The best step platform
A good home workout can save you money and keep you fit. Step platforms have been around for decades, and they're still a popular piece of home gym equipment for one simple reason: they work. Step platforms are versatile, adjustable, and come in different sizes to accommodate storage needs and fit your physical size. A step platform can make a great addition to your home gym for a relatively small cost. Our top pick, The Step Original Aerobic Platform, has everything you need, from non-skid risers to a cushioned top. Let our guide help you find the perfect way to step into better health.
Considerations when choosing step platforms
While there's no official length that defines a step platform as circuit size or health club size, typically a circuit platform is less than 30 inches long, while a health club platform is somewhere between 30 and 45 inches long. Circuit step platforms cost less, although some are so small you can barely get both feet on them. Health club step platforms may be more expensive, but they can also be used as a bench for abdominal or balance exercises.
To prevent flexing or bowing of the step platform, look for a model with a maximum weight limit that's far above your own weight. If you plan to use weights, factor in that extra weight, too. Most step platforms have a maximum weight limit between 200 and 400 pounds.
To keep from sliding across your floor or slipping off the step platform, consider the platform's grip. Platforms and/or risers with non-skid feet stay in place better on smooth surfaces. Some step platforms have plastic grooves molded into the platform's surface. However, rubber-coated tops provide the best texture and grip. Some step platforms also add cushioned support to take pressure off the joints.
Increased step height intensifies the workout. While some step platforms have a fixed height, others come with several additional rises or feet so the height can be adjusted. Adjustable models provide greater flexibility. Some step platforms are even designed to be used at an angle, opening the door to a wide range of exercises.
Some step platforms come with extra accessories to expand your exercise repertoire. These accessories may include dumbbells, exercise balls, or resistance bands. If you're new to step platforms, you can find models that come with a workout DVD to get you started. However, you can also find excellent instruction online.
Circuit step platforms with a textured surface typically cost between $20 and $40. At this price, they may or may not have height adjustability and will probably have a lower maximum weight limit. In the $40 to $60 range are a mix of circuit and health club platforms. Many, but not all, of these platforms have risers, and some have a rubber-coated surface. Large platforms with rubber-coated surfaces, extra risers, and a long list of accessories typically run $60 to $120.
Q. Do step platforms work on carpet?
A. Step platforms are safe for use on carpet. However, before you get into the thick of your workout, make sure the platform won't slip as you're using it.
Q. Can I use risers of any brand with my step platform?
A. No. Only use risers and any attachable equipment if they are included with your platform or specifically manufactured to work with it. Not only will this ensure that you won't void the warranty, but it's also a matter of safety. Risers made by a different manufacturer may not fit your platform with the same stability.
Step platforms we recommend
Best of the best: The Step Original Aerobic Platform
Our take: This health club-sized step platform will keep you in shape for years with its durable construction.
What we like: It includes four risers, providing three step heights. The polyurethane surface cushions and grips shoes for a safer workout.
What we dislike: It's on the expensive side.
Best bang for your buck: Trademark Innovations High Step
Our take: If you want a wide range of step heights for a reasonable price, this step platform might be for you.
What we like: With a maximum step height of 12 inches, you can power through some serious workouts. We love the space-saving size and maximum weight limit of 440 pounds.
What we dislike: The design isn't as stable as rectangular models.
Choice 3: Stromberg Carlson Steel Step Platform
Our take: What this step platform lacks in adjustability it makes up for in durability. It's incredibly strong and built to last.
What we like: What's not to like about the durability and stability of steel? It also locks in place at two different heights.
What we dislike: It's heavier than similarly sized plastic models.
Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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