Sample Class: One-Step, Two-Step

by Ken Alan on Jan 01, 2008

Class Take-Out

Turn your single-step class into double the fun with some creative choreography.

The start of the new year is a great time to add a new twist or two on an old standard like step training. “One-Step, Two-Step” is an interactive workout that combines motivational partner training with creative double-step choreography to bring new enthusiasm to step workouts. What better way to stay inspired than by working out with a partner when New Year’s resolutions ebb?

One-Step, Two-Step Details

FORMAT: double step
TOTAL TIME: approximately 45–60 minutes
EQUIPMENT NEEDED: one platform per person
MUSIC: instrumental, 124–128 beats per minute (bpm)
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: Practice partner double step before you teach it. To begin, set up a “unit”—two platforms placed 14 inches apart (about one platform width), parallel to one another and vertical to the room. Be clear with instructions so that participants experience success the first time.

Some useful tips:

  • Introduce partner double step at the end of a regular step class, to give participants a small taste without overwhelming them or yourself. This format differs from “follow-the-leader” single step, and initially you need to provide much more verbal instruction. At times, students are not able to see easily, because they are facing each other rather than you. They must therefore rely heavily on your exemplary verbal cuing.
  • Select your own partner wisely. Half your class follows you; the other half follows your partner. So your partner should be a fast learner who can easily follow directions and cues.
  • Pair up participants. Use nonintimidating partnering methods so no one feels left out; for example, “Pair up with someone who has a birthday within 2 months of yours.” The only prerequisite is that both platforms are the same height.
  • Briefly identify and show the unit setup, and introduce cues. (See cue descriptions below.)
  • Choose instrumental music for the introductory phase; it will go much more smoothly. (You can revert to vocal music when you’ve passed the initial learning curve.)
  • Keep choreography simple. The new orientations and approaches are fun and challenging enough. Let combinations evolve and develop over time.
  • Leave out patterns that involve a lot of turns; for instance, revolving doors, helicopters or half hop-turns. Save them for single step.

A note about the platform setup: you never set them so close together (just 14 inches apart) in a “regular” step workout. However, the close proximity allows for extra space between each unit. Use it. It’s important to have 5–6 feet between units, and about 3–4 feet between rows. Place units in staggered lines in a honeycomb layout . This gives participants ample room for moving around their units.


Interactive double step needs its own cues. Quite frequently, half the participants face or travel one way while the other half face or travel the opposite way. Specific cues articulate new directional approaches, orientations and start/finish positions. Incorporate these or similar cues to successfully instruct your bidirectional choreography.

Platforms A and B: When you are standing behind the unit facing front, the platform on the left is platform A and the platform on the right is platform B.

Center and Outside: “Center” is the space between the two platforms. “Out­side” is the opposite side from center.

Apples and Bananas: Students starting at platform A are “apples”; students starting at platform B are “bananas.”

Home: The platform or side you start from.

Opposite: Your partner’s platform.

Front Leg: The leg closer to the front of the room when you are facing center or outside.

Back Leg: The leg closer to the back of the room when you are facing center or outside.

Inside Leg: The leg closer to the center of the unit when you are facing front or back.

Outside Leg: The leg farther from the center of the unit when you are facing front or back.

Mirror: To travel/move in the same direction as your partner.

Same Lead: To travel/move in the opposite direction to your partner while leading with the same leg as your partner.

Warm-Up (7–10 minutes)

Mirror drills prepare students for partner double step, allowing them to gradually feel at ease with a training partner as they learn the skill of moving in the same direction while leading on the opposite leg from their partner.

Starting position (SP): Outside approach, facing center.

Sample instructional cue: “Start at your home side, outside approach, facing center. You are facing your partner. March in place, starting on your front leg. For apples, that is your left leg. For bananas, it’s your right leg. In a few moments, you’ll start with a front-leg basic step three times. Apples, follow me. Bananas, follow my partner. As you do this, you should be mirroring your partner. Ready . . . ”

  • 3x basic step, front (F) lead + 1x knee lift (Everyone travels toward B of unit.)
  • 3x basic step, back (B) lead + 1x knee lift (Everyone travels toward F of unit.)
  • Repeat above two lines as needed.
  • 1x basic step, F lead (“basic-front”) + 1x knee lift
  • 1x basic step, B lead (“basic-back”) + 1x knee lift
  • Repeat above two lines as needed
  • 8x alternating (traveling) knee lift (“Mirroring your partner; traveling in the same direction.”)
  • 4x small squat; march, leading on right (R) foot, to transition to next drill
Single-Lead Drill

SP: Outside approach, facing center.
Sample instructional cue: “Stay at your home side, outside approach, face center, still facing your partner. Everyone begin a right-leg march. For apples, your back leg. Bananas, your front leg. Start with a basic right, three times. Apples, follow me. Bananas, follow my partner. This time, do not mirror your partner; travel in the opposite direction to each other. Apples will start by traveling toward the front of the unit. Bananas will start by traveling toward the back of the unit. Ready . . .”

  • 3x basic R + 1x knee lift (Apples travel F; bananas travel B.)
  • 3x basic left (L) + 1x knee lift (Apples travel B; bananas travel F.)
  • Repeat above two lines as needed.
  • 1x basic R + 1x knee lift
  • 1x basic L + 1x knee lift
  • Repeat above two lines as needed.
  • 8x alternating (traveling) knee lift (“You should not be mirroring your partner, but traveling in the opposite direction to each other.”)
Choreography Sampler (30 Minutes)

Note: Create additional combinations for a full segment.
Combo 1: Kick Ball-Change
SP: Outside approach, facing center.

  • 3x alternating kick, R foot lead
  • 1x ball-change on floor after third kick
  • 4-count walk around unit (clockwise) to opposite side; repeat in opposite direction
  • Transition (for changing lead leg and direction):
  • 3x shuffle-turn + 4-count mambo
  • Repeat with opposite foot leading; circle in opposite direction.

Combo 2: Boomerang
SP: Apples: B corner, facing diagonally F toward center. Bananas: F corner, facing diagonally B toward center.

  • boomerang R (wide turn-step, no tap; step L foot on count 4; finish at end approach of home platform)
  • basic R at end approach of home platform
  • V-step R on ends of both platforms: R foot on home platform, then L foot on opposite platform, finishing V-step at end of opposite platform
  • basic R from end of opposite platform

Repeat from the beginning, still leading R, opposite platform. Use same or similar transition as in “kick ball-change” to switch leads and directions.

Cool-Down (10 minutes)

While playing slower music (110–115 bpm), review any patterns that were challenging. Introduce new patterns or combinations for the future. Transition into a series of stretches that target specific muscle groups worked.

Ken Alan was a member of the Reebok University development team and helped introduce step training to the industry in 1989. He currently teaches at California State University in Fullerton. Contact him at

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About the Author

Ken Alan

Ken Alan IDEA Author/Presenter

Lecturer, Department of Kinesiology at Cal State Fullerton. Member, ACE Personal Trainer and Group Fitness certification exam committees. Chapter author w/ Shannon Fable, "ACSM Resources for the Group Exercise Instructor". Chapter author: AFAA's "Fitness: Theory & Practice", Chapter author, Human Kinetics' "Physical Activity Instruction of Older Adults", Chapter author, ACE's "Fitness for Travelers". Certifications: ACE, ACSM, AFAA. Co-star: Time-Life Medical Patient Education Media video series. Program design / choreographer: Richard Simmons videos. Reebok University development team member. Power Bar Team Elite member. National trainer, BeamFit, Nordic Walking. World Fitness IDEA presenter, 1984-2019