The step-up exercise works as an excellent exercise for the pelvic core. In addition, you can add dumbbells to the exercise to increase the load on the target muscles. Also, the exercise is adjustable to give an effective and safe workout for individuals of all fitness levels. That is why you can fit the step-up exercise in almost any exercise routine to boost strength in the legs. You will especially note an increase in strength in the glutes and the upper leg.
The step-up exercise helps to improve stability, balance, and proprioception of the body. This is because of the demand to control the weight as you move up and down, back and forth. Also, it strengthens the legs on an individual scale. This helps to build strength in each leg.
Step-up exercise is easily doable in any place, as you will only require a box or a bench with some weights. The exercise is an excellent alternative to most pelvic exercises, like plyometric jumping. It is because this exercise is relatively easier to perform and has a lower impact.
Steps to Perform
You will need to stand with a step, a plyometric box, or a bench right in front of you. Now, hold two dumbbells at the height of your shoulders. You will then need to follow these steps:
- Step-up using your right foot. Press through your heel as you straighten the right leg.
- Now, bring your left foot towards your right foot on the top of the step
- Bend the right knee and then gradually step back down using your other foot
- Now, bring your right foot down near the other foot present on the ground.
You will need to perform these steps to do a step-up exercise.
Muscles it Works
Posterior chain muscles, including the hamstrings and the glutes, are the target muscles of this exercise. The step-up exercise also targets the quadriceps, which gives you overall more muscular lower limbs. People with relatively weaker legs or those who need to run and perform running sports can use this exercise. The step-up exercise is ideal for those who want to target all major muscle groups of the legs and the hips.
What you get is overall better performance of your pelvic core and your lower limbs. Also, it is excellent for improving balance in the body as it gives a better range of motion to the body. Finally, as you perform this exercise regularly, you get an overall better muscle tone in your legs.
Physical Skill it Improves.
Running and sports that involve running require strong and flexible lower limbs. The step-up exercise improves the overall stamina in the legs. It also works in muscle toning of the lower limbs that result in better performance. People who play football or basketball can take advantage of practicing this activity regularly. You can get better results if you add weight to your exercise.
Incorrect Ways to Perform
You can get muscle injury or a sprain from this exercise if you don’t take care of your form. Some of the incorrect ways of doing this exercise include:
It is incorrect to pass your knees over your toes as you perform this exercise. You need to protect the knees of the exercising leg by avoiding pushing it past your toes as you step up. If you move the knee too forward, it will place more stress on your knees.
You need to make sure your knees don’t adjust during the step-up exercise. The knees on the active leg should track over the toes, especially the second and the third ones. Don’t let your knees collapse inside or outside.
You need to work from your leading leg. First, bring your trailing leg up, which will count as dead weight. It will reduce the weight on your leading leg if you push up with your lower leg.
Some people may round their backs when performing the step-up exercise. It can do more damage than good. You might need to lean forward slightly, so you don’t stress your knee joint. When you do so, you need to hold your torso upright and straight. Keep your chest up instead of making your back go round.
Modifications to Exercise
There are different modifications that you can make to the conventional step-up exercise. These include:
1. Step-Up with No Weights
Beginners or people with medical conditions might go for a step-up exercise without weights. You will need to follow similar instructions. However, keep the arms loosely across the sides rather than holding any weight. People who are undergoing knee rehabilitation may need to do this modification to the conventional step-up exercise.
2. Step-Up with Barbell
You can also attempt a step-up exercise with a barbell. You will need to place the barbell on your shoulders. Place it behind your neck, right where your shoulders end. You might need to use a heavier weight for the modification as your lower body supports the weight. This is helpful, as now your arms don’t solely support that weight anymore.
3. Dynamic Step-Up
An explosive step-up exercise helps you to amplify your power. You will need to use one foot on one step. As you perform the activity, you can propel your body straight up as you go off the step. Afterward, you land both feet on the step before finally stepping down. You can alternate the foot that you want to lead with for repeating the step-up exercise.
These are some facts that you need to know about step-up exercises. The key is to start by using small, gradual steps. Build your ground slowly and steadily. You can perform many modifications that involve weight, speed, and agility. Only your imagination limits what you can do with this exercise!