The Forgotten Fitness Tool Every Woman Should Own
Looking for something that’ll light a fire under your fitness program?
Look no further…
Here’s all the information you need to buy and use the hottest fitness product on the market today.
Have you ever thought about buying an exercise step but then put it off because you had a bunch of questions (and weren’t quite sure where to find the answers)?
You’re not alone.
But you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve been doing step workouts for over 10 years. And I’ve got your answers.
Stay with me for a few seconds and I’ll explain why you’ll burn more calories using an exercise step AND have more fun with every workout.
This infographic shows you 5 of the 12 FAQ’s about exercise steps that I’ll cover in this post…
And this is a complete list of everything you’re going to find out by the end of this post…
- What is an exercise step?
- What size (dimensions) should my exercise step be?
- What’s a circuit step?
- How hard are step workouts and step exercises?
- How do step routines work your body?
- Will you burn more calories using an exercise step? (Are step exercises effective?)
- How long are workouts that use an exercise step?
- Can I use an exercise step to work my abs and core? (Will an exercise step help me get six-pack abs?)
- Can I use weights (dumbbells) with my step?
- How many days a week (how often) should I do step workouts?
- Where can I buy an exercise step?
- Can you give me some step workouts to try?
When you’re done with this article you’ll feel confident that you know everything there is to know about buying and using a fitness step.
**And I think you’ll discover that an exercise step could be the perfect way to spice up your workout routine.**
5 Total Body Circuits and a printable with 30 Ways to Use an Aerobic Step
If you use one of my links to purchase something it helps support my business. Thank you! (No hard feelings if you don’t.) You can get more information about that here.
What is an exercise (aerobic) step?
Exercise step, fitness step, exercise platform, aerobic step, exercise bench…these are all common terms for the same fitness product.
An exercise step is a short platform designed specifically as a fitness tool.
The original step design was created for step aerobics and a lot of people still think of traditional step routines (that use dance-style moves) when they see exercise step equipment—but things have changed.
Today exercise step equipment is incorporated into almost every fitness style.
You’ll see an exercise step used for high-intensity interval (HiiT) training, plyometric exercises, low-impact circuits, weight training (sculpting and toning with dumbbells) and traditional step aerobics.
Another words >> An exercise step is one of the very best pieces of exercise equipment for TOTAL BODY FITNESS.
The versatility of a fitness step is why it’s my favorite fitness tool (and the one I recommend women purchase if they’re looking for ONE piece of exercise equipment to invest in).
What size (dimensions) should my exercise step be? Why?
If you do a quick search on Google you’ll quickly discover there’s a big range of prices and styles of exercise steps.
For the love of monkeys do NOT pick out the exercise platform you’re going to buy based on the price.
Girls, size matters when it comes to your fitness step.
Don’t minimize the importance of this decision.
The equipment you own directly affects your exercise routine. If your equipment is safe, versatile and beautiful then you’re more likely to do the thing you bought it for.
I recommend you buy a professional sized step that’s approximately 43 inches x 16 inches. This model normally comes with 4 risers so that you can do exercises at a 4, 6 or 8 inch height.
“But Mickie, that’s kind of big. I’d rather have something more compact,” you say.
Yes, it’s bigger than some of the other models—but it also safer.
Consider this: Your step is a target for your feet (for the majority of the exercises you use it for).
And most of the time you’ll be moving when you place your feet on that target.
I’ve been doing step exercises for over 10 years and have owned smaller steps.
It’s very easy to misplace your foot on a small target when your eyes are on the TV or your legs are at that point in the workout when they’ve become the weight of 2 giant cinderblocks.
So, the most important reason you need an exercise platform that’s 43 inches x 16 inches is for SAFETY.
The second reason you need a fitness step that’s 43 x 16 is because of FUNCTION.
Occasionally, you’re going to want to use your step to do exercises on your back.
A small step isn’t big enough for these exercises. You won’t have full support of your head and back with a smaller step.
The third reason you need an aerobic step that’s 43 inches x 16 inches is because of DESIGN.
The professional sized steps are crafted on a large base with rubber attachments underneath that protect your floor and keep the step in place during use.
The risers used with the 43” steps are designed to lock together and fit under the step. The risers also have rubber attachments for safety.
The tops of many of the larger steps (not all of them) are soft. This rubber covering is comfy on your hands and back and a non-slip surface for your feet.
What’s a circuit step?
The ‘circuit size’ steps are not full size.
A circuit step is approximately 25 inches x 16 inches and comes with 1 set of risers to go up to a height of 4 inches.
How hard are step workouts and step exercises?
There are step routines and step exercises for every fitness level.
Like all exercise programs and equipment you need to be aware of your own skill level before you try new or different exercises.
If you’re a beginner, start with no risers under your step whenever you do a workout. Add risers as you get comfortable with the routine and your step equipment.
Remember that there are SO MANY MORE exercise options than just traditional step aerobics. Take the time to research the variety of exercise style you can incorporate with your step.
You can do plyometrics, circuit training, high or low-impact exercises, toning and sculpting with dumbbells, high-intensity interval training and compound training (using multiple muscle groups at once).
Check out (and follow) my Pinterest Board called Aerobic Exercise Step…to see a few different kinds of step exercises you can try.
How do step routines work your body? (What are the benefits of step aerobics/exercises?)
An exercise step will work your body however you want it to. The possibilities are endless.
You can use a step for cardio, toning or (my preference) workouts that do both.
Take a look at these videos that demonstrate how you can use a fitness step for high-impact, low-impact, compound exercises, sculpting and plyometric routines:
Will you burn more calories using an aerobic step? Are step exercises effective (a good workout)?
