Total Gym STEP Spotlight part II shows how this attachment can be used in intermediate and advanced exercises to create a challenging, calorie crunching workout that’s fun. (Part I blog post here: The NEW Total Gym STEP Attachment.) The STEP is similar to the squat stand, with the added benefit of being engineered to provide rebound. The platform is rectangular in shape with a large surface area from which to propel yourself. Its springiness absorbs impact energy and transmits it back into the body so you can jump higher. Although those who are recovering from injuries and require low impact on the joints can use it, it’s also great for plyometric work, butt and thigh workouts, and cardio training.
Get a Jump on the Competition
All beginning movements using the STEP are no-impact. Even the elderly can use the STEP platform. But once you’re ready to progress your exercises, the STEP allows you to add in low-impact jumping. Even though the Total Gym focuses on low impact movements, you can still engage in plyometric, explosive exercises. Quick bursts that take a muscle from concentric to eccentric contraction helps build speed and strength, which is especially useful in sports that involve jumping and sprinting (e.g. basketball, volleyball, soccer, rugby, track and field.) You can do squats, knee lifts and kicks where one or both feet leave the platform to train the glutes, quads and hamstrings. It adds a new dimension to jogging workouts too. Be sure to pay attention to form and how you land: always bend your knees to protect your joints, and always warm up the muscles before doing any plyometric exercise.
STEP Up Your Training
The following nine exercises for the STEP, which attaches easily to the base of any Total Gym, will take your workout to the next level. You can also circuit train by using the Total Gym STEP between strength exercises to enhance the aerobic activity of the workout.
Unhook the cable pulley and adjust the height on the column to one that’s challenging. Insert the safety hitch pin. Lay on the glideboard with your head toward the column and your feet on the STEP. Be sure your hair and clothing are secured so that nothing gets caught in the rails. The STEP is split in the middle for single leg work, so use caution to avoid placing the feet in the space. Warm up by jogging or cycling (if you have a Cyclo Trainer).
Intermediate Level Workout
- Two-footed Hops (with soft knees): Bend the knees, then push off the STEP and straighten the legs as you point the toes. Land softly with slightly bent knees and feet in first position with heels touching and hips turned out.
- Alternating Hops with Single Leg Knee Lift: Start with one knee up at hip-height and the other leg extended. Push off the STEP and quickly switch the knee that’s up. When you get going, this will feel like a high knee jog.
- Alternating Hops with Single Leg Kicks: Start with one leg extended out at hip-height and the other leg extended to the STEP. Push off the STEP and quickly switch legs so the other one is extended in front of you. Alternate sides.
- Tick Tock: Stand with one foot on the STEP and the other leg abducted slightly away from midline. Push off the STEP and abduct that leg as the other foot comes to midline and lands on the STEP. Alternate sides like a pendulum.
Advanced Level Workout
- Squat Jump: Squat down, then forcefully push off and bring both knees to chest. Land in squat.
- Split Jump: Push off the STEP forcefully and quickly abduct and then adduct the legs as the glideboard goes up the rails. Land softly as the glideboard returns to the bottom of the rails.
- Split Jump with Reach -Through: Start the movement as above, but with arms extended over the head. When you’re at the top of the move with legs split, reach both arms between the straddled legs. Then lay back again before landing on the STEP.
- Side-lying Single Leg Squat Hop with Lateral Leg Abduction: Lay on one side with hips stacked and one foot on the STEP platform piece that’s in front of your body. Bend this leg as you extend the top leg out over the STEP. Push off the STEP and abduct the top leg at the same time. Do both sides.
- Jumping Scissor Legs: This is a very challenging movement that demands speed and concentration. Starting with legs bent and feet in first position (heels touching and toes out), push off the STEP forcefully. Straighten the knees and crisscross the legs at the calves with the toes pointed. Then land in first position with heels touching and knees bent.