Aerobic step-ups are the most basic exercise you can do with the aerobic step. However, knowing how to do the step-ups properly is key to getting the maximum benefit of the routine. Before you begin walking up and down on your step, take the time to understand what muscles you’ll be working on and how you can safely maximize your workout with the aerobic step.
Aerobic step-ups, like many of the exercises performed with the aerobic step, target muscles in your legs and pelvis, specifically the quadriceps in the front of the thigh, the hamstrings on the back of the thigh and knee and the glutes in the buttocks. With regular workouts on the aerobic step, your thighs and buttocks can become more toned.
The Step-Up Basics
To perform the basic aerobic step-up, place your aerobic step anywhere between four and ten inches before you (the taller you are, the greater distance you’ll need). Stand erect, making sure that your posture is straight and you’re not slouching. You’ll be bending the knees quite a lot with this exercise, but everything else should stay erect. (Unless you add one of the challenges discussed later in this article).
Place one foot on the step, taking care to put down your heel first before your toes. Lift the other foot up to the step, again taking care to put your weight on your heel before your toes. Next, without turning around, put that same first leg back down on the ground behind you, this time landing with your toes first and then placing your heel on the ground. Have the other leg follow suit.
Repeat this ten to sixteen times, or “reps,” (start with ten if this is your first time using the aerobic step) for one set. You can pause there or repeat this set up to two more times. After you have completed your maximum set per leg, repeat the reps and sets with the other leg. If you started by placing your right leg on the step first in the previous set(s), for example, you now need to put your left leg down on the step first for another one to three sets of ten to sixteen reps.
If you have knee problems, do not attempt this exercise. Otherwise, be sure that you’re bending both of your knees as you step to avoid straining your muscles. Move as quickly as you can comfortably step up and down, but do not move so quickly that you lose your balance. Start slower and you can add speed over time as you become accustomed to the routine.
Adding Challenges to the Routine
Once you’ve become used to the step-up routine, you can add challenges in order to give yourself a more intense workout. The most basic added challenge is to start carrying weights in each hand as you complete the exercise. You do not need to move the weights, as the additional weight in your hands alone can make the workout more intense, but you can work on your arms at the same if you’re coordinated enough. You can also add additional height to your step.