Aerobic Step

Circuit Steps vs the Original Aerobic Sized Step (what’s the difference?)

January 1, 2022

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Here’s your list of the best aerobic step designs for every woman’s home gym (and workouts) in 2022. These are the top aerobic stepper styles to not only add intensity to your home exercise but also the smartest steps to buy for safety and function.

Before you buy an aerobic step you need to decide what size you’re going to need–a smaller circuit step or a full health club (aka the Original) aerobic step?

This chart breaks down the basic differences between the two styles.

Circuit Aerobic Steps vs. Health Club (the Original) Aerobic Steps

Length (inches)up to 28″up to 43″
Width (inches)11-16″about 16″
Weight (lbs.)6-7.5about 17.5
(platform + 4 risers)
Functionlimitedendless possibilities
Price$25-$65over $100

After using an aerobic step in my home workouts for 20+ years, I don’t recommend circuit sized steps for home exercise because the function of these steps is too limited to be useful.

While you might save money on the purchase, you severely limit the way you’ll be able to use your aerobic step by buying a circuit size and the trade off isn’t worth it.

Let me explain…

You will not be able to use a circuit step for exercises on your back.

Circuit steps are too short to be used for any exercises where you need full support of your spine. (Your head or bottom will hang off one end of the step.)

a circuit step will not support your entire spine when you do exercises on your back
You cannot get full spine support for exercises on your back using a circuit step

Circuit steps are so light that they can easily flip if you place your foot on a corner on accident (I’ve done it).

Circuit steps can’t be used any higher than about 4 inches. The gym-sized steps can easily be modified (and remain a safe option) at 8-10 inches high.

The surface of most circuit steps is smooth (aka slick) which can be dangerous.

The surface of most circuit steps is so small it’s easy to misplace your foot and fall (I’ve done this, too).

Here are my recommendations for your aerobic step…

My top recommendation for a health club sized aerobic step for home exercise is the design by One Strong Southern Girl

We set out to design an aerobic step that could be used for every kind of exercise (maximum functionality) and be as safe as possible for the exerciser.

You can safely use the gym sized aerobic step by One Strong Southern Girl for any kind of exercise you’d do with an aerobic step.

It’s the ideal size for Les Mills workouts (including Body Pump and Body Step routines), Cathe Friedrich workouts and any cardio interval you can think of including Hiit, plyometrics and circuit training. They’re also the ideal size for MOSSA (Group Blast and Group Power) and Xtreme Hip Hop Aerobics classes.

These aerobic steps are also perfect for use as a weight bench.

The bottom (underside) of the aerobic step by One Strong Southern Girl is uniquely different from my #2 recommendation (below).

You’ll find extra rubber tips and a design made to keep the risers lined up under these steps (compared to the Original aerobic step).

there are twice as many rubber safety tips on the bottom of the aerobic step by One Strong Southern Girl
There are twice as many rubber safety tips on the underside of the aerobic step platform design by One Strong Southern Girl

The surface of the aerobic step by One Strong Southern Girl is a soft rubber material that’s comfortable on for your back and hands and nonslip for dynamic exercises on your feet.

My 2nd recommendation for a gym sized aerobic step for home exercise is the Original aerobic step

the original aerobic step

These gym sized aerobic steps are the right size for versatility and functionality.

There are 4 important differences between this model and the one by One Strong Southern Girl

  1. there are twice as many rubber safety tips on the underside of the aerobic steps by One Strong Southern Girl
  2. the surface of the Original aerobic step is an uncomfortable rough texture for your hands and back (but also rubber)
  3. the Original aerobic step only comes in gray ( we love the beautiful pop of color you can add to your home gym with the design by One Strong Southern Girl)
  4. The One Strong Southern Girl aerobic step comes with patent pending locking risers

And if you have your heart set on a circuit step then here’s how to pick one…

Get one with a surface area that’s at least 16″ wide.

Pick a style that has blocks that snap into place. For these small, light steps I like the ‘risers’ (they’re more like blocks than risers in circuit steps) to snap in place so they’re less likely to move out of place when you’re using the step.

Make sure your footwear has a good grip on it when you use your circuit step.

Put a mat under your circuit step if you’re exercising on a hard surface.

Whatever aerobic step style you choose for your home gym make sure you’re having fun!

An aerobic step is one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment you can buy for your home gym.

Learn more about aerobic steps in these articles:

The Aerobic Step Guide

How to Use an Aerobic Step

Absolute Best Home Workouts Using an Aerobic Step

What can you do with an aerobic exercise step? (And why you need one right now)

Aerobic Step Shop (start shopping for a modern full size aerobic step)

Revolutionizing Fitness: One Strong Southern Girl’s Quest to Update the Classic Aerobic Exercise Step

Will You Burn More Calories Using an Aerobic Step?

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