“ Brand: Reebok / Type: Stepper „
My first memory of step aerobics was from Rosemary Conley workout tapes from the late eighties. While gym outfits may have changed somewhat, steppers such as the Reebok Step Professional are still an essential part of a gym studio. Amazon has this particular model for £56.99 which seems expensive for what you get but it makes a surprisingly versatile workout aid.
The platform is made of sturdy grey plastic with detachable floorblocks in a contrasting black colour. These floorblocks are detachable, meaning that you can set them at three different heights by changing their orientation and clicking them into different points on the main block. The lowest level is suitable for lighter exercise and also renders the whole unit compact and easy to store en masse. The middle level (pictured) is my preferred height for most exercises. It feels very sturdy yet still makes you work a little harder. The highest level makes you work harder still and I would rarely use this setting. However, it's useful to have the option of making your workout more explosive and making repetitions a little more challenging. The main block has a rubberised non-slip surface that's easy to grip and doesn't have a textured pattern like some models. This is a real advantage when doing 'tricep dip' exercises as it's means you won't end up with a crazy pattern imprinted on the palms of your hands!
So what exercises can you do with the Step Professional? Of course, the traditional 'Rosemary Conley' step-ups but also plenty of arm exercises like tricep dips and even press-ups. You can also do 'bench hops' which don't involve any actual contact with the bench itself. Adjusting the height means you can easily regulate how hard you want to work and the Step Professional has a simple 'jigsaw puzzle' style design that even children can master.
Any disadvantages? Our gym has dozens of these blocks and they do show and tear after a few years, especially after being unclicked and clicked back together hundreds of times. Frequently floorblocks get lost, rendering the whole unit useless, although admittedly this is a problem with any stepper. At 12kg in weight they're not the most portable of steppers but the payoff is better stability.