Stepper — a simulator that simulates walking on stairs without moving. Used to train leg muscles. It has foot pedals and fixed handrails (in expensive models — movable levers).
mini stepper — a kind of stepper that does not have a hand support. Advantages: relatively low price, compact size. Disadvantages: less functionality than a conventional stepper. For exercises that require support for the hands, you will have to lean on the wall or furniture.
- ladder type stepper
- rotary stepper
- Stepper with handles
Classic stepper — has two pedals that can move up and down. Simulates walking up stairs. The classic simulator is used to strengthen the cardiovascular system and leg muscles. At the same time, the load on the knees is minimal, unlike real walking up the stairs.
rotary stepper – during “walking” on such a simulator, the athlete’s body turns from side to side. The design feature is the presence of a rotary mechanism in the pedals. Such a simulator is used to strengthen the legs, back muscles and abs.
Balancing stepper — «walking» is carried out with a shift in the center of gravity from side to side. With this simulator, the pedals are able to move not only up and down, but also left and right. The balancing simulator is designed to develop coordination of movements and a sense of balance, as well as to strengthen the muscles of the legs and abs.
Ladder type — instead of pedals, an «endless tape» of movable steps is used. As accurately as possible imitates the movement on the stairs, but without a serious load on the joints. The disadvantage is the high price. Mainly used in gyms.
Professional — designed for gyms, as well as for professional athletes. The main advantage is increased wear resistance, which makes it possible to use it 24/7 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). The disadvantage is the high price.
Autonomous — installed in places where there is no electricity. It can work both on batteries and on built-in generators.
Folding – does not take up much space, but is less reliable, since there are many bendable nodes in its design. Such models are not designed for intensive training.
Mechanical — the load is created by the movement of pistons in hydraulic cylinders. Advantages: simplicity of design, relatively low price, reliability, efficiency, as it does not consume a large amount of electricity. Disadvantages: low accuracy of load adjustment, noise during operation. It is mainly used in ministeppers and inexpensive classic simulators.
electromagnetic — the load is created using a magnetic field formed by electromagnets. Advantages: high accuracy of load adjustment, noiselessness, comfort, increased functionality. Disadvantages: high price, large dimensions. Such simulators consume a large amount of electricity.
Steppers are also divided into two types:
- with dependent pedal travel — easy to operate and relatively cheap, do not require electricity, as they have a mechanical drive. The pedals are rigidly connected to each other, so the load is the same for both legs. They do not have a load adjustment function;
- with independent pedal travel — each of the pedals has its own load system and moves independently. This makes it possible to regulate the load as accurately as possible during the training process. If necessary, you can set different load levels for the right and left legs (for example, during rehabilitation).
Number of load levels
The number of fixed load levels varies from 4 to 50. The greater the number of levels, the more accurately you can select the required load. The load changes either in a stepped way or continuously (stepless system).
Step system – has several preset load values. Unlike stepless, intermediate load parameters cannot be set here.
A five-step system – allows you to change the load in a wide range. This adjustment allows you to set the desired parameters much more accurately.
Cardio sensor — a device for measuring the pulse. Allows you to correctly calculate the level of load for each athlete.
There are several types of sensors.
built-in — located in the handle of the simulator. Occurs quite often. Allows you to constantly monitor the pulse when a person holds on to the handles of the simulator. Advantage — no need to attach the sensor to the body.
Wired — is placed on the athlete’s body and connected to the stepper’s computer. Advantages: simplicity, reliability and low price. The disadvantage is that the wires hinder the movements of the athlete.
- waist — differs from other wired sensors in that it limits the movements of the athlete to a lesser extent. However, it is less accurate than the breastplate. Occurs rarely.
- breastplate — Accurately measures the pulse, as it is located at a close distance from the heart.
- Clip on ear — a high-precision device that responds to changes in the light transmission of the earlobe (depends on the pulse). Has received wide distribution.
Wireless — exists in several varieties (the same options as in the wired one, with the exception of the “finger-mounted” mount). Advantages: provides the highest accuracy of pulse measurement and does not hinder the movement of the athlete. The disadvantage is that it is more expensive than wired.
constant pulse — allow you to automatically maintain the heart rate at a given level. When the heart rate decreases, the load will increase, and when it increases, it will decrease.
Constant effort — equalizes the athlete’s applied effort with a given load. Regardless of the frequency of stepping, the applied force will be constant. Such a program is used in simulators with an electromagnetic loading system.
For a while — allows you to set the time of the workout. The system will announce its completion with a sound signal or display information on the display.
At a distance — allows you to set the distance that you plan to «walk» during the workout. During the training, the display shows information about the passage of the distance, and upon its completion, the system will inform you about this with an inscription or a sound signal.
Own programs — allows you to save your training settings to the memory of the stepper (session time, load level, etc.). It can be useful if two or more people are using the simulator.
Important: the number of training programs varies from 4 to 26. A large number of programs allows the athlete to accurately select the best option. A smaller number of programs can be compensated by the possibility of their self-creation (programming).
The stepper computer display shows information related to training: heart rate, calorie consumption, cadence, total steps, distance traveled.
One of the important indicators is pulse rate. This information allows you to correctly calculate the level of load for each athlete (it depends on gender, age, physique, etc.). It should be noted that for different goals (burning fat, strengthening the cardiovascular system, maintaining sports shape), the optimal heart rate will be different.
Evaluation of indicators
Body Fat — allows you to evaluate the percentage of adipose tissue in the body of an athlete.
Fitness assessment — allows you to assess the speed of recovery of the body.
Maximum user weight
As a rule, steppers are designed for people weighing up to 100-130 kg. If the athlete’s weight exceeds this indicator, then it is recommended to choose professional models.
Stride length adjustment — allows you to change the course of the pedals — the distance between the pedals in the extreme positions. Depends on the height of the athlete. An important function if the simulator is used by several people. The maximum indicator is from 31 to 76 cm, the minimum is from 10 to 66 cm.
Ultimate load — notifies the athlete about exceeding the maximum possible load by means of a light or sound signal.
PC connection — allows you to transfer information about the results of classes to a PC or from a computer to install training programs on the simulator.
Castors/rollers – make it easy to move the treadmill from place to place.
Adjustable feet — adjust the position of the simulator relative to the floor.
Keys on handles — allow you to change the degree of load of the simulator without interrupting the workout.
Espander — allows you to train your arms, shoulders and back during classes on the stepper.
Also, steppers can be equipped with a stand for a glass (bottle), a book stand, a fan and other useful devices.
The most popular for the home are mini steppers. Preference should be given to well-known manufacturers of sports equipment HouseFit, Sports Art. The steppers of these brands are reliable and high-quality, withstand a significant load and frequency of training. It should be noted that steppers of Russian and Ukrainian brands USA Style and Torneo cost the same, but they last less, break more often, and there may be problems with warranty replacement.
Professional steppers are very expensive, as a rule, they are not bought for home use. The brands Kettler, Star Trac, Precor are well known to sports fans, as well as to gym customers. This equipment is of the highest quality and reliability.