How to do Step Ups

Back to Exercises

Difficulty: Easy

Impact Level: Normal

Target Body Parts: calves, glutes, quadriceps


For this exercise you will need a sturdy chair, bench or step that is on flat ground and will not move around if you stand up on it.

Once you are set up, stand facing the chair with your feet at hip width. Make sure you are close enough to the chair to be able to step up on to it with one leg, but also not too close to it so that you catch your foot on the edge as you step up.

From here, lift your right foot and knee up as high as necessary to clear the leading edge of the chair and place your whole right foot down on the chair. Aim to do this whilst keeping your hips level and your spine upright. Use your arms at your sides for balance.

The engage your right glutes and quads and push down into your right heel to stand up and bring your left foot on to the chair next to your right. At the top stand as tall as you can so that you extend your hips. Once at the top position, step slowly back down with your left foot on the floor, keeping hips level and spine upright. Then step down with your right foot so that your return to the start position with both feet flat on the floor.

Next step up onto the chair with your left foot, followed by your right foot, stand tall at the top, then step down with your right foot, followed by your left.

Repeat this sequence for the duration of the exercise.

How to make Step Ups easier

If you find the height of a chair too high at the beginning, use the first step of a staircase to build up your strength and confidence. The try stepping up two steps at once. Then try a chair.

How to make Step Ups more challenging

This exercise is great for building single leg strength. Once you have mastered this try our Single Leg Squat exercise.

Looking to add this exercise to your workouts?

Customize your workouts simply by adding or removing Sworkit exercises. Sign in or sign up to get started.

Try It Out