Give it a Go - Step Ups

The Step Up is a fantastic exercise for building up your lower body strength, provides a great core workout and challenges your Cardiovascular System. Step ups don't require much equipment - you can use a step, a chair or a park bench - you don't need much room and they can be performed anywhere and varied in so many ways.

As a starter, be sure to use a step object that is not too high or uneven so that you do the exercise incorrectly. Form is crucial. Are you up for the challenge? Please see my Matt Swaz Fitness Video on how to perform Step Ups.

Poor Step up technique is common, and can result in ankle, knee or hip injuries. The following are a few tips on how to perform the step up safely and correctly.

  • Keep your chest lifted and body upright as possible, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up. Ensure your core is fully engaged (abdominals contracted) throughout the exercise. Your legs should be approximately shoulder width apart and your feet firmly on the floor.
  • Start the exercise by stepping up on to the object you are using (step, chair, bench), leading with your right leg.
  • With your right foot on the object you are using (step, chair, bench), step/drive your left foot up to join your right leg. Ensure you stand tall when stood on the object and that your core is engaged./contracted.
  • Step back down, leading again with the right leg and bringing your left leg down to join it on the floor. Then repeat by leading with the left leg and for the desired repetitions/time.
  • Ensure you move your arms in a natural action with your legs as if you are walking.
  • Breathe out when stepping up and in on the step down.
  • Avoid falling off the step, rushing the exercise and leaning forward or back.

As a starter, aim to complete 45 seconds and see if you can do this 2-3 times. If you can't don't worry. Build up to it. You are best doing 12 correct step ups with safe and proper technique rather than 20 incorrect ones.

In future blogs, I will suggest ways that you can make the basic Step up more challenging or if needed a little easier - for instance raising the arms, performing a shoulder press whilst stepping up etc.

Please remember to warm up thoroughly before exercising and to speak to your GP before starting any exercise programme. Should you require any help, advice or information please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to discuss with you the tried and tested methods and lifestyle changes that I have developed to help people achieve their health and fitness goals.

Keep up the great work,

Live life actively,


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