Incorporates numerous features for an optimal workout, such as cushioned non-slip top, non-skid riser platforms and rugged construction.
On the higher end of the price spectrum, but the price is in line with the top quality it provides.
Sports four risers for the option of a high-step workout. Combines lightweight construction with a sleek, space-saving design.
Not as sturdy as other models we tested.
Offers a basic design with risers that are rugged and simple to stack. Three adjustable heights for various workouts. Can be easily stored.
It's a bit bulky compared to others we reviewed.
A unique design that boasts high-grade steel construction and easy-to-fold legs.
Has only two height options, and it's heavy compared to similar-sized models.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A step platform is a deceptively simple tool that can be used to work a variety of muscle groups, and owning one means you don’t have to leave your home to get a good workout. Their common applications include aerobics and Pilates, but step platforms offer a variety of ways to exercise and train.
Basic models are simply a raised platform with a grippy surface, while others can be adjusted to a range of heights and angles. Some can even convert into workout benches with attachments like resistance cables. The size of step platforms varies greatly, and choosing the right size for you means considering your available space and what types of exercises you want to perform.
While most step platforms are reasonably affordable, it’s important to consider your needs to find one that will last you for years. Continue reading to learn more about step platforms and the different styles available. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at the step platforms we think stand out from the rest.
When choosing a step platform, think about the type of exercises you intend to use it for. If you’re unsure, a basic model that includes a few risers might be a good choice. If you have something more specific in mind, such as weight lifting or abdominal exercises, look for a tool designed specifically for the job.
Many step platforms have a fixed height, but others include risers or other adjusting methods to raise and lower the platform. Risers typically adjust the height in two-inch increments. In most cases, a step platform with risers includes two risers, but some come with more risers to achieve a height of eight inches or more.
If you have limited space in your home, you might opt for a compact step platform that can be easily stowed away. However, you should bear in mind the impact that size has on safety and the variety of exercises you can perform with your step platform. A bigger surface is a larger target for your feet, reducing the risk of injury.
Circuit: Circuit-size step platforms are generally smaller, though there’s no specific size that defines one as a “circuit” step platform. In general, these are less than 30 inches long. Some are so small that it can be difficult to put both feet on the platform. While a circuit platform might work well for some basic stepping exercises, it’s generally not recommended for abdominal exercises or weight training because the platform can’t fully support your back and neck when used as a bench.
Aerobic or health club: This size step platform is the largest available and is more versatile than circuit step platforms. One of these can be used as a stepping platform or as a bench. In some cases, it can be angled using the included risers. If you have space and hope to use your platform for several types of exercises, this is your best option. These platforms are typically 35 to 45 inches long.
Look for a step platform with a weight capacity well above your own weight. Not only will this help you find a platform that doesn’t flex or feel flimsy under your feet but it also gives you a platform that still functions well when you have dumbbells in your hands. Most step platforms can support 200 pounds or more, but some are capable of handling up to 400 pounds. In general, the higher the capacity, the less likely that the platform will flex under your weight.
Almost any step platform has nonskid feet and some sort of surface to prevent slipping. There are two main types of surface: textured and rubber-coated.
Feet: You should note whether the feet of the platform and risers are nonskid to reduce the chance of injury while exercising. If you do purchase a step platform without nonskid feet, consider placing it on a yoga mat or other grippy surface to provide additional traction.
Textured surface: This typically has grooves that allow your shoes to grip the plastic.
Rubber-coated surface: This is somewhat more reliable and might be more comfortable to use than a textured surface because the rubber provides some cushioning. In addition, stepping and jumping on a rubber surface is generally quieter than on a grooved plastic surface.
While most step platforms are similar in design, some include additional features and functions that increase the variety of exercises you can perform.
If you’re hoping to pick up some additional accessories, some step platforms include things like dumbbells and exercise balls. Though less common, some models include resistance cables that attach to the platform.
Risers and angled platforms
Take note of the number of risers a step platform includes or whether the height of the platform can be adjusted. Exercising with a higher step usually leads to more calories burned per hour. Some models can also be angled by placing the risers on only one end, allowing you to use the platform for abdominal exercises. Not all step platforms with risers are capable of this, however. The platform and risers should be designed to stay securely in place when the platform is angled.
If you’re new to using a step platform, consider looking for a model that includes an exercise booklet or DVD to help get you started. These guides can range from sparse instructions to thorough workouts.
Inexpensive: Step platforms that cost $20 to $40 are often circuit size and might not include risers or height adjustment. The surface is often textured, but it isn’t always rubber-coated. The weight limit could be on the low side, too.
Mid-range: Spend $40 to $60 and you’ll find step platforms in a range of sizes, many of which come with a set of risers and have a rubber-coated surface.
Expensive: Many step platforms in the $60 to $120 range include accessories like dumbbells or exercise DVDs. In addition, they might convert into benches for additional weight training exercises. These step platforms almost always have a rubber-coated surface and are highly durable.
Keep the surface of your step platform clean. This will help prevent slipping during workouts.
Only use compatible risers to raise or angle your step platform. Using improper risers could result in injury.
Opt for a rubber surface. If you plan to use your step platform for weight training or abdominal exercises, a platform with a rubber surface is far easier on your back than a textured plastic surface.
Look online for tips and exercises. Not all step platforms include recommended exercises, but there are countless online videos and resources that you can access for free.
Step platforms come in different styles, and many include additional functions and accessories to add variety to your workout. For a step platform that may well function as the centerpiece of your home gym, the Escape Fitness Deck is an excellent option if you’re willing to spend a bit more than the average platform costs. With two height settings and step and bench modes, this is an all-around piece of equipment that can adapt easily to different exercises. For a basic step that can be angled for abdominal exercises, consider The Step Freestyle Aerobic Platform. Measuring 28.5 inches long, this is a circuit platform with a textured high-density polyethylene surface. The shorter length means that you can achieve a steeper angle using fewer risers, though it has a smaller surface than an aerobic platform.
Q. What muscle groups can I focus on using a step platform?
A. Most people think of using a step platform to focus on leg muscles like glutes, calves, and hamstrings, but you can also use one to work your core muscles and even biceps, triceps, and pectorals.
Q. How safe are step platforms?
A. Due to the low-impact nature of most of the exercises done with a step platform, the risk of injury is fairly low. Most injuries involving step platforms are a result of a platform that’s set too high or improper foot placement.
Q. Can I put a step platform on carpeted floor?
A. You can, but you make sure that the feet or risers won’t slide as you move onto and off of the platform.