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Step Up Your Fitness With Step Aerobics

Step Up Aerobics Workout

Step Aerobics | Benefits | Bad For Knees? | Step Up Exercises | At Home Tips | Step Workout Plan

Page last updated: 29th January 2024

There's no denying that walking or running on a treadmill is a great cardio workout, but did you know that working out using a step actually burns more calories in less time? That's because your body is working against gravity with your body weight as resistance to complete the climbing motion. 

As a result, exercising on a step will work wonders for your quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings and give your cardio fitness and endurance a boost.

Whether you're working out at home, or are preparing yourself to join one of our fun and effective step aerobics classes, this guide will help you with the basics. Learn more about step exercises and their benefits below, or jump straight to the aerobic step workout plan here.

What Is Step Aerobics?

Aerobic step is a type of cardiovascular exercise using an elevated platform, often called a step or aerobic step. 

Participants perform a series of choreographed movements on and off the step platform, combining rhythmic stepping patterns with arm movements. It's a popular form of aerobic exercise that can help improve cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and coordination. Step exercises primarily target the muscles in the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, but can also engage the core muscles to help improve balance and stability.

Are Step Exercises Good For You? What Are The Benefits Of Step Exercise?

Yes, step exercises, including step aerobics and step up exercises, can be extremely good forms of exercise and a simple, convenient way to improve your fitness levels. They provide cardiovascular benefits, help with burning calories, and contribute to overall wellbeing. The intensity can be adjusted based on the height of the step and the complexity of the movements, and you can even include weights to increase the challenge even further. 

The benefits of step exercises include:

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness: By incorporating rhythmic stepping patterns, these workouts effectively stimulate your cardiovascular system, promoting better blood circulation and overall heart function.
  • Better lower body strength and endurance: When you're stepping up and down, your leg muscles, including the quads, hamstrings and glutes, are working hard. Over time, this helps improve the strength and endurance of your lower body.
  • Calorie burning and supporting weight management: Cardio exercise in general is a fantastic way to burn calories, and step is no different. While the exact number burned during a step workout will vary depending on factors like your weight and intensity level, you can most likely burn somewhere around 250 - 300 calories in a 30-minute aerobic step session. This can be beneficial for weight management, particularly when combined with a healthydiet and  lifestyle.
  • Improved coordination and agility: The varied foot movements in step exercises require coordination. Regular practice can enhance your overall coordination and agility, as you learn to move your feet in sync with the routine.
  • Potential for social interaction in group classes: Engaging in step exercises in a group setting opens the door for social interaction. Group classes create a supportive environment where you can connect with others, share experiences, and maybe even enjoy a bit of friendly competition.

Are Step Exercises Bad For Knees?

Generally, step exercises are considered low-impact and are not harmful to the knees for most people. However, individuals with pre-existing knee issues should check in with a healthcare professional before engaging in any exercise program. Using proper form and starting with a lower step height can help minimise stress on the knees.

Are Step Ups A Compound Exercise?

While there's a range of different step exercises you can do, there's also a specific exercise called 'step-ups', which, as the name suggests, involves stepping up onto a step. 

These are considered a compound exercise because they involve movement at multiple joints and work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. As with most step exercises, the primary muscles targeted are in the lower body, but the upper body can be challenged by introducing arm movements and weights. .

We cover how to do them, as well as a range of variations you can try on our how to do step ups guide.

Tips For Doing Step Exercises At Home

  • Purchase an aerobic step platform or find a sturdy, stable surface at home.
  • Start with basic step ups, gradually incorporating more complex movements.
  • Pay attention to proper form and start with a lower step height if you're a beginner.
  • Ensure you have enough space and wear comfortable shoes with good support.

Full Body Aerobic Step Exercise Workout Plan

Simply complete the following circuit either at home or in the functional area of your gym:

**If you're a beginner: **

  • Perform each exercise for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds rest
  • Complete the circuit three times

If you're intermediate level:

  • Perform each exercise for 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
  • Complete the circuit three to five times

If you're advanced level:

  • Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with no rest in between.
  • Complete the circuit five times
  1. Burpee on step

    1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart in front of the step. 
    2. Squat down slightly then jump with both feet onto, then off the step. 
    3. Drop down to the floor, place both hands on the step, and adopt a plank position
    4. Perform a press-up then spring back up to the start position.
    5. This is a great full body workout
  2. Straight arm plank up

    1. Get into a press-up plank position with arms straight and both hands on the step. 
    2. Keeping your back flat and arms straight, step your hands down to the floor and then return them to the step.
    3. Your legs, arms, shoulders, back and abs will get a great workout.
  3. Mountain climbers

    1. Get into a press-up plank position with arms straight and both hands on the step. 
    2. Pull your left knee in towards your chest then return to start position, and repeat with your right knee.
    3. This movement targets your abs and lower body.
  4. Body weight step up

    1. Start with your right foot on the step and left foot on the floor. 
    2. Bring your hands in front of you for balance as you slowly bring your left foot up onto the step. 
    3. Leave your left foot on the step and slowly lower your right foot to the floor.
    4. This exercise will work wonders for your legs and bum
  5. Crossover push up

    1. Start in a press-up position with your right hand on the floor and your left hand on the step. 
    2. Lower your body towards the floor and, as you press upwards, put your right hand onto the step. Then, put your left hand on the floor and repeat the routine.
    3. This exercise will target your arms, chest and back.

Looking for more workout ideas to help you get fitter and more toned? Check out the PureGym blog for a range of workout plans, fitness advice and nutritious recipes to help you on your health and wellbeing journey.

If you're not yet a PureGym member, then why not find a PureGym near you and sign up today? We offer a range of fantastic fitness classes - including step aerobics classes - and expert personal trainers who can offer support and bespoke workout plans.

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