What Are Step-Ups, And Why Should You Do Them?

You may think of leg warmers and big hair when you hear the words step-up aerobics, but are you aware of the impressive workout this fit routine offers? An exercise sensation made popular in the 80's by fitness expert Gin Miller, the step-up is not just a performance in a cute leotard. In fact, the step-up is one move that can truly enhance your workout.

The step-up is a unilateral movement, meaning you are training each leg separately. In addition to working the primary movers — glutes and quads — the step-up also works the hip flexors, adductors (inner thighs), calf muscles, hamstrings, lower back, and abs (via Women's Health). A small study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research proved that you can focus on activating different muscles using different variations of the exercise. In other words, it can be utilized to add shape and definition to your derriere.  

Who should add step-ups into their fitness routine

According to Verywell Fit, the step-up is an exercise that can benefit people of all fitness levels, as it is a natural movement that is easy on the knees and the back. The exercise can help you improve core balance and structural symmetry, and can be used as an effective cardio work-out, or for strength and muscle building. There are many variations of a step-up routine that will get your heart rate going, your body toned, and can even improve explosive strength in athletes (per STACK).

Beginners should start without weights and with a small step, six to eight inches off the floor, and work with a goal to perfect form which includes spinal alignment, with one foot completely placed on the step at no more than a 90 degree angle, and pushing off using the elevated leg (via Verywell fit). Once your form is perfected, you can add weights and move on to a higher step, as well as modify the step-up in ways which offer a more intense workout (per Popsugar).

When you combine this workout with a great playlist, healthier menu, and motivation, you will see results in no time. What are you waiting for? Get to stepping!