This post is about the best exercise stepper platforms for step aerobics, including a buyers guide and reviews of the top 7 step benches on the market.
Step aerobics was introduced in the 1980s by fitness instructor Gin Miller. She had been advised to step up and down onto a milk crate to aid in the rehabilitation of a knee injury. She developed this simple technique and choreographed what would become one of the most popular aerobics classes of the 80s and 90s.
These aerobics workouts are super popular to this day – in gyms as well as at home. The affordability and relatively small form of the exercise step makes it the ideal home workout tool.
Below, you will find a guide to buying the best exercise stepper platform, as well as a selection of the best steps on the market.
Table of Contents
How To Use An Exercise Step
A step aerobic workout can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be, depending on the difficulty of the choreography, the height of the step itself, and the speed at which you complete exercises.
An exercise step is a short platform that is designed for users to step onto and off again. Most models measure 42 inches wide by 16 inches, but there are smaller models available.
The step should be placed in a clear area and you need to make sure there are no obstructions in the surrounding area. Most step exercises include arm movements, whether for balance or to enhance the exercise and improve the aerobic workout.
Step aerobics is generally very safe but, as with any exercise, you need to be careful. Read our guide on how to minimize the risk of injury to ensure you’re working out safely.
How High Should An Exercise Platform Be?
8 inches is the most common step height. This allows a person of average size to step onto the platform and off again without the knee joint having to flex deeper than 90 degrees, while offering enough resistance to benefit the body and the cardiovascular system.
Some exercise stepper platforms models can be adjusted down to 4 inches, and some include risers that can be used to increase the height of the step and the intensity of the workout.
It’s important that your knee does not bend to less than a 90 degree angle.
The Benefits Of Step Exercise
Step aerobics offers a high-intensity cardio workout without putting stress on the joints. It can improve overall fitness levels and can be used to help with weight loss while improving your cardiovascular health.
The equipment required for step aerobics is minimal, with a good stepper costing very little compared to alternative home gym equipment. The equipment is also simple, which means that it requires little maintenance and is not easily damaged.
Workout intensity can be increased according to your fitness level. Beginners can ease gently into the workout while more advanced athletes can still put themselves through an intensive cardio workout.
Check out our full article on the benefits of step aerobics.
How Do Step Exercisers Work The Body?
Step aerobics is seen, primarily, as a cardiovascular workout. A 1 hour workout has been shown to be the equivalent of running flat out for 7 miles.
It gets the heart and the lungs working at an increased rate which means that you are training them to pump blood and oxygen through the body more effectively and more efficiently. A regular step workout will give you greater energy levels and improved fitness.
This type of exercise is also known to improve musculoskeletal health, increasing bone density and strength. Your balance will improve and improved skeletal density can stave off some degenerative bone diseases.
Despite the musculoskeletal benefits, step aerobics is low impact. There is minimal risk of injury and damage to the joints, because you should keep one foot on the ground (or step) at all times during a workout.
The first time you use an aerobic stepper platform, you will notice the burn in your legs. You primarily use your legs throughout this type of workout and the unilateral workout means that you will improve the strength in your legs individually and jointly.
How To Choose The Best Exercise Stepper Platform?
- Slip Resistance – Especially during a fast, intense workout, you will want a sure footing so that you can exercise without the worry of slipping and getting injured. Ensure that the step you buy has a non-slip or slip-resistant surface. This is usually achieved through a textured surface.
- Sturdy Build – Safety is the most important element to a good workout. Your step should be secure and it should be strong enough to withstand regular use. A sturdy base should be coupled with non-slip feet to prevent movement, and the step itself should be made from sturdy materials to prevent it breaking and you falling.
- Risers And Height Adjustment – An adjustable height means that you can decrease or increase the intensity of a workout, and it enables you to ensure that you don’t over flex your leg. 4 inches is the minimum height for a step while experienced participants can use a platform up to 10 inches in height. Adjustment might be achieved through the inclusion of step risers, which are included in some models.
- Length – Step length is important. 42” is considered the safe standard for an exercise step. Smaller steps are suitable for low intensity workouts, but if you intend to perform high-intensity aerobic workouts, this is the minimum length you should buy. Longer steps are available for aerobics workouts.
- Weight Capacity – Mini steppers will usually hold up to 200lbs, while standard exercise steps can hold 350 pounds or more. Consider your weight, as well as the additional load from impact movements. You can also carry additional weight to intensify your workout. If you intend to do this, include this in your calculation to ensure that your step will carry the required weight.
- Price – It is important that you choose an aerobic step that meets the above requirements, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth to be effective. Remember that the first routine was developed using a milk crate, and while we suggest using something a lot sturdier and more reliable than this, there is no reason to break the bank for this kind of equipment, so we have taken cost into account when determining the best exercise step.
