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Does the Mini Stepper Work the Abdominal Muscles?

A limited budget and concern for space may draw you to a mini-stepper as your workout tool. While you'll miss out on many of the bells and whistles that come with a full-fledged step machine, you can still use the small version to get a quality cardio workout — but it won't work your abs the way you might wish.

Your balance can be challenged by the mini-stepper if you stand, rather than sit, to use the device. Your abs automatically activate to keep you upright, but standing on the mini stepper doesn't provide a specific ab workout. Crunches, planks and rotation exercises are more likely to build muscle and definition in your midsection.

The mini-stepper can help increase your overall physical activity level, which makes it easier to lose belly fat covering up your ab muscles. You won't get a defined, strong abdomen with the mini-stepper, but you can get a flatter, less-flabby one.

The Mini Stepper for Calorie Burning

Your body uses its stored fat when it senses a caloric deficit, which happens when you eat fewer calories than you burn. To use the stepper to get a flatter tummy, you'll have to revise your diet to contain moderate portions and mostly healthy foods, such as lean proteins, low-fat dairy, fresh produce and quality fats. Focus on eating meals mostly made up of chicken, fish, plain yogurt, veggies, nuts and avocados.

A regular stepping routine increases your daily calorie burn to help create the deficit. Aim for about 250 minutes at a moderate intensity each week to lose enough weight to be noticeable, recommends the American College of Sports Medicine. A moderate-intensity exercise is equivalent to a brisk walk.

To achieve moderate intensity on the mini stepper, you'll have to focus and work hard. A casual pedaling motion that keeps you feeling comfortable won't do. Measure your workout via the talk test, which dictates that you could talk, but not sing, as you're exercising.

Use It to Add Extra Movement

If you already have a good workout ethic and briskly walk or hit the gym several times per week, use the mini stepper to add the extra movement that could help you lose belly fat. Sometimes, your body hits a plateau and gets accustomed to a certain level of exercise so it's harder to drop fat.

Rush University Medical Center notes that fidgeting and increasing daily activity goes a long way in combating belly fat that covers up your ab muscles.You may not have extra time in your day to work out longer or the stamina to work out harder, so in comes the mini stepper. Stash it under your desk or couch so you can slide it out and pedal at a light rate while you work or watch television. Use the mini stepper as a way to boost your overall daily caloric burn to lose weight and reveal abs.

Train Your Abs Separately

If you're attracted to the ease of the mini stepper, you probably want abdominal exercises that are equally doable and convenient. In addition to your mini stepper work, do the following moves three to five times per week to enhance the definition in your middle:

Plank: Get into the top of a push-up position and lower to your forearms. Hold in a rigid line for 30 seconds or longer.

Crunches: Lie on your back, bend your knees, plant your feet and place your hands behind your head. Lift your head, neck and shoulders up from the ground 30 to 45 degrees and pause momentarily. Return back down. Complete 10 to 15 reps.

Seated Twists: Sit on the edge of your chair and extend your right leg out in front of you, leaving your foot on the floor. Cross your arms over you chest, draw your abs in toward your spine and twist right as you lift the right leg up to the height of the chair seat. Repeat 15 times to the right, then do 15 to the left.

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About the Author

Andrea Cespedes has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.

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