The step up is a basic movement, and the title says it all: You stand in front of a bench or platform and you simply step up. How hard could it be? But with proper form, speed and the right amount of variation, this exercise is highly effective for strengthening the entire lower body, especially the glutes and hamstrings – with some bonus fat-blasting cardio benefits as well. Here are 3 of Will Claye’s favorite variations on the move:
Dumbbell Step Ups: Choose a bench or box that’s high enough to provide a challenge, but low enough so that when you begin to step onto it, your leg forms a 90-degree angle (or a little less). With a dumbbell in each hand, step up onto the platform with your left foot, pressing your weight through the left heel as you stand all the way up. At the top of the movement, lift your right knee to the chest in a mini-crunch. Slowly lower back down. Repeat for 10-15 reps and then switch sides.
Box Jumps: Stand with the left foot on the floor, and lift the right foot onto a box as if you’re about to do a step up. Then, pressing through the right heel, explode up, jumping as high as you can. At the top of the movement, switch feet, so that when you land, your left foot is on the box and your right foot is on the floor. Be sure to land gently on the ball of your foot, knees slightly bent for a gentler impact. Do 10-15 on each side.
Weighted Box Jumps: Stand in front of a box with a dumbbell in each hand. From there, bend your knees into a half-squat, abs tight and eyes forward. Explode upward, jumping onto the center of the box. Stand upright on the box, and step back down one leg at a time. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
Ready to step OUTSIDE the box? Just stay tuned. We’ve got Will’s favorite outdoor workouts coming your way.