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How to Do Step-Ups

3 Ways to Step It Up — No Matter Your Fitness Level

If you want to tone your backside with a cardio boost, try step-ups. Similar to walking up a flight of stairs, all you need is a small bench or platform to work your legs and glutes. Here are three levels of this basic yet effective exercise for you to consider adding to your next workout.

Beginner
Before you start, find a step or bench that when you place your foot on it, your knee is at a 90-degree angle. The weight benches or plyo boxes at the gym work best, but a dining room chair can work too.

  • To start, step up leading with the right foot, then the left, bringing both feet completely onto the bench.
  • Return to the starting position by leading with the right foot to step down to the floor, then the left, until ending with both feet on the ground.
  • Complete 20 steps before stepping with the left foot for another 20 steps.

Intermediate
This is a slight variation from the previous step-up but will challenge your balance and work your glutes even more. This works best on a step or bench lower than a chair — prepare to feel the burn!

  • Start by stepping onto the bench with your left foot.
  • Then, bring your right foot up and lift the right leg to a 90-degree angle (shown in the photo above); lower your right foot down to tap the floor. Be sure your left foot never moves as you bend and straighten your right knee. This completes one rep.
  • Repeat for 20 reps on each leg.

Advanced
Try the beginner variation explained above while holding dumbbells — starting with eight-pound weights in each hand working up to 15 pounds. If you're ready for an extra challenge, try the toe-tap version for the ultimate challenge.

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