Step-ups exercise works on all the major muscle groups in your lower body. Although, the quads are hit the most, but this exercise involves glutes, hamstrings and calves also.
In this article is shown How To Do Alternating Step ups Exercise At Home, its benefits & a VIDEO demonstrating its correct form & proper movements.
Step-ups Exercise Benefits
It is an excellent exercise for building strength in quadriceps, the muscles in the front of your thighs.
It hits the posterior chain, mainly glutes and hamstrings.
It strengthens each leg individually, so ensures that you are building strength equally on each side.
Because you are stepping up and down with one leg at a time, this exercise improves your balancing & stabilization abilities, which is a boon for the seniors.
And, step-ups can be done almost anywhere, as the only equipment needed is a step, sturdy chair or bench.
How To Do Step ups At Home?
Choose a sturdy box, bench or any other platform of height that is not more than your knee height (lower for beginners and increasing height as they gain strength). Stand tall facing it with your feet positioned about hip-width distance apart. Place your arms down by your sides or on your hips, whichever you feel is more comfortable. This is your start position.
(i) Step up onto the box with your right foot in a steady and controlled motion, planting the whole of the foot on the box.
(ii) While tightening glutes & abdominal muscles, drive up through your right leg and stand on the bench with both feet placed next to each other. Pause for a moment with both feet up on the box.
(iii) Step down with the right foot and follow with the left, returning to the starting position. Repeat this movement, alternating the leading leg each time. Perform the movement for a total of 10 to 15 times per leg. This will complete one set.
(iv) Do 2-3 sets, resting for a minute between each set.
(v) During the movement maintain your posture straight & upright and do not allow your knee to go beyond your toes.
Step ups Form – Mistakes & Tips:
To maximize this exercise benefits, avoid these mistakes:
(i) Protecting Your Knees: To protect your knees, don’t allow your active leg knee move forward beyond your toes when you step up. This way you ensure that your posterior chain muscles (glutes and hamstrings) contribute more, putting less stress your knees.
(ii) Leading Leg To Take Load: Don’t get tempted to push your body up with your lower leg because then you will not get full benefits of this exercise. To maximize benefits, the active (leading) leg should work, bringing the trailing leg up basically as dead weight.
(iii) Rounding the Back: You may have to lean a little bit forward to avoid stressing the knee joint. But as you do this, try to hold your torso as straight and upright as you can, keeping your chest up, and avoid rounding your back.
(iv) Knee Alignment: The knee on your leading leg should track over your second and third toes. Avoid allowing it collapse out or in.
Watch this video to learn how to do Alternating Step ups correctly: