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STEP UP Your Workouts with this Exercise

What's happening, Raiders!

Last week I competed in the hardest Spartan race I had ever done...

Not only was it humid to boot. It had steep AF hills that somehow managed to be on an incline for 3 straight miles.


The one thing I had going for me? My endurance.

Even as competitors were pullin off to the side lines left and right my little gams continued to drive me up the hill one step at a time.

To what do I owe this endurance and strength? Step. Up. Training.

Today we're gonna be chatting:

  1. The Value of Step Up Exercises

  2. How to work Step Ups into YOUR Workouts

  3. A Video Library full of my favorite Step Up Variations!

Step Ups are some of my FAVORITE things to add into workouts because it is FUNctional AF, trains our bodies unilaterally (one side at a time so there is no hiding if one leg is stronger), there are tons of different variations to keep it spicy, it can break down into a strength move with dumbbells, a power move with burpees, a mobility move with slower tempos…

What I am sayin is -

The value of step ups are non-negotiable all throughout the REPS Model

In the Resistance Phase you are building a ton of single leg strength.

Studies have shown that step ups are actually one of the top exercises for targeting glute strength - even over deadlifts. Oftentimes our hamstrings and quads are doing just as much work as our glutes in deadlifts.

But with Step Ups? The stabilization component in tandem with the hinge to hip drive to get you from floor to said step up is a straight up glute party.

To have even more fun in the muscle build / endurance you can add weight or play around with tempo slowing down to make that baby heeeavy.

For the Endurance Phase, I already started to touch on that with the race day hill climb.

Step Ups create tons of power through a single leg, not to mention they functionally train stabilizers in the ankle, knee and hip. Not only will you generate more power in your running, but you will run safer as well!

Step Up variations are also fabulous additions to any HIIT workout!

HIIT is a fun and effective style of training to work into your schedule to build endurance both of the muscular and cardiovascular varieties.

In terms of Perseverance Phase, Step Ups take a ton of focus and concentration.

In order to do a Step Up correctly you have to stay present with your body and continually check in to make sure your knee and hip aren’t falling out of alignment.

Not to mention, working these into a workout whether it is strength or HIIT can be extremely challenging requiring a certain level of mental toughness to get to the end.

So Stretch / Mobility how the heck does it fall into this one?

Oh … I am so glad you asked… Step Ups are an exceptional way to warm your body up for a workout.

Because they demand single leg stability and strength it is a perfect tool for firing up through glutes and quads as well as moving your leg through the full range of motion you would hit in a squat. You are also training proper muscle activation for your squat and maintaining alignment with ankle, knee, hip.

As you continue to work Step Ups into your programming one option for progression is to increase the height of the surface you are stepping onto and off of. With greater height comes greater range of motion.

Now that you know the benefits…let these puppies speak for themselves.

Tack them into your next at home workout!

No box? No Problem.

How to Work Step Ups into Your Workouts!

As a Warm Up!

2 rounds of 10 reps per leg is a fantastic way to warm your legs up for a killer leg day or a powerful HIIT Day.

Work them into a Super Set

I love doing this one. Super Setting Step Up Variations with a Strength Leg Move is the perfect way to build muscular endurance. The strength move burns out the prime mover (glute or quad) and then once it is nice and shaky-tired you challenge its stabilizers with a step up variation.

An Example :

10 2-0-2 Heavy Goblet Squats

10 / Side Dumbbell Step Up to Balance

:30 Rest (4 rounds)


8 Heavy Barbell Deadlifts

10 / Side Reverse Lunge to Single Leg Step Ups

:30 Rest (4 rounds)

Work them into a HIIT Workout

Example: 6 Minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible safely)

8 Broad Jumps

10 Pike Push Ups

6 / Side Step Up to Overhead Press


Step Up Variations for Your Workout Building Delights!

Feel free to add weight to any and all of these to add an extra element of strength!

So there you have it Raiders!

A fabulous way to Step Up any workout!

Give it a try and let me know how it goes in the comments.

Which one did you try? How did you incorporate it into your training? Results? I love it all!

Here is to stronger, faster, more mobile programming all around!

And if you're looking to up your training game overall with a Certified Coach / the Course Raider herself - Kinsey Diment - jump on the waitlist to stay in the know for the next round of our Group Fitness Program #CouchToCourseRaider.