles, giving you a full-body workout.
Do Mini Steppers Actually Work?
Mini stepper exercises are great in helping you burn some fat and fine-tuning your legs and glutes. However, because your range of motion on a mini stepper is somewhat limited, you won’t be able to achieve the same results you’d get by working out on bigger machines. It’s not for people who want to build huge muscles, but rather those who need to stay active at home.
Is a Mini Stepper as Good as Walking?
Exercising on a portable mini stepper is similar to walking, but it helps you burn more fat by adjusting your body’s resistance. Some mini steppers also give you the advantage of being able to work out while sitting.
How to Use a Mini Stepper?
To exercise on a mini stepper, all you have to do is put your feet on the pedals, select a suitable resistance level, and start pedaling. If you’re feeling energetic and want to burn more calories, attach a pair of resistance bands to the machine and work out your upper body while pedaling.
Top Choice: Cubii JR1 Mini Stepper
The Cubii JR1 is a seated mini stepper, making it an excellent way for people who have desk jobs to stay active during their work time. The seated position also makes it easier for elders and people with special needs to exercise on it.
It features a sturdy design that’s built to last. The pedals are comfortable, and with the help of the feet covers, the Cubii JR1 stays in place while you exercise, even on smooth floors.
The JR1 runs quietly, allowing you to enjoy your book or movie while exercising without dealing with noise.
Moreover, the built-in LCD display shows you multiple stats, like the number of calories burned and distance traveled. You can also adjust the resistance level and set a timer for your workout.
Unfortunately, you can’t change the step height on the Cubii JR1, but that wouldn’t be very useful in a seated position anyway.
- Seated setup
- Doesn’t produce noise
- Built-in LCD display
- Adjustable resistance and timer
Best Value: Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider
The Stamina InMotion E1000 is a versatile mini stepper that sports a compact and lightweight form factor.
One of the notable features of the Stamina InMotion E1000 Mini Stepper is that you can use it in both sitting and standing positions, giving you more versatility. You can either use it seated while working on your desk or standing when you have enough free time for a full-body workout.
The textured pedals provide enough grip to prevent your feet from slipping. You can pedal in forward or reverse stride motion. Pedaling on this mini stepper produces minimal noise, so you can watch a movie or read a book while exercising without getting distracted.
Furthermore, the Stamina InMotion E1000 is equipped with an adjustable dial that lets you control the resistance level for more intense workouts. Additionally, you can check stats like calories burned and the number of steps on the LCD.
- Can either be used seated or standing
- Adjustable resistance
- Compact and lightweight
- 250 lbs maximum weight capacity
Best Full Body: Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper
The Sunny Health & Fitness is an affordable mini stepper that gives you a full-body workout. It features a durable design made of industrial-strength steel and boasts wide pedals with textured footplates that give your feet a solid grip to prevent slipping.
The hydraulic drive system ensures smooth steps and forces you to push against your own body weight to create a challenging workout that can potentially give you some great results. Moreover, this mini stepper has a knob that lets you adjust the step height to alternate between short bursts and long steps.
The Sunny Health & Fitness also comes with two removable training bands, allowing you to work out our shoulders, chest, and arms. Additionally, there’s an LCD display that shows you the number of calories burned and other stats.
Unfortunately, you can’t adjust the mini stepper’s resistance, but the hydraulic system provides enough resistance against your body weight.
- High strength steel design
- 220 lbs maximum weight capacity
- Comes with removable training bands
- Height adjustment
A mini stepper can really make a difference in your lifestyle by helping you stay active in the comfort of your home. Not only will you burn fat, but also make your muscles stronger.
If I had to recommend a single mini stepper for you, it’d be the Cubii AR1. It’s arguably the most versatile mini stepper on our list since you can use it while sitting or standing. Not to mention, you can adjust the resistance to create more intense workouts. It’s genuinely one of the best mini steppers you can get, and it comes at a decent price tag too.
In the end, choosing a mini stepper is a matter of personal preference. Not everyone will use a mini stepper the same way, so pick the one that sounds good to you.