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Sample Class: Step With Variations

Explore the 32-count combination and add some flair.

Step classes are still alive! Many participants remain eager for creative yet easy-to-follow choreography. You can keep yours simple while retaining some of the frills that people enjoy. Here’s an example: This class starts with one 32-count step combination for the warmup and continues with four variations on that combo during the main segment. Try this choreography during your next step class.

Step With Variations Details

GOAL/EMPHASIS:cardiovascular workout with classic 32-count step choreography

TOTAL TIME: 50–60 minutes

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: step platforms and risers (Suggested step height is 4–6 inches for beginners, 8–10 inches for experienced participants.)

MUSIC: 32-count music at 122–129 beats per minute


    • Cue correct posture: Keep the head up, shoulders down and back, and knees soft.
    • Place the entire foot on the platform when stepping up.
    • When stepping off the platform, land close to it, heels on the ground.

Note: In each pattern, the 32-count choreography starts on the right lead and is self-reversing. Break down each move, balancing sides, and repeat on the left lead. Repetitions and counts are noted.

Warmup (5–10 minutes)

Review safety guidelines with participants as you preview the class. Use the “parent moves” from the initial 32-count combo as the warmup:

  • move A: basic step 2x
  • move B: V-step 2x
  • move C: travel knee 2x
  • move D: triple curl 1x

Cardio Conditioning (35–40 minutes)

Subsequent combos vary slightly from combo #1 (the parent moves) but retain the same number of counts.

Basic-Step Variations

Split basic (basic step with two taps behind in the middle):

  • Step up with both feet (1–2).
  • Tap R foot on floor behind you, and bring R foot back up to platform (3–4).
  • Repeat, L foot (5–6).
  • Step down with both feet (7–8).

Revolving door (stepping over bench and back again in small circle):

  • Turn 90°, step up and over bench, exiting to face back of room (1–4).
  • Repeat, facing opposite direction, exiting to face front of room (5–8).

V-Step Variations

Reverse V-step:

  • Step up and across platform, R foot, turning body to face back of room as L foot comes up (13–14).
  • Step down and across floor with R foot, turning to face front as L foot comes down (15–16).

X-step (forming letter X with your feet):

  • Do regular V-step on platform to form top of X (9–12).
  • Step backward on floor to form bottom of X (13–16).

Hangover V-step (making V shape from 90°):

  • Turn 90°.
  • Step R foot onto platform, keeping L foot on floor (x2; 9–16).

Travel-Knee Variations

Shoot the hoop:

  • Add propulsion during travel knees, bringing arms overhead as if shooting a basketball (x2; 17–24).

Knee walk-back, knee walk-up:

  • Step R foot on platform and lift L knee (17–18).
  • Step down and walk backward L, R, L (19–21).
  • Lift R knee (22).
  • Walk 2 steps forward R, L, to platform (23–24).

Knee straddle:

  • Turn 90°.
  • Step R foot up, lift L knee, straddle bench as both feet go to floor (17–20).
  • For second knee straddle in combo #4, repeat with other lead (21–24).
  • For knee exit in combo #5, step up with L foot, lift R knee, then exit step and face back of room (21–24).

Triple-Curl Variations

Curl-skate on top:

  • Facing front, step R foot on platform, curling L knee (25–26).
  • Stay on top of step and place L foot down, curling R knee (27–28), then R foot down, curling L knee (29–30).
  • Step back down with both feet on final 2 counts (31–32).

Rocking horse:

  • Step up R, curling L knee (25–26).
  • Step down L, lifting R knee (27–28).
  • Repeat with R foot, L knee (29–30).
  • Exit step (31–32).

Repeater curl/squat/curl: Similar to the rocking horse, but on counts 27–28 step L foot on ground and keep R foot on platform while executing one squat.

Cooldown/Stretch (10 minutes)

Focus on teaching simple movements such as marches, step-touches, heel digs and side taps while bringing heart rates down. Move into static stretches for all major muscle groups, including the hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Finish with ankle rotations and plantar/dorsiflexions for mobility, plus some light upper-body stretches.

Sarah Schrenk, MS

I have worked in fitness for ten years. I used to be a biologist and found it very unfulfilling. After a few years of teaching group fitness classes after work, I returned to school to get my master's degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. I have experience working one-on-one with many types of special populations and can teach many group fitness formats. Currently, my full-time job is the managing the group exercise and personal training program at a university recreation center. I'm also adjunct faculty at the university and a presenter for a national certification company.

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