How to Do Step ups on a Staircase

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The step up is one of the best exercises to help tone the entire lower body. It targets the thighs an buttocks and can also elevate the heart rate. Exercises like the step up are good to know when you do not have a lot of time for your workout and in times when you can not get to the gym. This movement is similar to the motion of a stair climber and typical step aerobics movements, but it can be done at home on a staircase with a sturdy handrail.

  • Stand up straight at the bottom of the staircase facing the stairs. To keep the intensity lower, just come up onto one step. To add more intensity, step up to the second or higher step.

  • Place the right foot flat on the stair. Push into your right heel and bring your left foot up to the step but do not put any weight on the left foot, just tap your left toe.

  • Place the left foot lightly back down on the floor. Keep your right foot planted flat on the stair. Keeping your right foot still, come up and down eight to twelve times tapping just the left toe on the step.

  • Come down and repeat on the other side, keeping the left foot still on the stair and tapping the right toe.

  • Try another variation. Steps 1 through 4 work your quadriceps muscles. To work the outer thigh muscles you can also do this movement sideways. Stand sideways to the staircase and follow the same directions so the foot closest to the stair stays still on the stair and the outside leg taps up and down.

  • Turn and repeat other side. To add more intensity you can do these exercises holding hand weights.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you lower the foot back down, do so with control. Avoid coming down hard onto the foot you are lifting. Keep the back straight and abdominals tight to help maintain your balance.
  • The links below show this exercise on a bench versus a staircase.
  • As you step up make sure the knee does not extend past the toes on the leg you are keeping still. Lunging too far forward will place unnecessary strain on the knee joint and can lead to injury.
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