Why Should You do Step-Ups?

Squats are a fantastic exercise for legs and buttocks but many do not have enough mobility to perform it and the exercise is very difficult to do at home with a lot of weight. Step Ups then appear as a very good alternative. The exercise is lunge in combination with a squat just like regular squats but without back strain. You will train the buttocks, front and back thighs but not the lower back and even if the torso is allowed to work a little, it is not as heavy as at Squats.

You can perform the exercise with only body weight, but it is easy to make it heavier with dumbbells in each hand or a barbell behind your neck.

Exercise Details for Step-Ups

  • Primary Muscle
    Gluteus, Quads
  • Secondary Muscle
  • Equipment
    Body weight, Bumbbell, Barbell
  • Level


Select a suitable box to step on. It should not be higher than you get less than 90 degrees of knee angle in the leg you step up with. Feel free to take a lower height initially. Place one foot on the drawer. The whole foot should be on the box, not just the toes. If you want, in this position you can also have a dumbbell in each hand or a barbell behind the neck. Dumbbells are preferable because if you fall in the exercise with a barbell behind your neck, this can end really badly with a box in front of you. Pull your shoulders back and push your chest forward. Make sure you have a straight upper body. It should remain straight and upright throughout the exercise, do not bend forward.


Using only the leg standing on the box, push yourself upwards. Your bent leg that is on the box should therefore straighten so that the body goes up. You should not take charge with the whole body and above all do not push away with your other leg. Only the bent leg should work. Your other leg should only hang loose when you push yourself upwards. You should go all the way up with your leg, straighten your knee. Step back and do the movement again.

The further back you are with your support leg, the one standing on the floor, the more you will train your butt in this exercise. If you stand close to the box with that leg, the front thighs will be trained the most.

Tips for Step-Ups

  • A good alternative to squats
  • Your knees should be at less than a 90 degrees angle in relation to the box when doing the “step-ups”.
  • Stand with your whole foot on the box, not just your toes
  • Pull back the shoulders and pinch the shoulder blades together, push the chest forward
  • Only work with the leg that is on the box, do not use force from the other leg
  • Do not swing your arms
  • Your upper body should be upright at all times
  • Do not go down too fast with the other foot to help when you step up, stand still for a second on one leg before putting the other on the box
  • Go down softly when you step down from the box. Do not have a straight static leg, it will hurt your knee
  • The further back you stand with your leg on the floor, the more glutes you train
  • The exercise works well for home training
  • Make the exercise more difficult by holding dumbbells in your hands

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