Aerobic Step

What is a circuit step? (Pros and Cons)

January 16, 2023

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A circuit step is a type of portable step that is often used for exercise. A circuit step is light (typically 3-5 lbs.) and small compared to the type of exercise step seen in most gyms (26 inches by 11 inches compared to 43 inches by 16 inches).

You can see the size difference in this image:

a visual comparison of a circuit step and a gym sized step
a standard circuit step on the left and a standard gym sized step on the right

Pros of a Circuit Step (for exercise)

After testing out a circuit step in our home gym during step aerobics, plyometrics, strength training and HiiT routines we’ve come up with a list of pros to using a circuit step for exercise.

  1. It’s very light so it’s easy to change the orientation of the platform quickly during a workout from vertical to horizontal
  2. The risers lock in place so won’t come out of alignment during movement
  3. Adjusts to 2 different heights 
  4. The cost. A circuit step is much less expensive than a large health club sized exercise step.
  5. Fits easily in most home gyms

Cons of a Circuit Step 

So, let’s talk about the cons of a circuit step for exercise

  1. The fact that you can only use a circuit step at 2 heights is a drawback. One of the best ways to change up a workout is by adjusting the height of your step.
  2. Most circuit steps do NOT have a nonslip surface.
  3. You cannot use a circuit step as a weight bench. It’s too short. Your head (or bottom) will hang off the end.
  4. The size and weight of the platform makes this step dangerous during moving exercises. We often misplaced our footing during step routines causing the platform to flip over at times and generally trip us up at others. And our exercisers felt like it was too dangerous to even test out with plyometric exercises or HiiT routines where speed is encouraged.
  5. Overall, you’re limited in what you can use a circuit step for when it come to exercise.


In general, our experiment shows that a circuit step is NOT the preferred model of workout step for an avid home exerciser.

A much smarter investment (if you’re looking for a stepper to use for exercise) is a full size workout step (also called an aerobic step, workout stepper, health club sized step, exercise stepper with adjustable risers) that’s 43″ x 16″ and comes with adjustable risers (we recommend the one by One Strong Southern Girl that has patent pending locking risers).*

A circuit step is ideal for use as a stool. If you need a raised platform that gives you about 2 inches in height then a circuit step is a great option.

Other related articles…

The Best Workout Stepper on the Market (and why)

How to Use an Aerobic Step

What can you do with an aerobic step (and why you need one right now)

Will you burn more calories using an aerobic step?

The Absolute Best Home Workouts using an Exercise Step

Circuit Steps vs The Original Aerobic Sized Workout Step

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

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