A Word About Step

Step aerobics is to group fitness what the immigration issue is to politics — divisive.  Members either love it or hate it, walk out if the instructor taps, get confused if she doesn’t, one bench or four…  As for me… I’m one who loves to take a highly-choreographed, super-advanced, prancing all over as many benches as we can fit in the room.  But teaching it?  Holy crap, I can barely cue one move every four counts and I seem to fall off the step at least once a quarter.  (I’d like to blame my clubs slippery floors, but alas, I am that clumsy.) 

So I admit it, I am a weak Step instructor.  How, then, does one explain why one of the more popular classes at one gym where I teach happens to be my Step class?  Is it possible to teach Step using the K.I.S.S. forumla and still keep die-hard Steppers satisfied?  I dare say it is.  Here are my secrets to satisfying all ends of the Step Spectrum.

Radio Play 

The most important element to my class is that I use a format called Radio Play.   If you aren’t familiar with the Radio Play concept, I invite you to check out what Kelli has to say about it over at FitClasses.com.  Basically, I load up my mp3 Player with hot songs from Napster with bpm of 125-140 and treat every song as a unique experience.  There is a natural break between songs where students can hydrate, refresh, and reload.  Every week I pick a new playlist.  Even if I repeat the more popular songs, there is always something fresh to play.

Keep It Super Simple! 

Every song has a unique feeling, and thus a unique set of moves that will flow with the song.  Some songs are heart-pumping, high-repetition drills, others are fun and dancey.  The best part is that there is practically no choreography.  I have taken out the element that frustrates both me and the novice participant and replaced it with simple, energizing moves that match the energy of the music.  Because the music and the moves flow together, everything feels more natural.  Occasionally,  I will work in moves that are more intricate by layering them up across two or three songs.  No confusion and no more walking out because they just couldn’t keep up.  By providing something for everyone, no one leaves disappointed.  Or dry.   We also eliminate the dreaded “holding pattern.” and we also do not hvae to slow down for demonstrations or practicing hard combos.  The non-stop action, which only pauses if the member chooses to rest between songs, provides the workout most steppers want.

Try it Yourself

To illustrate my concept, I am attaching a PDF file for my most recent Radio Play class and links to the playlist at Napster.  The “theme” is all Dance Remixes of fairly recent hits.  You’ll notice that the steps are very very very simple.  I infuse “flavor” into every move, which keeps it from being as dry and as dull as it appears on paper.  Work through the steps and add in extra difficulty or grooviness as your style and members demand.  I also recommend that you take the Workshop at FitClasses.  It is a great way to keep a popular and highly-effective Group Modality from further dividing your Steppers!

The whole playlist: 

Radio Step – Dance Remixes on Napster
Song By Song:

Thnks fr th Mmrs [Lenny B Long Term Memory] by Fall Out Boy
Don’t Stop The Music by Rihanna
Just Fine [Main] by Mary J. Blige
Beautiful Liar [Freemasons Club Remix] by Beyoncé and Shakira
Ain’t No Other Man [Junior Vasquez Radio Mix] by Christina Aguilera
Wait For You (Nevins Synth Club Mix) by Elliott Yamin
Since U Been Gone [Jason Nevins Club Mixshow] by Kelly Clarkson
Because Of You [Sunfreakz Radio Edit] by Ne-Yo
Bubbly by Colbie Caillat

Radio Step – Dance Remixes Choreography List

Have fun, and if you try it out, let me know how it goes!


2 thoughts on “A Word About Step

  1. Krista – I was just reading your blog and I CAN’T BELIEVE how much we are totally on the same page about teaching step…

    PLEASE come to my workshops on May 17th (www.fitclasses.com/upcoming_workshops). Of course you will be my guest. My sister is coming from Charleston so you guys might even be able to ride together. Or maybe you could get a group together from your gym.

    Email me through the site at http://www.fitclasses.com/about_the_author

  2. Thanks for the invite, Kelli! I am in! I love your concept and can’t wait to take your workshop. If any of you are in the Columbia, SC area, please visit FitClasses.com, get yourself signed up and we’ll have a pow-wow!

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