The short answer is yes!
Think about it. Using a step when you exercise means that (most of) your moves will be bigger. That means your body will be working harder (your heartrate will be higher) and you’ll burn more calories.
Don’t believe it?
I tested this idea on myself by doing the same group of exercises without a step, using a step with one riser on each side and using 2 risers on each side.
I did the exercises for equal amounts of time and recorded my heart rate and the calories I burned.
I burned 26% more calories doing the same exercise on a step with 2 risers per side than I did doing the exercises on the floor.
You can read the full study in my article:
How long are workouts that use an aerobic step?
Step workouts are just like any other fitness routine…they can be any length you want.
For example, you can set the length of your workout by doing circuit intervals* with your step.
*WORKOUT IDEA–I like to do one-minute exercise intervals using my step (followed by 45 second rests.) I do 10 exercises (5 toning/sculpting exercises with dumbbells and 5 intense cardio moves) and then repeat them all through one more circuit for a total body calorie-crushing routine.
Or find a step routine on You Tube. Here’s a great beginner routine:
Or you can purchase a few exercise step videos.
Cathe Friedrich has a TON of options and she creates new workouts all the time. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Plyo HiiT Two
*There are more suggestions for step workout videos a little bit further down in this post…
So, you get to decide how long (or short) your step workout will be.
Can I use an Exercise Step to work my abs and core? (Will an exercise bench help me get six-pack abs?)
Here’s the cool thing about using a fitness step—every time you place your foot up on something you engage your core. What?! How?
The thing is…when you step up your muscles naturally adjust to maintain balance.
The first muscle group we think about engaging for step workouts are our legs.
But your core muscles (abdominal and back muscles) are actually working just as hard to keep you from falling while you redistribute your weight.
And when you do step-ups with dumbbells or exercises like this:
You can really sculpt and define your core muscles.
Can I use weights (dumbbells) with my aerobic step?
There are SO MANY exercises you can do using a step.
PRO TIP>>If you’ve never worked out on an exercise platform before then start with light weights and no risers in place the first few times you do any moves holding dumbbells.
You can do isolation exercises like static lunges (doing a single-leg lunge in place with your back foot on the step and dumbbells held in each hand) or step-ups.
And you can do compound exercises with dumbbells like a chest fly with a double leg extension (laying on your step) or a dumbbell curl or overhead press while you do step-ups.
TIP—Proper form is VERY important when you do compound exercises. If you’re doing a compound move for the first time try it with no weights and with your feet on the floor. Move to your step and add dumbbells when you’re ready.
How many days a week (how often) should I do workouts using my exercise platform?
Well, how many days a week do you exercise?
You can use a step for every style of exercise so there’s no reason you can’t use a step for every single workout.
The most effective workout schedules mix up workout styles so that you get a blend of intense cardio, weight-training and interval training during the week. And all of your muscles and joints will need a holiday at some point. So, plan out your weekly workouts with those things in mind.
*As reference, I exercise 5-6 days/week and incorporate my step into my workout 3-4 of those days.
Where can I buy an aerobic (exercise) step?
- You can buy a beautiful exercise step from my online store.
- You can buy a beautiful exercise step from Amazon.
If for some reason (you’d rather not say) you want to purchase a fitness step from someone (besides me) then please make sure you invest wisely. Buy a step that’s approximately 43 inches by 16 inches and comes with 4 risers.
You’ll be happier with a larger, safer and more versatile piece of exercise equipment.
Can you give me some step workouts to try?
Yes! Check out the list below for a couple of beginner, intermediate and advanced step workout options.
These are all Cathe Friedrich workouts.
Because Cathe Friedrich has been cranking out incredible step (and other) workouts forEVER. She’s a total badass and continues to produce amazing routines.
Also, all of Cathe Friedrich’s videos come with additional ‘premix’ workouts so you end up with more than one routine with every purchase. (Score!)
PRO TIP—Remember that you can always make any step workout harder (or easier) by removing (or adding) the number of risers under each side, doing less (or more) reps or adding (or decreasing) weights, where applicable.
BEGINNER STEP WORKOUTS
Basic Step is a traditional step aerobics routine for cardio conditioning.
ICE Low Impact Sweat
Low Impact Sweat is a HiiT total body workout. If you’ve never done step before then do this routine with no risers the first time.
INTERMEDIATE STEP ROUTINES
ICE Boot Camp Circuit
Ice Boot Camp Circuit uses 60-minute intervals to create an intense total body cardio + sculpting workout.
*If you’re not sure whether you’re a beginner or intermediate exerciser then try this workout with only 1 riser and use very light (or no) weights the first few times you do it.
Athletic Step is a step cardio workout.
The choreography in Athletic Step is more advanced (but these aren’t dance moves) than Basic Step but you’ll have it down by the 3rd time you do it.
ADVANCED STEP WORKOUTS
I LOVE this workout because it’s SO HARD.
Athletic Training is a total body routine—there’s an intense step section doing low-impact circuits followed by several sections of compound exercises with light dumbbells.
To the Max
To the Max is similar to Athletic Training.
There are several sections of exercises in this routine. You’ll blast through advanced cardio intervals and when you think you can’t possibly do more—you will.
If you’re looking to burn a TON of calories then try this routine. You’ll feel like a superstar when you’re done.
*Cathe uses 3 risers on each side in parts of this routine but you can do the exercises with any number of risers.
Ready to spice up your next workout with a safe and effective exercise tool?
Do you have another question about exercise step equipment??
Use the comment section or email me!
Thank you for reading!
“Life is complicated. Fitness doesn’t have to be.”
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