The 7 Best Exercise Stepper Platforms For Your Home Aerobics Workout
1 – The Step Original Aerobic Platform
The Step Original Aerobic Platform is a circuit size aerobic step and measures 30” in length. It features a non-slip surface and the 4” height can be increased incrementally up to 8” for a more intensive workout. The height is increased through the use of four risers. Using the risers not only increases the height of the step but also increases the weight capacity from 275lbs to 400lbs. The lightweight, durable polyethylene step is durable and the base has non-skid pads to prevent slipping.
Buyers have praised it for its sturdiness, although a small number of reviewers have suggested that it could offer slightly better slip resistance.
- Weight capacity up to 400lbs
- Risers allow you to increase height to 8”
- Some minor complaints that the slip-resistance could be improved
2 – Best Choice Products 30” Step
The Best Choice Products 30” Step is a cheap home aerobic step. It can be used at 4”, 6”, or 8” height and has a maximum weight capacity of 550lbs, which is the largest of any models. It is 30” in length, which makes it more portable than a full-size 42” gym version, although if you are into rigorous cardio workouts with advanced moves, you may consider this too small.
The step is made from PVC plastic, and there have been some reports of the step slipping on surfaces like lino, as well as the occasional report of the step cracking.
- Convenient, compact storage design
- Claims to support up to 550lbs
- Some reviews claim the step has cracked
- Could provide greater slip resistance on surfaces like lino
3 – Reebok Original Aerobic Step
Reebok is a widely respected name in the gym and fitness industry, and if you have ever taken a local step class, there is a good chance you would have used a Reebok stepper. The Reebok Original Aerobic Step, which has a maximum weight capacity of 242lbs and is 40” in length, so is the same size as many step class participants will be used to. The standard height is 6” but this can be increased to 8” or 10” using the risers.
This is one of the most expensive standard steps you can buy, but the quality is certainly there.
- Made by Reebok
- 40” step
- Height can be increased to 10”
- Height only starts at 6”
- More expensive than virtually all other models
4 – KLB Sport Adjustable Step
The KLB Sport Adjustable Step is 31” long and 4” high, although the height can be adjusted to 6” or 8” using the included risers. The stepper also includes rubber non-slip feet to offer improved grip on any floor surface and is a reasonably priced model. It claims to have a 550lbs weight limit, which sets it apart as being incredibly strong.
- Reasonable price
- Claims to support up to 550lbs in weight
- No 10” option
- Only 31” in length, would still prefer a full size option
5 – GoPlus Step
The GoPlus Step is one of the few steps on the market, along with the Reebok above, that can be considered a full size stepper platform, which is important if you’re integrating lunges and jumps into your routine. The 43” length means that you retain stability even with the most vigorous of step workout.
It claims to support a maximum weight of 500lbs, but some reviewers have said that it feels weak in the middle of the step itself. There have also been a small number of complaints that the surface is slippery if wet or sweaty. The price is less than the Reebok, for a stepper of the same size.
- Full 43” size
- Adjust height between 4”, 6”, and 8”
- Claims to hold 500lbs maximum weight
- Available in a choice of colors, if that matters to you
- Some complaints of a slippery surface and weak middle
- Quite a high price for a relatively simple piece of equipment
6 – Giantex 31” Aerobic Step Platform
The Giantex 31” Aerobic Step Platform is a cheap aerobics stepper. It is shorter than those found at the gym and fitness clubs, but it has a maximum weight capacity of 440lbs and you can alter the height of the step from 4” to 6” or 8” using the included step risers. Giantex has also added a honeycomb surface to the ABS step, ensuring that it is strong and durable. The board has received positive reviews from the majority of buyers.
- Decent price
- 440lbs weight capacity
- Positive reviews
- 31” not a full size board
7 – EveryMile 31” Stepper
The EveryMile 31” Stepper is a compact aerobic step that, through the use of the included risers, can be set up at 4”, 6” or 8” and it is one of the more affordable options, although not the cheapest. It does have a textured surface, although a number of reviews claim that this does not help prevent slipping, especially if you sweat during a workout.
It has a weight limit of 220lbs, which is at the low end of the boards, and there have been some complaints over the width of the step barely being enough to accommodate feet.
- A relatively inexpensive model
- Stowing the feet offers decent storage capabilities
- Only 220lbs weight capacity
- A narrow and short board that is compact but should be bigger
- The non-slip surface doesn’t prevent all slips
Choosing The Best Exercise Step Platform
It is very difficult to look beyond the Reebok Original Stepper. It is a full-size board that accommodates people of all sizes and shoe sizes and is praised for its sturdiness and strength.
It is the most expensive option on the list, though, and if you’re looking for a budget board or are seriously limited for space then the Giantex Aerobic Step enjoys a lot of positive reviews from buyers and regular users.
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