What is a Step Class?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2019
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A step class is an aerobic fitness class which is designed to provide people with cardio and strength training. People often take step classes to burn fat, but these classes also have a number of other benefits. Before undertaking any type of exercise, people should check with their doctors to make sure that the exercise is not contraindicated, and to find out if there are any special precautions which should be observed while exercising.

In a step class, an instructor stands at the front of the room, usually facing the class, and students align themselves in staggered rows next to small steps, platforms with risers and an adjustable height. The class is usually done to music which often has a fast-paced, strong beat. Instructor and students move through a series of exercises which involve stepping on and off the step.

While this may not sound very complex or demanding, a step class is a hard workout. Some of the moves can be very challenging, and new students often struggle while they get used to the class. In advanced classes, instructors may use two steps and a variety of complex moves and sequences to get students as active as possible. Step classes frequently last an hour. Some go straight through, and others allow students to take breaks.


Step classes elevate heart rate, providing cardiovascular exercise, and they also help to tone and shape muscles. In addition, taking a step class can improve coordination, balance, and stamina. In fact, sometimes it is recommended for people who are in physical therapy so that they can build up strength. Step classes for older adults and people who are recovering from injuries are available to help them improve balance and coordination in an environment where they don't feel like they need to keep up with young, athletic students.

It is also possible to do step aerobics at home. One advantage to taking a step class, however, is that students can be motivated and supported by fellow students, and that the instructor provides advice about form and safety which keeps students healthy and safe while they exercise. In addition, taking a step class in a gym can provide people with access to other aerobics and fitness classes which they can use to develop a balanced exercise routine.

Many gyms allow people to buy passes for classes, and to take a few classes for free on a trial basis. One thing to remember with step classes is that while the first few classes can seem impossibly hard, most students learn the steps very quickly, and instructors and more experienced students don't judge new students who have trouble following; they were there once too!


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Post 2

@anon274290: Something else to remember is that, as a beginner, you will probably want to start with the lowest step. When I took a step class, the risers were not height-adjustable, and I would often take half the class with the step and half without. Nothing to be ashamed of if you do that, and you'll still get a great workout.

Post 1

Thanks for the info. I have my first step class tonight and am a little anxious about it! I feel more at ease now!

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