Beginner Step Aerobics Routines
Step aerobics offers a fun and effective workout for all fitness levels. It provides a cardiovascular workout to improve heart and lung health and burns calories for weight loss. A variety of step aerobics moves can be put together to form routines ranging from low to high impact, and varying in complexity.
Similar to dance aerobics, step aerobics routines are designed around 32-beat segments that are divided into four-, eight- or 16-count moves. For example, a 32-beat segment can include eight counts right basic, eight counts right V-steps, eight counts turn step and eight counts knee repeater. Many instructors construct routines with 32 counts on the right lead -- stepping with the right leg first -- and then repeat the same 32-count segment on the left lead.
Use the step bench on an even surface and wear quality cross-training shoes. Start with the step on the lowest level until you are comfortable with stepping and your fitness improves. As you step, place your foot entirely on the bench. Never use music that is faster than 128-beats a minute to avoid tripping. Always start a step aerobic workout with a 10-minute warmup designed to gradually increase heart rate and loosen the muscles. Many instructors warm up by practicing the basic steps they plan to cover in the full workout.
The basic step is the easiest and often the first move taught in a step class. Moving with the beat of the music, perform a right basic step by stepping up on the bench with your right foot, then the left foot. Step down with the right foot, followed by the left foot. A single basic step uses four counts -- up right, up left, down right, down left -- and is often done in two sets to make eight counts. Perform eight counts and switch to the left basic. To make the lead foot change, step off the bench with your right foot, tap your left foot on the floor and immediately step on the bench with the left foot, doing left basics for eight counts. Allow your arms to move in a way that is comfortable. You can increase the intensity of the basic step by lifting your arms overhead as you step up and lowering them as you step down.
The V-step is similar to the basic step making it ideal for the beginner. The feet move up and down on the step the same as in a basic. The difference is that when you step up on the bench, you place your right foot on the right side of the bench and the left one on the left side. Return to a regular stance when you step on the floor. The move makes a "V" with wide feet on the bench and narrow feet on the floor. Similar to the basic, you can switch your lead leg by tapping your toe on the floor then immediately stepping up with the new lead. Some instructors teach alternating V-steps in which you alternate between the right and left lead on every step up. Arm movements follow the feet and can be done low to the side, shoulder level or above the head for more intensity. For example, step up on the bench with your right foot, placing your right arm out from your side about 12 inches. Repeat with the left foot and arm. Step down with your right foot, pushing your right arm down near your leg, and repeating on the left. A single V-step uses four counts and is often perform twice for eight counts.
Turn step is a fun and easy move similar to an alternating V-step. The difference is that you let your body turn with the step. Step on the bench with your right foot, then your left foot. Turn your body to the right, stepping down to the side of the bench on your right foot. Tap the floor with your left foot, then step on the bench with the left foot then the right foot. Turn your body to the left, as you step off the bench with the right foot. Swing your right arm out to the side on the right lead, and the left arm on the left lead. Doing a turn step in both directions uses eight counts. You can do a single four-count turn step to change the lead leg.
Although a little more challenging, the knee repeater is a common move in all levels of step classes. Start by stepping on the bench with your right foot. Do three quick knee lifts with the left knee, tapping the floor with the left toe between each knee lift. After the third knee lift, step on the floor with the left foot, then the right foot. You can repeat again on the right foot by tapping the right toe and immediately stepping back on the bench. Or, after your knee repeater, step down on the right foot and step up on the left foot to lift the right knee. A single knee repeater uses eight counts.
Once you know the steps and counts, you can put them together in any 32-count combination:
Routine 1: 2 Right Basic 8 counts 2 Right V-Step 8 Counts 2 Turnstep 8 Count 1 Right Knee Repeater Switch to the left lead and repeat.
Routine 2: 2 Right Basic 8 counts 2 Knee Repeaters 16 counts 1 Right V-Step 4 counts 1 Right Turnstep 4 counts With the one turnstep, you automatically change to the opposite lead so you can repeat the above routine on the other side.
Routine 3: 1 Right Knee repeater 8 counts 1 Right Turnstep 4 counts 1 Left Basic 4 counts 1 Left Knee Repeater 8 counts 1 Left Turnstep 4 counts 1 Right Basic 4 counts Routine 3 includes both the right and left leads.
Leslie Truex has been telecommuting and freelancing since 1994. She wrote the "The Work-At-Home Success Bible" and is a career/business and writing instructor at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Truex has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Willamette University and a Master of Social Work from California State University-Sacramento. She has been an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified fitness instructor since 2001.