Step Ups are an exercise that I love to use with my clients. They are great for building strength in your legs. They help improve your balance. They can get your heart rate going, and give you a good cardio workout. Oh, and they are also good for lifting that booty! All in all, the Step Up does a lot of great things for your body.
It’s really important to do your Step Ups correctly. First, it’s important for your safety. You want to make sure you are stable throughout the exercise. And as always, doing your exercises properly allows you to get the most out of the exercise.
Step Ups can be done on a proper Step Up bench, like my Reebok step bench as seen above. If you don’t have a Step Up bench, you can use a step stool like the one below, or even your stairs at home. Just be sure that whatever you are using is sturdy, doesn’t rock or shift easily, and is capable of bearing your weight.
Steps to Successful Step Ups
Just ‘stepping up’ is not enough. You want to be sure that you use the following tips to get the most out of this exercise. A lot of people think that it’s the leg that’s on the floor that’s doing all the work. But really, the secret is to make sure that the leg that’s up on the bench is working too!
So how do you focus on the leg that’s on the bench? As you step up, think about pushing down into the leg that’s up on the bench. As soon as you do that, you will feel the muscles engage. Then push down into that heel. Once you have that leg solidly on the bench, you can take your other leg, and push off from the floor.
When you are in the right position, your shoulder, hip, and knee will be in a slightly forward leaning pose, like you are getting ready to run. But instead of running, you are going to push down into your heel, step up, and plant your foot on the step so you can find your balance before carefully coming back down to the floor, leaning into it, pushing down into your heel, and stepping up. And when you focus on this, and pay attention, you will notice that it’s actually the leg that’s on the bench that’s doing the heavy lifting!
For those of you who love a list, let’s break it down:
- Plant a foot firmly on the step
- Push down through the heel that is on the step
- Let your knee come forward a little- You don’t want to go too far over, just be sure that your knee is over your ankle and lean forward into the movement
- Push off from the floor with your other leg, allowing it to come up to the bench briefly, before stepping back down
- Repeat until you have completed all of your reps for that leg
- Switch legs and repeat until you have completed all of your reps
Now all of a sudden, your Step Ups are a much more effective exercise for strengthening your legs and a much safer way to work on your balance.
Here’s a video that I put together that shows you exactly what to do for your Step Ups.