The 13 Top Best Alternative Exercise For Step Ups
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Step ups are a great exercise for building lower body strength and cardiovascular fitness. However, they can become repetitive and boring after a while. If you’re looking to mix up your workout routine, I have good news for you! Because there are plenty of great alternative exercises that can provide similar benefits to step ups. No need for a spendy training program, you can do these for free in the comfort of your home. In this blog post, we’ll explore 13 of the top best alternative exercises (okay, so I added ONE more!) for step-ups using body weight and/or weights.
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But First, Proper Form!!!
Before we get started on the alternative exercise for step-ups, I wanted to briefly talk about proper form. Proper form when exercising is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps prevent injury. When you perform an exercise with the proper form, you are using the correct muscles in the correct way, which reduces the risk of strain or injury. Conversely, when you perform an exercise with poor form, you increase the risk of injury to yourself.
Proper form also ensures that you are getting the most benefit from each exercise. When you use the correct form, you are targeting the intended muscle groups more effectively. This means you will see better results in terms of strength, endurance, and overall fitness.
By using proper form when exercising, you can also help improve your posture and balance. When you perform exercises with good posture, you are strengthening the muscles that support your spine and improving your overall alignment. This can reduce the risk of developing back pain and other musculoskeletal problems later on in life.
Here is a great guided video to ensure you have proper form when working out:
Overall, proper form is crucial for maximizing the benefits of exercise and minimizing the risk of injury. It may take some time and practice to perfect your form, but it is worth the effort in order to achieve your fitness goals safely and effectively. And, always perform a new exercise with no weight (even if it says to use weight) so you get your form down and then slowly add heavier weights as you get more familiar with the exercises.
The 13 Top Best Alternative Exercise For Step Ups (I Added An Extra One! So 14!)
Now that we have talked about proper form, it is time to get on with the alternative exercises for step-ups! These are some of the best exercises if you want an alternative to step-ups which some people just don’t like. I don’t mind them though!
Whether you are tired of the basic weighted step-up or are just looking to switch things up a bit, you will find 13 (I added another one, so 14!) of my favorite step-up alternative exercises below!
Lunges are a great way for building lower body strength, particularly in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. To do a lunge, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with one foot, lowering your body until your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle and your back knee is hovering just above the ground. Push through your front foot to stand back up to starting position, then repeat on the other side.
Box jumps are a plyometric exercise that can improve explosive power and lower body strength. To perform a box jump, start by standing in front of a sturdy box or raised platform. With your feet shoulder-width apart, jump onto the box, landing softly with both feet. Step back down and repeat for several reps. You may want to wear a knee brace if you have knee joint issues. And, ALWAYS consult your doctor before starting ANY new workout program!
Squats are a classic exercise for building lower body strength and improving overall fitness. To perform a squat, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as if you’re sitting back in a chair, keeping your chest lifted and your weight in your heels. Return to standing, then repeat for several reps. You can do this with or without heavy weight. I tend to only use body weight but some prefer barbell squats. You can also do squat jumps which are a really good exercise alternative to step ups!
Bulgarian split squats
Bulgarian split squats are a challenging variation of the traditional squat that can target the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. To perform a Bulgarian split squat, stand facing away from a bench or step. Place one foot on the bench or step behind you, with your toes resting on the surface. Bend your front knee to lower your body into a lunge, then push through your front foot (front leg) to return to standing. Repeat for several reps, then alternate legs and perform this exercise on the opposite leg.
Deadlifts are a compound exercise that can build lower body strength, as well as improve posture and stability. To perform a deadlift, start by standing with your feet hip width apart, holding a barbell or dumbbells in front of your body. Lower the weights towards the ground, keeping your back straight and your knees slightly bent. Return to standing, then for best results, repeat for several reps.
Calf raises are a great exercise for building lower leg strength and improving ankle stability and a good alternative to step ups. To do a calf raise, stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding onto a stable surface for support. Rise up onto the balls of your feet, hold for about 3 seconds, then lower back down. Repeat for several reps. You can also do single leg calf raises to really target your calves. Single-leg exercises are my favorite because I always feel like I see more muscle growth when I do them.
