Step aerobic choreography has advanced from simply stepping up and down on and off a step. The knee repeater is an exercise that uses the corners of the step. It fatigues your legs, provides variety and transitions easily from one foot to the other. It can be changed, increased in intensity or substituted with another exercise that uses the same number of counts, beats or steps, when you need to mix it up.
The three-knee repeater is performed with one foot on the corner of the bench. The opposite knee raises three times and touches the floor between each knee raise. Then, you march for two counts on the floor as you transition to the other side. Knee repeaters can also be done with five knees, but the International Fitness Association does not recommend repetitions higher than five. The three-knee repeater challenges balance and improves the strength of the hip flexors, quadriceps and glutes.
A directional change is an easy way to alter knee repeaters. Instead of tapping your foot on the floor to the back side of the step, you can tap your foot to the side, front and then the back before you transition to the other leg. The directional change can also be vertical. Instead of keeping your foot stable on the corner of the bench, propel yourself up as your knee raises to add a plyometric element to the repeater. The plyometric jump improves the explosive power of the leg muscles and adds a high-intensity energy to the movement. It is good when you want to elevate the heart rate higher for endurance-improving benefits.
The knee is replaced with another leg exercise for an alternate repeater move. Instead of lifting the knee three times, curl the hamstring and raise your foot toward your backside three times. This movement contracts the hamstrings on the backs of your upper legs. You can also perform leg abduction and raise your straight leg out to the side for the repeaters, to strengthen your outer thighs. Or, kick your repeater leg three times to the front and at a low level, so you can do the repeaters quickly and tighten your quads. If kickboxing is one of your favorites, you can change the kick to side kick repeater, which tightens the outer thighs.
The knee repeater uses eight counts. The first count is to place your foot on the corner. Counts two through six are the knee lifts and floor taps. Counts seven and eight are the transitions to the other corner. An alternative to the knee repeater uses the same number of counts. If you want to eliminate repeaters altogether, which is easier for beginners, perform two alternating knee lifts for eight counts. For example, step up with your right foot and raise your left knee. Step your left foot to the floor followed by your right. Step up with your left foot and raise your right knee. Step your right foot to the floor followed by your left. Your heart rate does not elevate as high with the alternating lifts as it does with the repeaters, plus for those with balance challenges, this movement is more stable since your weight shifts from one foot to the other instead of remaining on one side.
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