How To Do Step-Ups Properly – Great Exercise For Stronger Quads, Hamstrings & Glutes


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When it comes to the best leg exercises that require the least amount of equipment, step-ups are one of my favorites. They’re a great metabolic leg exercise that works all the main muscle groups in our legs (quads, hamstrings, and glutes). And on top of that, they also improve our overall conditioning, functional strength, and joint health.

But, as with any good exercise and dynamic motion like this, it’s important to know how to do step-ups properly to make them both effective and safe. I’m going to demonstrate the proper form for you, and if you have any questions on sets, reps, and how to work these into your routine, I’m going to lay it all out for you in this quick guide.

The Complete Beginner’s Guide (0:35)

One of the reasons step-ups are such a great leg exercise is that you can do them right at home. All you need is a stable bench or box somewhere around knee height, and you can get started.

NOTE: we don’t recommend using a workout bench like we did in this video. There are safer options.

How To Do Step-Ups Properly – Form Demonstration (1:19)

For this exercise tutorial, we’re going to be looking at one variation of step-ups in particular. Not only is it one of my favorites to add at the end of a leg workout, but it’s also a great place to start for beginners to develop a strong technique.

Step-Ups – Step-by-step Technique

Step 1: Set yourself in front of a solid step, box, or bench (preferably the surface should be as flat and solid as possible).

Step 2: Step up with one leg, placing your foot firmly on the step/box/bench.

Step 3: Lean your weight forward onto your lead leg and use it to step up onto the step/box/bench.
*Your back leg should not enable the step up. The effort should all go through your lead leg.

Step 4: Raise your trailing leg up too, but do not touch it down on the step/box/bench.

Step 5: Step back down onto your trailing leg first, keeping yourself controlled and balanced throughout.

Step 6: Switch legs and repeat steps 2-5 on the opposite leg. Continue to alternate for the prescribed amount of time or reps.

Routine Recommendations (2:35)

Because step-ups are a metabolic strength exercise, combining elements of muscle building with cardio, they’re best used at the end of your workouts as a closer. Get your main motions like squats, deadlifts, etc… done first and top it off with around 2 sets of 10-15 reps each leg.

Now if your focus is more on the metabolic fat loss benefits of this exercise, you’ll want to do timed sets for about 30-45 seconds. Set a timer and continuously alternate each leg stepping up and down. Doing a couple sets of this in a circuit is a great addition to a cardio workout for fat loss and conditioning.

I hope you enjoy this guide, my friend!

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**Disclaimer: This information on how to lose 30 pounds in a month for men is for reference purposes ONLY and cannot replace personal information you can and should discuss with your Doctor. If you have any concerns about your health, you should see your Doctor immediately. Results vary by individual, so we do not guarantee you will get the same results as any shown here or on our website.

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