Glute bridges are an excellent exercise for targeting the glutes and improving hip mobility. To perform a glute bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips off the ground, squeezing your glutes at the top. Lower back down, then repeat for several reps.
If you want to add some resistance, I recommend using a resistance band depending on your fitness level. Glute Bridges can be a great exercise to strengthen the hip flexors, especially if you perform them with proper form. (To find out the difference between hip thrusts and glute bridges, click that link!)
Kettlebell swings are a full-body exercise that can improve cardiovascular fitness, as well as build strength and power in the lower body. To perform a kettlebell swing, start with a kettlebell between your feet. Hinge at the hips and swing the kettlebell back between your legs. Drive your hips forward to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height, then repeat for several reps.
Please watch the video below to see how to do kettlebell swings without hurting your lower back:
Jumping lunges are a challenging variation of the traditional lunge that can improve explosive power and lower body strength. To perform a jumping lunge, start in a lunge position with your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle and your back knee hovering just above the ground. Jump up explosively, switching the position of your feet in mid-air so that your back foot becomes your front foot and vice versa. Land softly and immediately lower back into a lunge, then repeat for several reps. This exercise is really good for building leg strength.
Step downs are a variation of the step up exercise that can help improve balance and stability, as well as target the quads and glutes. To perform a step down, start by standing on a sturdy step or platform. Step left leg foot down to the ground, keeping your other foot on the step. Return to standing, then repeat on the other side. You can easily wear a weighted vest while doing this workout to add more weight! I do this sometimes and it works really well and doesn’t off balance me because the weighted vest has weight dispersed evenly throughout it.
Wall sits are a great exercise for building lower body strength and endurance, as well as improving posture and stability. To perform a wall sit, stand with your back against a wall and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for several seconds, then stand back up and repeat for several reps. If you want to make this a bit more difficult, try adding a dumbbell or extra weights in your lap for an entire lower body workout!
Plyometric box step ups
Plyometric exercises box step ups are a challenging variation of the traditional step up exercise that can improve explosive power and lower body strength. To perform a plyometric box step up, start by standing in front of a sturdy box or elevated platform. With your feet shoulder-width apart, step up onto the box explosively, jumping up with both feet. Step back down and repeat for several reps.
Reverse lunges are a variation of the traditional lunge that can help improve balance and stability, as well as target the quads and glutes. To perform a reverse lunge, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with your left foot, lowering your body until your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle and your back knee is hovering just above the ground. Push through your front foot to stand back up, then repeat with your right foot, on the other side. You can add some lighter weights or additional weight like 3 lb dumbbells when doing this workout for added weight.
Leg Press Machine (if you go to the gym)
The hack squat machine is a good alternative exercise to step ups because it targets many of the same muscles in the lower body while providing a different type of resistance and movement pattern. It is great for targeting several of your large leg muscles.
The hack squat machine is a piece of gym equipment that typically consists of a sled with a platform for your feet and handles for your hands. To perform the exercise, you start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. You then lower your body by bending at the knees and hips, keeping your back straight, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. You then push back up through your heels to return to the starting position.
Here is a useful video showing how it works:
Whatever your workout plan is, there are plenty of alternative exercises that can provide similar benefits to step ups. No need for a personal trainer because most of these can be done from the comfort of your home gym. From lunges and box jumps to deadlifts and calf raises, incorporating these exercises into your workout routine can help you build lower body strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, and prevent boredom. As always, be sure to consult with a trained fitness professional before starting any new exercise program.
Disclaimer: Please note that this blog post, alternative exercise for step ups, is not a substitute for medical advice. The information provided above should not be used as a basis for diagnosing, treating, or preventing any medical condition or disease. Before making any modifications to your diet, sleep regimen, daily routine, or exercise program, consult your physician. My Fitness Routines is not liable for any physical harm or injury like lower back pain, bad knees, knee pain, etc., that may result from the suggestions, opinions, or recommendations provided in this article.