Step Up your Workouts: Step Up Variations and Benefits

The step-up is a classic move that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It is easy to do and targets large muscle groups throughout the lower body. Adding a few step-up variations to your workout routine will tone the legs and lift the glutes all in time for swimsuit season. Side step ups are one of the best variations that work all of those pesky problem areas. We’ll show you some ways to use side step ups for an extra fierce burn plus, share the benefits of adding them to your routine. You can be bikini-ready in no time, adding just a few fun moves to your workouts.

The Step Up Workout

Now, let’s get to the workouts. You can do these in the gym or at the home, using any object that comes up from shin to mid-thigh. Keep in mind, the higher the object is, the more difficult the box step ups. In the gym, a workout bench or box will do. At home, you can use a sturdy chair or bench to do any one of these step-up variations. Once you have an object to step onto, you can try out these variations for a good lower-body burn.Side Step Ups - box step ups workout

Side Step Ups

Side step ups are an amazing variation of the step up. Unlike the original, the side step up puts more pressure on the entire foot, working larger muscle groups in the lower body. All you need to do is place one foot flat on the side of a raised object. You’ll want to drive down into the foot to lift yourself until the feet are at the same level. Slowly lower foot back down to the ground and repeat.

Lateral Step Ups

This step-up is a great option to get the heart pumping. For this exercise, you’ll actually step up and over and object, working both legs in one rep. For this exercise, you’ll need an object that is not too wide so that you can switch feet and step to the other side easily. Start with one foot on and the other off. Step up until feet meet then, switch sides, and step down. Repeat this many times or add a small skip in the middle for a fast-paced cardio option.

Single Leg Step Up

For the single-leg step up, you’ll need to face the object you’re stepping on. Step one foot up onto the object making sure to distribute weight evenly. Try to keep the opposite leg from bouncing or moving, giving the working leg more of a burn. Lift yourself up keeping the opposite leg lifted the whole time. Once the working leg is fully extended, you can lower back down slowly until the opposite leg comes to the floor.

What About Weighted Step Ups?

You can do side step ups without any weight for a more cardio style workout. Without weight, you’re still getting a good burn, using the body weight and resistance to push through. But, when you add weight to any exercise, you increase intensity. Doing a dumbbell step up with any one of the variations above adds intensity to the workout and builds muscle.

It does this by calling the lower-body muscles to light up and get to work. Doing a set of barbell step ups, you’ll burn more calories in one workout plus, increase your stamina. Just like with any weighted exercise, you’ll want to choose a weight that allows you to complete 10 to 15 reps comfortably. As time goes on, you’ll be able to increase weight as muscles strengthen and stamina increases.Side Step Ups - barbell step ups

Step Ups Muscles Worked

The step-up may seem like a simple exercise but, there is actually a lot going on. In one simple movement, several muscles in the lower-body are activated all at once. Even without weight, step ups use body weight and resistance to increase muscle strength and tone. When adding a side step exercise to your normal workout routine, you’ll target muscles like:

Because there are so many large and small muscle groups targeted at the same time, step-ups are a great conditioning exercise. They get the body and other muscles ready for tough workouts like heavy weighted deadlifts and squats. They also improve overall performance when running or cycling, lighting up the same muscles used. This is why adding them to your workout comes with a ton of toning power and benefits, along with others which we’ll introduce you to.

Step Ups Benefits

The step-up often goes by unnoticed. These days, it seems to be all about the squat. The thing about the squat is that it can be difficult on the knees. Plus, if you’re doing the squat with incorrect form, there will be a number of problems further down the line. For both side step ups and lateral step ups, several benefits will make them your new favorite workout. These benefits include:Side Step Ups - lateral step ups

Improved Balance

One of the biggest benefits that come with side step ups is improved balance. Because you’re using one leg at a time, you’re able to strengthen one side at a time. In some exercises that use both legs, the stronger side overpowers the weaker side which doesn’t distribute the work evenly. Using one side, you’re strengthening the same small and large muscle groups at the same time.

Increased Strength

You’ll notice, adding step ups to your workout routine will strengthen the lower body. With consistent use, you’ll start to notice a difference in your overall strength to power through squats and deadlifts easier than ever. You’ll also see improvement in deadlift strength and execution, able to lift more and carry better form.

Lower-Back Protection

Those with lower back pain can do this exercise with ease. Not only will it take the pressure off of the lower back but also improve muscle groups that improve posture. Even when adding weight, those with back pain can execute moves with ease. It will strengthen other muscles involved and used with the back to reduce everyday pesky pains.

Booty Pumping

These days, it’s all about the booty! Step-ups and side step ups target the glute muscles lifting and shaping the bum. As a matter of fact, step ups are considered one of the best exercises for the butt, overtaking the top spot from the popular squat. It is a better option for those who suffer from lower back pain, creating a better way to tone the butt without the added pressure.Side Step Ups - popular squat form

Start Stepping Up

Because of the large number of muscles activated at the same time, side step ups are amazing. They target major muscle groups that create tight and toned thighs and glutes. It doesn’t have to be swimsuit season to start thinking about toning up. You can start stepping up today to notice improvements fast. Plus, for an extra burn, you can add weights to increase both stamina and strength.

Not only can you enjoy a leaner and stronger lower body but also reap the benefits of adding this powerful resistance workout to your routine. The improvement to balance and strength will leave you walking taller and more confident, ready to show off your new sculpted figure.

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