Pros: Good tread on top; has many purposes; durable.
Cons: Can cause injuries. The rubber doesn't hold on the bottom.
I started taking Step Aerobics when it was still new. The trend has been around for about 15 years. After several years I stopped due to a back injury and only in the past year got on one again. The Original Aerobic Step by Bollinger, (also called the Original Club Step) which my gym uses, is so much more versatile than you might imagine.
Please note that although the product says Bollinger on it (including the risers) Escalde Industries has taken over this product from Bollinger. Also please note that I did some research while reviewing this Step. I like Spri products. It seems they have a step as well. I called them because I was confused by the same names and was told that they don't make the Step; someone makes it for them. Looking into it further it seems that Body Universe does however The Original Club Step or the Original Aerobic Step are one and the same no matter whose name is on it.
What is The Original Aerobic Step?
The Aerobic Step originally by Bollinger may have been the step that all gyms used for their Step classes. Step classes (Our gym only has one called Steppin but the Aerobic Step is used in many other classes.) are classes to music that require a good deal (in my opinion) of coordination and cardio vascular conditioning. Of course you will go at your own pace; most teachers should show modifications and your ability to do the steps will get better over time. I always felt and still do when one of my classes uses the Aerobic Step for fancy moves that one needs to be a dancer and know the choreography ahead of time to have a chance at not hurting yourself or not feeling downright silly. In fact I found information at http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0675/is_3_19/ai_75085420 that states, "What was once considered one of the safest and easiest forms of group exercise has evolved into a complex and potentially high risk form of physical activity....Adding risers (They are square plastic forms that go under the step to make it higher.) increases the intensity 12-15%...adding arm movement 12% and using propulsion (i.e. power- jumping over the step rather than walking over it) raised the intensity 35%)." The article echoes my feeling about just how dangerous Step classes can be. In spite of the danger if used properly and differently, the Aerobic Step is fun and the increased intensity is terrific for many of us.
The Aerobic Step has a surface much of which is covered by black tread. It is about 40 inches long and 14 inches wide. I find the tread on the Aerobic Step to be more than adequate. Slipping off the Aerobic Step isnt the problem. The problem occurs because 14 inches is not that wide when doing fancy turns and jumps. One of my instructors is constantly saying watch your step.
Under the Aerobic Step you will find rubber floor pads for traction. It is possible that due to the times these the Aerobic Step are used the rubber has worn down. Our gym is only two years old (give or take) but that is a fact. There is a solution to the slipping of the Aerobic Step. Whether you put it on risers (which also have the not very secure rubber floor pads) or use it flat on the floor, wet the rubber pads. You will find that this makes them adhere to the floor better. Also make sure that if you do use risers the Aerobic Step is locked into place (It doesnt actually lock but it fits securely on it.) or you are guaranteed an injury.
The Aerobic Step is made of resin and I am told can hold 500 pounds of weight. I have never seen the Aerobic Step break. I have never seen one even cracked and we have many in the aerobics room.
Jo, Your Personal Trainer, gives you uses for the Aerobic Step
You probably are most familiar with using the Aerobic Step as Ive described above. There are so many other ways we use it in my Totally Tone class, Pure Cardio class, Kickin class just to name a few.
One very simple use is as a balance. Stand it up and hold onto it lightly. Now lift one leg and then the other. Repeat 100 times as we do in "Totally Tone." I guarantee your butt will thank you. Do you think you need fancy equipment to work your calves? You dont. Just hold on to the Aerobic Step, cross one ankle behind the other and lift on the toes of the foot on the ground. You will feel a burn if you do a lot of repetitions which is what is done in classes versus heavy weights, equal to that on a calf machine. While you are standing behind the Aerobic Step tilt it forward and feel the great stretch in your back.
Now I am going to put it the risers that come with this under the Aerobic Step. If flat on the floor there is a natural 4 inch rise; with one set I will get a 6 inch rise and with 2 under it I will get an 8 inch rise. I never use two sets in a cardio class. In fact because of the potential injury I keep the Aerobic Step on the floor without risers. Maybe I will use one set depending on the class. However for my purposes now I am using all 4.
At this height I can lie down holding weight and work my chest area doing dumbbell bench presses for example. I can work my chest doing flyes because Im high enough off the ground. These are chest exercises that have me bringing the weights out by my side and then squeezing my pectoral muscles as the weights come up again.
A novel approach to dead lifts (do not do if you have a bad back) is to slide the Aerobic Step off the risers and put your feet on the risers. This makes the dead lift a little more difficult. Holding weights or a Body Bar bend with a flat back keeping the weights close to your body. Keep your knees bent slightly please! Then bring them back up with a straight back.
The Aerobic Step can also be used for abdominal work. As soon as I put my legs up I get a more intense ab workout. So I will lie on a mat and put my legs on the Aerobic Step. I will not do crunches.
The Aerobic Step can be used very nicely to work my triceps (the back of the upper arm) in an exercise call the dip. (Do not do if you have shoulder problems.) Facing away from the Aerobic Step my hands are on the Aerobic Step. My legs are straight out so I am off the floor. I lower myself down and then come up again. This is a great workout.
The only complaint I have which can be remedied is that the tread hurts. When doing, for example, these dips, the tread digs into my hands. I can either wear gloves, put a towel down or grin and bear it. Ive done all. You will have to see what works best for you.
The Original Aerobic Step 1205 has been around for a very long time. It is much more than a piece of equipment used in a class. It offers assistance for a whole body workout with the use of props. Resistance bands can easily to added to your routine on the Aerobic Step as well as weights and the Body Bar I mentioned. At around $90 (look around) it is a nice addition to your home gym.
I hope this has helped you but please feel free to leave a comment or question. Please be careful and talk with your doctor if you have any medical conditions or are just starting an exercise program and are over 40 if you are a man or over 50 if you are a woman. Thanks for reading. jo
A fairly comprehensive list of my fitness reviews can be found on my profile page.