Step aerobics is a form of aerobic power distinguished from other types of aerobic exercise by its use of an elevated platform (the step).
The height can be tailored to individual needs by inserting risers under the step. Step aerobics classes are offered at many gyms and fitness centers which have a group exercise program.
Step aerobics was innovated by Gin Miller around 1989. After a knee injury, Gin consulted with an orthopedic doctor, who recommended she strengthen the muscles supporting the knee by stepping up and down on a milk crate and from this she developed the step regimen.
Step aerobics can also be involved in dancing games, such as Dance Dance Revolution or In the Groove.
The "basic" step involves stepping one foot first on the step then the other on top of the platform then stepping the first foot back on the floor with the second following. A "right basic" would involve stepping right foot up, then the left, then returning to the floor alternating right then left.
Many instructors of step will switch immediately between different moves, for example between a right basic and a left basic without any intervening moves, forcing people to "tap" their foot instead of shifting weight. However, one form of step is called tap-free or smooth step in which feet always alternate without the ambiguous "taps" that can make learning step difficult for beginners. This requires a bit of foresight and planning by the instructor in order to insert a transitional or switching move that maintains the natural alternating weight shift akin to walking. For example, from a series of right basics one may insert a "knee up" (which involves stepping up and lifting the knee and returning the lifted leg to the ground, thereby switching feet) and then continuing to a left basic. However, this requires planning and the extra beats required for the transitional move.
Common Moves include:
Corner knee (or corner kick)
Repeater knee (aka Triple knee)