Energeia Blog

Jan 9, 2012 6:01am

Surely, many of you have heard of step aerobic training. It’s no more than a training method which utilizes various aerobic exercises, adapted to the use of an elevated step and executed to a cadence. The cadence is most easily followed by choreographing the step training to a song.

Most step aerobics are done to a cadence of 120-130 beats per minute. It can be performed to a simple cadence, such as a metronome, but is more often employed with music. A simple exercise may be simply stepping up from the floor to the step with the right foot first (called a right basic) and then following with the left foot. This can be done over 4 beats or eight, depending upon the pace of the exercise.

There are numerous modifications to the step aerobic theme. Just a few are:

  1. Repeater knee – briskly step up with one leg (the stabilizing leg) to the step, then follow by raising the other leg toward the step, and then raising it as though you were taking an extended step upward, but then re-lowering it to the floor again, touching only the ball of the foot. You should also be pumping your arms as though you are rapidly climbing up the stairs. You’ll feel the “burn” in your stabilizing leg. You can start out with about 30-60 seconds per side, then switch to using the other leg as the stabilizing leg.
  2. Alternating knee – performed the same as the repeater knee, but alternating legs with each step back to the floor. You should be able to continue this for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Leg extensions – step up on one leg, then extend the opposite leg behind you. Return to the floor and repeat with the alternate leg. 3-5 minutes is a good cycle for leg extensions, as well.
  4. T-step -  step up with one leg, then follow with the other, so that feet are side by side. Then step out to one side with one leg and follow by stepping out to the other side with the opposite leg. Now step up to the center again, first with one leg, then the other, followed by stepping back to the start position with first one leg, then the other. This is an 8-step cadence, and can be sustained for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Lunge – standing back 18-24 inches from the step, step up with one leg, while keeping the other in its place, but on the ball of the foot. With your body erect, lower your body until the thigh of your forward leg is at a right angle to the calf. Then raise your torso again and step back. Repeat with the opposite leg. You should be able to continue this exercise for 3-5 minutes. A variation on the lunge is to either lower your torso and hold it for 5-10 seconds, or simply lower – raise, lower – raise repeatedly, before stepping back and switching legs.


As one part of your body becomes fatigued, you can shift to exercises that work another part, keeping your aerobic rate up without becoming too tired. It’s also beneficial to change up periodically, so as to achieve a well-rounded workout of all the muscles that need toning.

As an example, you might use some light weights (or 1 liter water bottles) in your hands to extend your exercise program to your arms as well as your legs. But the motions you employ can be designed to address either the biceps or the triceps. Ideally, you’ll alternate the exercises to address both.

If you maintain a constant rotation of these exercises and other similar step aerobic training exercises for 20-30 minutes, you should find yourself winded but not really tired.

As is the case with many aerobic training programs, the idea is to push the body to an elevated level and sustain it for a sufficient period to step up the body’s metabolic processes, not to push oneself to the limit. Aerobic exercise is not a high intensity exercise program. The raising of the level of body activity results in a burn-off of calories which doesn’t end when the exercises are finished, but will continue for a time afterward.

Furthermore, you’ll find that your endurance will be increased, as well as your posture, sense of balance and flexibility. Step aerobic training exercises are possible for nearly everyone, are relaxing and can yield immediately detectable health benefits. And they cost essentially nothing and can be performed nearly anywhere.

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