Steps-ups are one of may favorite ways to begin training the lower body for many types of people. For athletes, they are invaluable for single leg strength, power production, body awareness, balance, side to side imbalances, and as you will read below, explosive endurance. For the population that is focusing on fat loss, they are a great way to add training density because doing step-ups is essentially like doing two exercises to complete 1 set.
The video below is a lesser known way to use the step-up to enhance the aerobic energy system of athletes that predominantly use more explosive actions rather than a long duration of movement – think about the 100-meter dash versus the 1-mile run. This variation of training the step-up allows these power athletes (baseball and volleyball) to maintain their heart rates in an aerobic training range for one to three rounds of 15 to 20 minutes (in the video they only performed 20 minutes). In addition to the aerobic energy system stimulation, these athletes are getting the benefit of training an explosive push into the bench, opposite arm and knee drive mechanics, single leg balance, and all of this in a low impact training modality for a long period of time. Check out this short clip!