MUSCLES IT WORKS
Gluteals (Butt), Quadriceps (Front of Upper Legs), Hamstrings (Back of Upper Legs), Core (Abdominals & Low Back)
HOW TO DO IT
Stand behind a step or sturdy, stationary box or in front of stairs. Stand with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Step your entire right foot up onto the step and as you lift yourself onto the step, lift your left knee towards your chest. Step your left foot back down to the ground, followed by your right foot. Complete one set (10 step-ups) on your right leg before switching to the left leg.
SETS & REPS
Do 1 to 3 sets of 10 step-ups on each leg.
Do 1 to 3 sets at 60 seconds each on each leg.
WEIGHT OR RESISTANCE
None (only body weight); or a 15- to 24-lb. body bar; or 8- to 15-lb. dumbbells. If using weight, most men will start at the upper end of the weight range; most women will start at the lower end.
Sturdy step, stair, bench; body bar or dumbbells are optional.
DON'T DO THIS MOVE IF
If you have knee problems make sure the height of your step or box is no taller than 12 inches.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT
You should feel your gluteals (butt), quadriceps (front of the thighs), and hamstrings (back of the thighs) working during this exercise. Your core (abdominals and low back) will also be challenged. To maintain correct form, keep your chest lifted and abdominals engaged throughout the set, and step your entire foot onto the step.
HOW TO MAKE IT EASIER
Do not bring your knee toward your chest as you step up. Instead, for example, step your right foot onto the step, followed by your left foot. Step your right foot back down to the ground, followed by your left foot. You can also do this exercise by decreasing the height of the step, stair, or box.
HOW TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF OR PROGRESS
If you can do 2 additional repetitions per set or complete 60 seconds without getting tired, consider adding repetitions, time, and/or sets. For example, instead of doing 10 repetitions for 3 sets, try 15 repetitions for 3 sets. To increase intensity without changing sets or time, try adding a body bar or dumbbells, or by increasing the height of the step, stair, or plyometric box. To do the step-up with a body bar, lay the bar across your shoulders behind your head and hold the bar with both hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. The body bar should rest on the padding of your back just below your neck; you can also hold a dumbbell in each hand if you prefer. Do the step-up as described above.
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