T Nation

Step Ups

Stupid question I know but Can someone please tell me what exactly step-ups are? I may have a different name for them but are they just where you step up onto a block with a barbell across your traps or something then step down again? They work your quads mainly I guess?

I would recommend a Hi-Box Step Up which if done right will have incredible hip, ham and glute development.

The set up for this lift is straight forward. You will push off a stable hi box set up so that when your lead leg is planted on the top of the box and your base foot is off its heels, the lead thigh is parallel to the ground. If that sounds confusing please let me know and I will try to dig out a photo.

Unfortunately with this lift, cheating occurs far too often and it is even rarer to see perform weighted without the torso leaning forward. To avoid cheating or jerking upwards by using more of the base foot, squeeze the toes of the plant leg and drive upwards with the plant foot on the box. To completely eliminate the problem of leaning forward with weights, we exclusively use a loaded Xvest now up to and including the 82lb Firefighter vest. This allows posture to be maintained perfectly and maximize impact squarely on the legs.

Again let me know if I can help…

In faith,

Coach Davies

Thanks for the quick reply Coach Davies. So is the basic step-up just stepping up to a block one foot at a time without shifting the torso forward? If this were to be weighted would a barbell be best or dumbbells?

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[quote]Coach Davies wrote:
Unfortunately with this lift, cheating occurs far too often and it is even rarer to see perform weighted without the torso leaning forward. To avoid cheating or jerking upwards by using more of the base foot, squeeze the toes of the plant leg and drive upwards with the plant foot on the box. To completely eliminate the problem of leaning forward with weights, we exclusively use a loaded Xvest now up to and including the 82lb Firefighter vest. This allows posture to be maintained perfectly and maximize impact squarely on the legs.
[/quote]

Coach Davies, is the leaning forward bad because it allows better leverage for other muscles to kick in, just like when you lean forward in the squat? Does the lean take away from one muscle group but allows you to put more tension on others? laters pk

Coach Davies,
Could you define “High Box” in terms of inches or bench position relative to knee? Thanks.

[quote]almost wrote:
Thanks for the quick reply Coach Davies. So is the basic step-up just stepping up to a block one foot at a time without shifting the torso forward? If this were to be weighted would a barbell be best or dumbbells? [/quote]

No worry about the quick reply…I was up early and what the heck.

You want to try to not shift the torso forward - and believe me that is a lot harder then what it seems. If you are going to choose between a barbell or dumbell, from practical experience I find most people lean forward more with dumbells. However, I would suggest you first try unweighted, then attempt both barbell and dumbell - see what you do best and go with that. The most important thing is compliance with proper posture at all times.

Good luck,

In faith,

Coach Davies

bushidobadboy wrote:
Personally, I prefer dumbells for their aid to balance (plus I have a thoracic spinal problem which means that anything across my traps causes spasming in my lower back). The reason that balance is an issue (for me) is due to the fact that I like to add in a knee raise at the top of the step for hip flexor involvement. Also, at the gym where I train, the only benches of suitable height are weight benches. These obviously have a layer of padding on then which destabilizes the foot. Bugger.

I know exactly what you mean and unfortunately the height of the weight bench will very likely be too low to really hit the hamstrings the way you want on this. It changes the exercise tremendously as well because at that height it is more of a quad exercise.

All the best.

In faith,

Coach Davies

[quote]pkradgreek wrote:
Coach Davies wrote:
Unfortunately with this lift, cheating occurs far too often and it is even rarer to see perform weighted without the torso leaning forward. To avoid cheating or jerking upwards by using more of the base foot, squeeze the toes of the plant leg and drive upwards with the plant foot on the box. To completely eliminate the problem of leaning forward with weights, we exclusively use a loaded Xvest now up to and including the 82lb Firefighter vest. This allows posture to be maintained perfectly and maximize impact squarely on the legs.

Coach Davies, is the leaning forward bad because it allows better leverage for other muscles to kick in, just like when you lean forward in the squat? Does the lean take away from one muscle group but allows you to put more tension on others? laters pk[/quote]

“Bad” isn’t really the correct term I would want to stress to be honest and it may be misleading when you consider the issue of torso lean because certainly more lean will change the intent of how I would utilize the lift.

The Hi-Box Step Up is such a unique option to Squatting because unlike standard Squatting or for that matter variations (Box, Olympic, Front, Overhead to name a few) where torso angle plays such an extraordinary role, in this situation it is obviously controllable (to a large extent), allows for a deeply focused leg movement, can ensure better compliance as it pertains to compliance (which is a HUGE issue in virtually all trainee’s) and will significantly reduce the possibility of injury.

Does that help?

