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Step Your Way to a Bikini Butt

by Sárka-Jonae Miller
See more articles by Sárka-Jonae Miller

(The Best Years in Life) Step aerobics is one of the best types of cardio exercise, but it can also be a great way to tone your hips and get you ready for bikini weather. The July 2004 edition of Harvard Heart Letter named high-impact step aerobics the second best type of gym exercise for losing weight after high-intensity stationary cycling. However, unlike stationary cycling, you don't need a large, expensive piece of equipment to do step aerobics. Also, an aerobic step and a few risers can easily slide into a closet or under your bed when not in use.

High-impact step aerobics burn around 744 calories per hour for a 155-pound person. Even low-impact step aerobics burns 520 calories per hour for a person of the same weight. High-impact step aerobics is faster paced and might involve jumping on or off the step while low-impact aerobics requires at least one foot to be on the ground or step at all times. But while step aerobics is automatically great for your calves and your quadriceps, with a little planning you can make it a great toning activity for your glutes and hips.

Getting Started

It is recommended that beginners use only the aerobic step or the step plus one riser when they're new to step aerobics, but most people work out with the step at six to eight inches high. However, you can burn an additional two calories per minute with a 10- to 12-inch step.

The basic way to do step aerobics is to simply march up and down off the step. The base should be horizontal to your body just like stairs when you walk up and down them in the traditional manner. Once you've got the hang of that, there's no need to restrict yourself to the “traditional.”

 

Glutes Buster

Your glute muscles activate when your hip moves into extension, such as when you jump into the air and your thighs move backwards from a forward flexed position. There is some work for the glutes when stepping on and off the step, but mostly it is the quads getting all the glory. Fix that by adding a little hop.

When you step your right foot onto the center of the step, instead of bringing your left foot up next, push off your right foot and switch legs in the air so that your left foot lands on the step and your right foot lands on the ground. Step your left foot down and repeat, but this time step up with your left foot and push off. It will get tiring to keep doing that repeatedly, so resume the regular marching between jumps. You can also only jump off one leg, do a few regular steps, and then do a jump with the other leg to keep it even. Jumps of any kind are not recommended for people with joint problems.

Outer Thighs

Stepping forward and then stepping back down can get boring. Change it up and target your outer thighs and glutes by turning sideways so that the aerobic step is now on your right side. Step up onto the center of the step with your right foot followed by your left. Now, step down onto the other side of the step with your right foot and then bring your left foot to the floor too. You should now be standing on the opposite side of the step ready to side step back over to the place you started. After a couple of minutes of side stepping, you should feel a burn in your hips.

Inner Thighs

If you have good balance, you can exercise your inner tights by doing a crossover step. To perform a crossover step, start by facing the aerobic step in the position you started with when doing the basic stepping on and off exercise. Begin standing slightly to the left of center. Then, place your left foot in the center of the step. This requires you to cross your left leg in front of your right. Now, step your right foot to the right but on the floor. Finish by stepping your left foot onto the floor next to your right.

Next, step back the way you came by first crossing your right leg in front of your left to place the foot onto the step. Move your left foot back to where it was in the beginning and then step your right foot down next to it. You'll end up where you started. Slowly continue cross-stepping until you feel comfortable enough to increase your speed.

Make sure you talk to your doctor before attempting step aerobics. Always wear comfortable athletic shoes that offer good support and if your aerobic step is on a hard floor, put a sticky yoga mat underneath to keep it from sliding. Your knees might also appreciate another mat or a rug to step on as well.

See also:

Simple Exercises to Strengthen and Shape Your Derrière

Exercises for Sexy, Sculpted Calves

Walk Away a Pound a Week

References:

http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/burns-calories-sit-ups-step-aerobics-7333.html
http://www.dietandfitnesstoday.com/caloriesBurnedInfo.php?id=37
http://www.dietandfitnesstoday.com/caloriesBurnedInfo.php?id=38

About the Author

Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

    

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