If a super-strong cardiovascular health is what you want, then step bench workouts are what you should be looking at. These workouts are considered one of the most versatile workout tools, especially for those who love to practice cardiovascular exercises. They have been in use since the 80s and are evolving continuously to offer elevated exercise experiences to fitness freaks. The best thing about stepping on these ‘buns of steel’ is that it is highly effective. And guess what? The results it offers are amazing!
What Is A Step Bench?
A step bench is basically a certain inexpensive platform, which is used as a multi-functional equipment for working out. Usually, the height of a step bench ranges between 4 inches and 12 inches, which can be varied or adjusted with the help of integral block risers in order to suit the requirements of a variety of exercises.
Be it a short warm-up session or intense strength training, a step bench can serve the purpose of an ideal prop all the time. However, the best use of it is found in aerobics or hardcore cardio training.
What Is Step Aerobics?
Step aerobics, also known as step exercises, is one type of cardiovascular workout. Here, specific aerobics benches or simple steps are used to work on the muscles of the heart, lungs and legs. The best thing about this exercise is that it does not need too many equipments and accessories. Just get a step bench and a pair of gym shoes and you are all set for the practice. The entire workout revolves around ‘stepping’ which, being a low-impact movement can be done either in the gym or even at the home. It includes a wide variety of exercises from low-impact ones intended for beginners to fast-paced ones aimed at advanced exercisers. Step aerobics is mostly known to target our lower body muscle groups, thereby offering excellent elevation to our regular workout practices.
Basic Steps Of Step Aerobics
Before digging deep into the various step aerobics exercises, let us take a look at some of the basic movements related to it.
- Basic Step – Step on and off the bench with your right and left foot respectively.
- Tap Up – Step on the bench with your right foot and tap it with the left foot. Now, step off with the left and right foot respectively.
- Split Basic Step – Step on the bench with your right and left foot respectively. Tap the floor with the right foot and bring it to the previous position. Do the same with the left foot and step off.
- ‘A’ Step – Step on the bench with your right foot followed by your left foot just by facing sideways. Then, step off to the other side in the same manner.
- ‘V’ Step – Step on the bench with your right and left foot respectively by maintaining the maximum possible distance. Then step off.
- ‘I’ Step – Step on the bench with your right and left foot respectively. Perform a jumping jack and then step off.
- Repeater – Step on the bench with the right foot. Lift your left leg and tap the floor thrice. Then, step off.
- Grapevine – Take a side step with your right foot and place the left one behind it. Take another step with the right one and bring the left one up to position beside it.
The aforementioned moves can be combined to come up with different step aerobics routines. The simplicity or complexity of the routine depends on the type of combination. The height of the step bench also has an impact on the results of the workout. The entire routine should be of 32 segments that can include 4, 8 or 16 moves as per the requirement.
Different Aerobic Step Bench Exercises
Now, here is a compilation of the different types of aerobic step exercises that can be included in your regular workout routine:
- Dynamic Hip Mobility On Steps: A warm-up exercise that raises upper body and increases mobility by stretching the hips.
- Running On Steps: A leg conditioning exercise that works on muscles like calves, glutes, and quads.
- Burpee On Steps: A full-body conditioning exercise that suits people of all fitness levels and works on the muscles of shoulders, arms, and legs.
- Cross Overs On Steps: A lower body conditioning exercise for beginners.
- Plank Ups On Steps: A core conditioning exercise that works on abdominal muscles and obliques.
- Step Overs On Aerobic Steps: A lower body conditioning exercise for people of all fitness levels that works on the leg muscles like glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
- Burpee Jumps On Aerobic Steps: A full body conditioning exercise for intermediates that mainly works on shoulder and leg muscles.
- Aerobic Step-Ups: A leg conditioning plyometric exercise that works on leg muscles like glutes and quads.
- Burpee Step-Ups: A full-body conditioning exercise for beginners.
- Low Step-Ups: A lower body conditioning exercise that suits people of all fitness levels and works on leg muscles like quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Bodyweight Step-Ups: A lower body conditioning exercise that works on the muscles in butt and legs.
- Straight Arm Plank-Ups: A core conditioning exercise for beginners that works on the muscles in shoulders, arms, abdomen, and obliques.
- Lateral Box Jumps: A plyometric exercise for beginners that works on the adductor muscles of the body.
- Slalom Jumps: A lower body conditioning exercise that works on each and every vital leg muscle.
- Weight Plate Step-Up Knee Drives: A lower body conditioning exercise for intermediates that provides strength to our body and makes our core stable through proper balance and coordination.
- Double Leg Drop Cable Pullover: A core conditioning exercise for advanced exercisers that works on the muscles in arms, core and back.
Benefits Of Step Aerobics
- It is a fun and low-impact exercise with amazing results.
- It helps burn out a huge amount of calories.
- It speeds up the process of effective weight loss.
- It tones up quite a few major muscles in our body, including the ones present in the butt and leg areas.
- It increases the flexibility of our body over time.
- It helps in improving our balance as well as endurance.
Why To Practice Step Aerobics For Weight Loss?
Before taking a plunge into this heart-pumping exercise, let us have a look at its benefits:
- It is a hassle-free workout routine that can be modified as per the requirements and fitness levels of the practitioners.
- It effectively burns calories. For example, if you are a person with a body weight of 150 lbs, practicing step aerobics for 60 minutes a day can help you burn as much as 605 calories.
- It includes lifting the entire body from one foot to another while taking steps on and off the bench rhythmically. It helps in toning up the lower section of the body at a rapid pace.
Who Can Practice Step Aerobics?
Well, you do not need to be a professional for practicing step aerobics. You need to have access to a sturdy step bench that is 6 to 12 inches long. There should be enough space for placing the feet. Most of its basic moves are simple, and anyone can perform this exercise. The complicated moves can be learnt by following video tutorials.
Safety Concerns Of Step Aerobics
Just like all other exercises, step aerobics should also be practiced with proper precautions. Otherwise, you will end up injuring yourself badly. So, here is the checklist:
- Make sure that you put on a pair of cross-training shoes while practicing step aerobics.
- Before starting your workout, warm up yourself for 10 minutes so that your muscles become relaxed, and your heart rate goes up.
- Place your step bench on a perfectly flat surface and start from the undermost level of it until you get comfortable with the entire process.
- Your foot should be placed completely on the bench whenever you take a step.
- Try to maintain a good posture all through your practice period. Keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed, and abs tight in order to avoid all sorts of injuries.
- Make sure you drink enough water before starting your workout session. It will prevent you from getting dehydrated throughout the period.
So if you want to embrace ultimate fitness, now you know what you should be doing; don’t you? Are you interested in aerobic step bench exercise? Have you ever given it a shot? Do let us know by commenting below.
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Nilankeeta Roy Chowdhury
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