Ever fantasize about out-sprinting your boss at the annual company-sponsored 5K? What about that annual bonus? More like annual sh-monus! But it will all pay off when your smokin’ quads and calves of steel, crush that file flinging fiend! Or, maybe your favorite elliptical is starting to feel like a kinetic cage. Perhaps the sound of clipping cycling cleats into pedals makes you yearn to be chamois free. Let step aerobics swoop into your rescue! Step aerobics, popularized in the 1980’s, has become a cross-training staple over the decades. A 20-minute step aerobic workout provides cardiovascular and muscular benefits that can boost running performance, improve your game, increase joint range-of-motion and more.
Step, Step, Step It Up!
Step aerobic workouts persist for three major reasons. One, step aerobics are a safe, effective and versatile way to train. It is also pretty darn simple and fun! You don’t have to dance like Justin Timberlake or have Lionel Messi’s fancy footwork. Heck, with this 20-minute step aerobic workout, you won’t even need an instructor to help you move.
Position your step horizontally and face the board. If you want to use music, play songs that are around 128 beats per minute, so you don’t feel inclined to rush. You can choose music that is slightly slower, depending on your comfort level. Your step should be between 4-10 inches high. Stand close enough to the platform so that you won’t over-extend your knees when you step down to the floor. When stepping up, make sure your entire foot lands on the platform. Your feet should be quiet on the bench. You might like thoroughbreds or feel like a stud, but now is not the time to sound like one as you step.
A 20-Minute Step Aerobic Workout That Will Kick Your Butt
(1 min. left foot/1 min. right) Step right/left onto the step. Step right/left off. Switch feet after a minute.
(1 min. each foot) Do the same foot pattern as the basic but add propulsion.
(1 min. each foot) Step up like you are doing a Basic Step, but instead of stepping down right away do a jumping jack on the platform. Step off and do a jack on the ground.
(2 min.) Place right foot on the left corner of the platform, lift your left knee. Step off. Place your left foot on the right corner, lift your right knee. Step down.
(2 min.) Do the same simple foot pattern you did with the knees, but kick your butt when you step up! Bend your knee so your heel hits your sweet tush.
Repeat each exercise in the series to round out your 20 minutes of cardio. Substitute kicks for knee lifts and add some big, controlled arm movements throughout to really enhance your workout. When finished, stretch your hip flexors, calves and quads to your sweaty heart’s content.