Whether you workout at home or at a gym, you have probably been exposed to and seen numerous types of workout equipment over time. Most of the equipment found in gyms and personal training studios are very effective and suit there intended purposes well. Some equipment however is so useful and practical that it bears special mention. Whether you workout in your home or in a gym, a fitness step is one of the best pieces of workout equipment on the market. In this article we’ll take a look at fitness steps and why they are such a great piece of workout equipment for the price.
Fitness steps have been around for a long time. They are also sometimes referred to as aerobics steps or exercise steps. I have personally used fitness steps literally tens of thousands of times myself, with personal training clients, and in groups that utilize step exercise. A good fitness step will last a lifetime. They are made out of durable plastic, and many of them come with a rubberized top to prevent the feet from slipping. Some fitness steps that do not have the rubberized top offer the means to purchase it separately for use only when desired. The fitness steps I have used are extremely durable. Some of the fitness steps I have used I could probably take a sledgehammer to, pound on them, and they would still be functional (I do not recommend doing this). Like many products, the quality is tied somewhat into the price. But a good fitness step is well worth it when you factor in all the many ways you can use it and how long it will likely last. Having said that, lets take a look at the five reasons why a fitness step is an essential piece of workout equipment.
Reason 1: Ease of use
There are many great exercise machines and equipment on the market today. Some of these products however require quite a bit of assembly. This can cost extra time and money. Some of the larger equipment for sale will require that you hire someone to put the machine together in order for it to be ready and safe for use. Additionally, some equipment requires regular upkeep and replacement parts as they wear out. A fitness step has got to be one of the easiest and simplest pieces of exercise equipment on the market today both to use and maintain. Once you get an exercise step, you simply take it out of the box, put it under the support blocks if you wish to use them, and you are ready to go. It literally takes a few seconds to properly setup the average exercise step. Not many pieces of fitness equipment are that easily setup.
Reason 2: The ability to work the body aerobically
One of the best aspects of having an exercise or fitness step is the ability to engage the body aerobically. What this means is that the person using the step will begin to breath heavier. This may seem intuitive to some, but consider that when working with weights, one generally does not breath hard and fast, even after doing a very heavy set. Moving the body for extended periods of time doing any sort of step exercise tends to raise the rate of breathing, heart rate, and elevates the rate at which calories are burned. There are numerous ways to do this. Some people use exercise steps to engage in plyometrics; using the step to jump up onto and down, or as an object to jump over. For those who are familiar with how to use them, fitness steps offer the user the ability to work the body aerobically. Step aerobic classes focus on this principle. Working the body aerobically yields its own benefits, which can be lowered resting heart rate, fat reduction, reduced LDL cholesterol levels, and reduced resting blood pressure for some. Fitness steps are often used by gyms and recreation facilities in step fitness classes. Such classes often focus on repetitive but aerobically demanding movements. These step fitness classes sometimes focus solely on the aerobic aspect of the workout, while some also incorporate anaerobic workouts into the routine as well. This brings us to our next reason for owning a fitness step.
Reason 3: The ability to work the body anaerobically
Anaerobic activity generally refers to resistance training. Resistance training primarily relies upon stored forms of carbohydrates for energy, unlike aerobic training, which primarily relies upon fat and oxygen for energy. There are so many resistance exercises that can be done using a fitness step, it is impossible to list them all here. Combined with a single pair of dumbbells, a person can work literally every major muscle group in the body. A few resistance exercises that can be done using a fitness step are dumbbell chest presses, seated overhead dumbbell raises, stationary lunges with one foot up on the step, standing calve raises, and dumbbell flys. These are only a few of dozens of exercises that a knowledgeable person can do with an exercise step and a single pair or dumbbells. It’s always advisable to work with a certified personal trainer if you are unfamiliar with these or any exercises. A good personal trainer can show you what exercises are best for you and how to do them safely. Keep in mind that many resistance exercises require the use of a spotter, or someone who is carefully watching you and ready to help you with any weight should you need it.
Reason 4: The ability to work one’s balance
One great feature of fitness steps is the ability to work the body’s balance. I have personally used an exercise step many times, particularly with seniors, to help in the improvement of balance. Most fitness steps offer the user the ability to purchase additional support blocks. These blocks can be added or reduced to increase the intensity and balance challenge for the user. I have found with the fitness steps that I have used that the support blocks are also very well made and durable. If one has access to multiple fitness steps, a series of steps can be setup in order to create a step exercise course whereby the person working their balance has different steps at different heights. It’s very important that people with poor balance attempting to improve it using this method work with a qualified and experienced certified personal trainer or therapist who can walk around with the person while he or she does it. This will help ensure that should the person lose balance that he or she is caught before falling by the professional helping him or her out.
Reason 5: Ease of storage
Whether you are a fitness club owner, a small personal training studio owner, or a person who works out in their home, a good fitness step is easily stored under a bed, in a closet, in a corner, or even behind a couch. Most fitness steps measure only a few feet or so in length. Their height without additional support blocks or risers is only a few inches. Small fitness studios and gyms can easily purchase multiple exercise steps and store them without taking up much space.
Final Thoughts On A Fitness Step
If you factor in the cost versus benefit of owning and using a fitness step, few other pieces of workout equipment can match it. Their ease of use and the sheer number of exercises that one can use them for make them one of the best pieces of workout equipment on the market. They take up very little space and can be stored away easily. Consider using one in your workouts. Make sure to check with your doctor before engaging in any exercise routine. Also consider working with a knowledgeable and certified personal trainer to help show what exercises are appropriate for you based on your own unique background and goals. Make sure to use a spotter when engaging in resistance training to keep you safe. Make sure to check back for more great articles on fitness related topics.