Step-ups are a simple yet effective way to reshape your butt.
Let’s face it—many people out there are dissatisfied with their backsides. Whether they think that their butts are too flat, too droopy, too small, or too wobbly, there’s usually always something that people don’t like about their behinds.
And there can be various reasons for why one’s butt isn’t quite where they want it to be. Some examples are simply having a poor diet, a lack of exercise, age and gravity, or your environment—even if you have the genes for a great gluteus maximus, sitting around on your poor buns all day in a cubicle is probably not going to give it a good look.
That’s why we’re going to reveal to you a sorely misunderstood and overlooked exercise that can bring massive change to your butt, and help you in re-shaping it: The mighty step-up!
Step-ups combine the movement of the classic lunge with the motion of stepping upwards, such as when climbing stairs. This combination is killer for both your butt and upper hamstrings, and all you need is a step box.
We’ve broken down this exercise into three different variations so you can find the one that works best for your level of fitness.
Before you start, find a step box AKA plyo box, aerobics stepper, stairway step, or workout bench which when you place your foot on, your knee bends to a 90-degree angle. Step boxes and weight benches are often best to facilitate the correct height, but a stairway step may be used for at home or office strength training sessions.
Start this exercise by placing one of your feet onto the surface of the step box, bench, or step. The majority of your bodyweight should be resting firmly on your rear support leg, and fall between your mid-foot to heel. This is your starting position.
Now concentrate on using your forward, raised foot’s heel to press down on the raised surface in order to bring you rear foot up. Move your rear foot upwards until it is side-by-side with your forward foot, so that you are standing on the raised surface.
Now perform an eccentric (extending back) movement with that same foot and gradually lower it back to its rear position on the floor. Be sure to return the majority of your bodyweight to that rear foot.
The key factor to getting step-ups right is not only having the perfect form, but to really concentrate on contracting your gluts, quads, and hamstrings as you perform them.
Do a total of 12 – 14 step-ups using one foot, and then switch legs and perform them for an equal amount of reps.
Perform 4 sets using only your bodyweight.
# 2 Intermediate
After a while, usually 4 to 5 weeks or so, you’ll start to notice that body weight step-ups just aren’t getting it anymore. In other words, you don’t feel that good burn or slight pain after doing them. That’s when you’ll want to begin integrating raised knee step-ups into your game plan.
Perform the standard step-up as before.
However, straighten your lead knee (the one that’s raised) while bringing up your rear, supporting leg. This time, bypass your lead foot and raise your rear knee upwards so that your hips and knee are both at 90-degree angles.
Bring the raised knee’s foot back down and tap it next to the other foot. After tapping, bring that same foot back down and return it to the starting position.
This level of step-up forces your gluts to be fully engaged throughout each entire rep.
Repeat for 10 – 12 reps on each leg, and do a total of 4 sets.
# 3 Advanced
Once the intermediate level step-ups begin to show diminishing fitness dividends, you’ll want to try adding some weights to your program.
Perform the beginner variation of step-ups as explained above, only for this version you’ll want to hold a pair of dumbbells (or kettlebells).
8 to 10 pounds are usually good for most women, while men can start with 15 to 20 lb. weights.
When you’re ready for even more challenge, perform the intermediate level step-ups (with toe-taps) while holding dumbbells.
All About Them Gluts
As mentioned previously, step-ups are an often overlooked exercise since many people focus on either squats, lunges, or leg presses. Add some variety to your leg workouts but implementing these butt crushers into the mix, and get the results you’ve always wanted.