Some of my best memories of training in college were the off-season beach workouts. I’m not just saying this because of the beautiful weather and the chance to work on my tan; I remember the tough sand workouts pushing me to my limits. The workouts required mental toughness and grit, but I remember the huge payoff when I utilized sand-training as part of a basketball-themed workout before returning to the court. Sand training isn’t a new phenomenon by any means, but it’s benefits have become more apparent as its exposure and research increases. In this Sanddune Power Stepper review, I’ll explore the ways in which this piece of fitness equipment compares to traditional sand training and its benefits.
Training On Sand
You’ve probably seen explosive training videos of college or professional athletes trading in their traditional arenas of play to hit the beach and wondered what all the fuss is about. Sand training is truly unique. While the surface reduces impact on your joints, training on sand also forces you to work double-time due to its shifting and unstable nature. The heightened workload can result in a greater physiological response, thus increasing the metabolic cost of training. Therefore, you burn more calories but experience less muscle damage and muscle soreness due to the low impact force.
In one 2014 study comparing the conditioning effects of training on sand vs grass during an eight-week preseason regimen for team sport athletes, results showed a significantly higher heart rate and improvements in VO2max (aerobic fitness). These same athletes reported experiencing less fatigue and muscle soreness in post-workout check-ins. Softer surfaces are ideal for limiting musculoskeletal strain, while still challenging the body on multiple levels.
While this has some amazing implications for training, you probably already know that a beach isn’t always accessible. If you run a training facility, bringing in sand could prove messy or expensive. If you’re simply a fitness enthusiast looking for another way to improve, carrying sand to your local gym is probably out of the question for multiple reasons. That’s why I was so excited when I learned about the Sanddune Power Stepper, a genius tool that allows you to bring the feeling of training on the beach with you wherever you go. After implementing this modern take on sandbox training into my routine, it has proven very effective.
Sanddune Power Stepper
The Sanddune Power Stepper’s versatility is one of its largest selling points. There is a wide range of people benefiting from its usage, including MMA fighters, NFL players, weekend warriors, and elderly trainees. Whether you are looking to enhance some sort of fitness attribute, are focused on weight loss, wanting to improve your recovery methodology or are bouncing back from an injury, you can utilize this training tool and receive amazing results.
Made from a polyurethane foam blend that gives it a rapid rebound effect, the power stepper is a special balance training tool that recreates the challenge of moving on sand. The design is composed of two independent platforms that allow you to train unilaterally and dynamically. When it comes to traditional cardio, it’s usually the last thing on my to-do list because it bores me. I can honestly say that I would rather sit and watch paint dry than spend an hour on a treadmill. I like to spice things up when it comes to my cardiovascular training. I’m proud to say that I can easily add the power stepper to my list of objects to use for fun cardio workouts. Whether I’m using it to do interval work with sprints or loading up with some weight for marching variations, my heart rate fires up. The unstable surface lights up my core and challenges me through my feet, hips, and glutes.
Even if you aren’t looking to go all out with intense conditioning sessions, the power stepper can serve as an amazing implement for an active recovery workout with simple movements like bodyweight squats. You can also use it as a warmup, amping your nervous system and improving your balance and stability. If we are talking movement preparation, it does a great job of getting the blood pumping for a demanding strength training session. For lower body sessions, I find that marching and simply compressing my feet into the foam activates a lot of the smaller, forgotten stabilizer muscles around my ankles. This is great preparation for tough physical loads like squats and deadlifts. I have also used it with upper-body sessions to prepare my shoulders to move big weight. When you are done with your workout and are winding down, it can also serve as a soft pad to use for mobility work.
For someone coming off of an injury or someone who is injury prone, the stepper is a great way to challenge yourself while keeping your workout low impact. The memory foam can significantly reduce the amount of stress and pain with weight-bearing movements, making it ideal for rehabilitation (make sure to talk to a PT about your specific situation). It’s even effective in helping patients suffering from neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease. The stepper can stimulate neural pathways, improve spatial awareness and enhance cognitive performance.
With so many ways to use this product, I am a huge fan of the Sanddune Power Stepper. I believe it will be a valuable addition to your training no matter what your goal is. It’s light enough to be portable if the need arises, and it doesn’t take up much space. It costs $279.00, but the investment is worthwhile. I highly encourage you to give it a try.