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What Is a Side-to-Side Stepper?

A side-to-side stepper may be used to work the hip joints.
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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2014
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A side to side stepper is an exercise machine that features two steps which move the legs side to side and up and down. Core muscles are also challenged by forcing the user to find her own center of balance while working out. This type of machine is gentle on the joints of the knees and lower back while toning the major muscle groups of the legs. This piece of equipment may be purchased online or from local fitness stores.

The side to side stepper features two shoe shaped steps that are mounted on a durable steel frame that rests on the floor. The steps move side to side and slightly up and down. This creates a gentle back and forth motion that works the outer thighs, the hips, and the lower legs, as well as the glutes. These machines incorporate a forwards and backward movement, as well as a full body twisting movement that incorporates additional muscle groups.

Most side to side stepper machines provide the hydraulic steps only and do not include stabilizing handles. This forces the user to find her own center of balance while moving her legs back and forth. This improves muscle tone throughout the core of the body, while improving overall balance and strength. Users may also choose to incorporate the use of free hand weights while using the stepper to incorporate the arms and upper body into the workout.

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Resistance is created in the stepper through the action of hyrdaulic lifts. The level of the workout may be increased or decreased by adjusting the controls located on the base of the exerciser. Different machines may also feature a calorie calculator and a step counter that helps users further gauge the difficulty level of their workouts.

These types of exercises are considered low impact and are gentle on bones and joints. The feet do not need to leave the step pedals to create the back and forth motion of the equipment. The joints of the knees, shins, lower back, and hips are protected from the hard, jarring movements that are associated with running and climbing steps on concrete surfaces. The side to side stepper is sometimes recommended by doctors for patients who have undergone knee or hip replacement surgery. Individuals who have experienced this type of surgery, however, should first consult their physicians before purchasing any new exercise equipment.

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