How to Make Step Boxes for Exercise

man stepping

Improving your overall health is just a few steps away. An aerobic stepper can help you improve your cardio endurance, strengthen your legs and burn calories. Manufactured steppers are usually made of plastic, are adjustable to heights of 4, 6 or 8 inches and can be expensive. But homemade versions, which are not difficult to make, can provide the same benefits at a fraction of the cost. The height of the box depends on your fitness and skill level, the American Council on Exercise notes. Keep this in mind when making your box.

Measure and cut on a saw two 2-by-4-inch board sections 2 feet long and two sections 10 inches long. These are the sides of your step box.

Assemble the sides to make the step box frame. Place the two 2-foot sections on a flat surface so they are on their short edge and parallel to each other, 10 inches apart. Sandwich the two 10-inch sections, on edge, between the longer sections, one at each end. Hold the upright sections together with quick clamps.

Adjust the short sections so their sides are flush with the ends of the two longer sections and reclamp. Drill pilot holes from the outside of each longer section into the shorter end sections. Unclamp the wood, run a bead of glue at each butt joint, reclamp and insert two wood screws in the left short section. Repeat the process with the right side of the frame.

Measure the dimensions of the top and bottom frame with a tape measure. Take the measurements from the outer edges, side to side and end to end. Cut to size two pieces of 3/4-inch plywood for the top and bottom of the step box on a table saw or with a circular saw.

Run a bead of wood glue around the top edge of the frame. Set the top plywood section on the frame and adjust it so the sides are flush with the sides of the frame. Evenly space and insert six screws through the plywood along the longer sides and four screws along the shorter sides. Wipe away any glue that may have oozed out with a damp rag. Flip the assembly over and repeat the process for the other side of the box.

Allow the step box to dry, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Smooth the edges with sandpaper. Cut three 24-inch strips of anti-slip tape. Evenly space and stick them to the top of step box.


Many home improvement stores will cut the 2-by-4-inch lumber to size.

The completed step box measures approximately 5 inches high. Work with 2-by-6-inch lumber and follow the instructions for a box closer to 7 inches high.

Anti-slip tape can be found at most home improvement stores.


Use the step box on a flat, non-slip floor to avoid accidents.

If you have chronic knee problems, consult your doctor before doing step exercises.