In faith,

Coach Davies

Thanks again. What would the average height be for the step? Also should the lowering part be at a very slow tempo?any pics would be great :slight_smile:

[quote]old_dogg wrote:
Coach Davies,
Could you define “High Box” in terms of inches or bench position relative to knee? Thanks.[/quote]

I was referring to it mostly for hip, ham glute development which would need to be individualized for each user’s height. In my athletes usage, where we generally are emphasizing that area it is set as I described it so that the plant foot on the ground is off its heels and the thigh of the foot now on the bench has broken a parallel position vis-a-vis the hip.

However given that you or your athletes goals or weaknesses may be far different, I need to point out that you can vary depths and really get total leg develpment if you need to do so by simply changing the height of the box. While I know compliance, different boxes heights, is nearly impossible within standard gym set-ups, if you are training at home, I stack plywood on top of a secure box and customize to the correct level. Let me know if you train at home and I’ll fill you in on a way to make it very sturdy and safe.

In faith,

Coach Davies

Any thoughts on this thread Coach Davies?:

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=552432

This should help:

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=473323

All pics/videos are from our BSU site located here:

www.bsu.edu/webapps/strengthlab/

Stay strong
MR

[quote]pete460 wrote:
Any thoughts on this thread Coach Davies?:

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=552432[/quote]

You’re a dumbass; yeah I’m sure he’s just falling all over himself to share his thoughts about that thread with Pete460!

Thanks for all the helpful info on step-ups and everything else you contribute to T-Nation Coach Davies.

Ya, articles by Davies is initially what led me to this site. Squash the hate.

Hey Mike, I can rep 5 sets of 10 pistols…can you make an article for me to pop them out like a .44 magnum now???

:smiley:

[quote]Snoop wrote:
pete460 wrote:
Any thoughts on this thread Coach Davies?:

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=552432

You’re a dumbass; yeah I’m sure he’s just falling all over himself to share his thoughts about that thread with Pete460!

Thanks for all the helpful info on step-ups and everything else you contribute to T-Nation Coach Davies. [/quote]

Wow, thanks for the kind words - its rarely said but always appreciated. Kinda funny about this profession now.

If I can ever be of help - just ask.

In faith,

Coach Davies

[quote]Coach Davies wrote:
“Bad” isn’t really the correct term I would want to stress to be honest and it may be misleading when you consider the issue of torso lean because certainly more lean will change the intent of how I would utilize the lift.

The Hi-Box Step Up is such a unique option to Squatting because unlike standard Squatting or for that matter variations (Box, Olympic, Front, Overhead to name a few) where torso angle plays such an extraordinary role, in this situation it is obviously controllable (to a large extent), allows for a deeply focused leg movement, can ensure better compliance as it pertains to compliance (which is a HUGE issue in virtually all trainee’s) and will significantly reduce the possibility of injury.

Does that help?

In faith,

Coach Davies[/quote]

understood, thank you. I usually do stepups utilizing box height equivalent to my 90 degree knee angle but i will definitely try the higher box set up with lower resistance for variation. It definitely seems like the range of motion would be a challenge even more so then the full squat. laters pk

[quote]pkradgreek wrote:
Coach Davies wrote:
“Bad” isn’t really the correct term I would want to stress to be honest and it may be misleading when you consider the issue of torso lean because certainly more lean will change the intent of how I would utilize the lift.

The Hi-Box Step Up is such a unique option to Squatting because unlike standard Squatting or for that matter variations (Box, Olympic, Front, Overhead to name a few) where torso angle plays such an extraordinary role, in this situation it is obviously controllable (to a large extent), allows for a deeply focused leg movement, can ensure better compliance as it pertains to compliance (which is a HUGE issue in virtually all trainee’s) and will significantly reduce the possibility of injury.

Does that help?

In faith,

Coach Davies

understood, thank you. I usually do stepups utilizing box height equivalent to my 90 degree knee angle but i will definitely try the higher box set up with lower resistance for variation. It definitely seems like the range of motion would be a challenge even more so then the full squat. laters pk[/quote]

You’ll really find it hits the hip/hams very hard. One of the best combinations I’ve found is couple it with Squats (from pins, concentric but only if the athlete can maintain posture), followed by the Hi-Box Step Up, then follow up with Good Morning Squats and Natural Glute Hams (use with a reactive hold and drop from the top).

Good luck - fill me in on how you like this.

In faith,

Coach Davies

I just wana second the thanks coach. While sometimes your visits to these threads have some time between them I always find the info. interesting, if not helpfull.

I am still cursing you for the front squat hacksquat super set recomendation.

Thanks,
Phill

[quote]Phill wrote:
I just wana second the thanks coach. While sometimes your visits to these threads have some time between them I always find the info. interesting, if not helpfull.

I am still cursing you for the front squat hacksquat super set recomendation.

Thanks,
Phill[/quote]

Always around so if I can help I’m happy to. Since you’re lovin’ the front/hack squat combo give the one noted in this thread a try - you might even like it more…

take care,

In faith,

Coach Davies