What is a Lateral Stepper?

Anna B. Smith
Anna B. Smith
Woman exercising
Woman exercising

A lateral stepper is an exercise machine featuring two steps which move up and down as well as side to side. These gentle movements are designed to tone all major areas of the legs and the lower portions of the abdomen. Some versions feature additional banded pulls to incorporate the arms and upper areas of the core body muscles as well. These machines are available in full sizes with support handles, mini sizes that can be folded and stored beneath furniture, and as small resistance bands which can be stored in a clothing drawer. Machines may be purchased online from exercise equipment manufacturers and dealers, or from local sports and fitness stores.

This machine is designed to target the calves, quadriceps, thighs, hips, and glutes of the legs. The lateral stepper features two shoe sized steps mounted on a steel frame. The steps move up and down with a gentle side to side movement that mimics the motions created while skiing. The legs are forced to move in multiple directions at once, directing the feet up and outwards while pulling the inner thighs back and together. The resistance of these machines may be lowered if the user wants to focus on a cardio workout that induces a high heart rate, or increased if the user wants to focus on toning and recruiting muscle fiber.

Most types of lateral stepper are paired with resistance bands or cords. These rubber pulls are attached to the floor based steps and may be held by the user while exercising. This helps the user to engage the arms and the core of the body as well as the legs, creating a more even, full bodied workout. They also increase stability and balance by challenging the core to remain solid while the lower body is moved in different directions.

The lateral stepper is available as a full sized exercise machine with stationary handles, a mini stepper that is ideal for easy storage, and a resistance only version for quick workouts. The mini stepper often features a calorie counter and repetition tracker to help users determine how long they should use the machine and measure the quality of their workout. The resistance only form of the stepper is comprised of two ankle cuffs which are attached to one another via tight rubber bands. The wearer can tone and strengthen muscles by stepping side to side and forcing her muscles to work against the natural resistance of the bands.

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      Woman exercising