Step Ups


Step Ups

Welcome to our Step Ups Exercise main page!

Here we’ll explain how to do this leg exercise and tell you why you should include it in your Leg Workouts and other Weight Training Programs.

So why should you include this exercise in your workout routines?

The short of it is that this leg exercise:

  • improves muscular imbalances,
  • increases your maxes on squats and deadlifts,
  • is one of the best leg exercises to burn fat,
  • and can also be used to effectively gain muscle mass.

Continue reading for more detailed information on these exercise benefits or skip directly to our explanation of how to do this exercise.

Stepups Exercise Benefits

Improve Muscular Imbalances and Increase your Squats and Deadlifts

Step Ups are a unilateral movement as the lead leg (stepping leg) is trained independently as you execute a repetition. Due to this, during the leg exercise you are only able to use an amount of weight that your weakest leg can lift. Using maximum resistance for your weakest leg helps to improve symmetry and strength imbalances so your weakest leg will stop lacking.

Although most of us don’t know it, during bilateral exercises (both legs/arms moving the weight at the same time), we tend to favor one side during the lift or at the most difficult position of the lift. During squats, for example, we may favor our right side at the deepest position of the squat when your quadriceps and hamstrings are parallel to the floor. In this scenario, your left leg, the weaker leg, can serve as a chink in the chain and limit your progress and strength gains.

Gain Muscle Mass and Burn Body Fat with this Compound Exercise

Like all of our Best Leg Exercises, Step Ups are a complete leg exercise. This popular movement primarily targets your quadriceps, but almost equally works yours glutes and hamstrings and also relies on your calves to complete the lift. In fact, the further your stepping distance, the more your hamstrings and glutes are emphasized.

Because Step Ups are a Compound Exercise and call upon so many muscles to complete the lift, they burn more calories and trigger the release of more muscle building testosterone than isolation leg exercises like Leg Extensions. Due to this, we’ve included all the leg exercises listed below with our Strength Training Exercises as well as our Fat Burning Exercises. Make sure that your Muscle Building Workouts and Fat Loss Workouts are built around compound exercises.

How to Perform this Leg Exercise

  1. Place a bench or box one and a half to three feet in front of you.
  2. Grasp a loaded barbell with a comfortable grip and lift it off of a weight rack with it placed across your shoulders or grab dumbbells and hold them at your sides.
  3. With your left leg, step up on the bench and press upwards by extending the left hip and left knee while keeping equal pressure on the forefoot and heel.
  4. Follow with your right leg so you are standing on the bench with both feet.
  5. Step down with your left leg and then your right leg to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the movement starting with your right leg.

Step Ups Variations

Because this exercise involves such a basic movement, there aren’t a lot of variations like there are with our other popular leg exercises.

The options are: use no weight, hold a barbell across your upper back, or hold dumbbells at your sides for added resistance.

Make sure to view our Barbell Step Ups and Dumbbell Step Ups exercise pages for more pictures, exercise instructions, and tips on how to get the most out of these weight training exercises.

Leg Exercises by Primary Muscle Trained

To access more weight lifting exercises sorted by primary muscle trained, head to our Weight Training Exercises main page or link directly to all of our leg exercises.

Our leg exercises are broken down in to the following pages:

  • Calf Exercises
  • Hamstring Exercises
  • Quadriceps Exercises
  • Glute Exercises

Rather than viewing exercises by primary muscle, check out these other popular Leg Exercises. Each page links to all of the variations of these popular lower body exercises.

  • Calf Raises
  • Deadlifts
  • Front Squat
  • Hack Squats
  • Lunges
  • Split Squats

Finally, if you found this page of interest, check out these related pages:
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