Barbell Step Ups is an exercise that primarily targets the quadriceps and the glutes with secondary emphasis on the hamstrings and calves.

Barbell Step Ups also activate the core muscles because you have to keep your upper body upright and stable as you are working each side unilaterally.

Using heavy weights are not recommended for Barbell Step Ups because of the degree of balance and stability required.

A light weight and high rep program will generate better results.

This is a good exercise to use for sports that require lunging movements and hip flexibility such as tennis, sprints, soccer, basketball and fencing.

Barbell Step Ups How To

  • Set up a barbell and a platform box or bench.
  • Pick up the barbell and place it across the top of your shoulders
  • Place your right foot on the platform box. Make sure your entire foot is braced and secured on top of the platform box.
  • Tighten your core and bring your chest out. Take a deep breath then exhale as you step up the platform box.
  • Do not lock out your leg at the top part of the movement; always keep a slight bend to avoid shearing forces on your knee.
  • Bring your left leg up and on top of the platform box.
  • Bring your right leg down to the floor, followed by your left leg.
  • Repeat the movement until you have completed the targeted number of reps.

Form and Technique

Barbell Step Ups require balance, stability and hip flexibility.

If you are doing this exercise for the first time, practice your form and technique without weight and use a low platform box such as a 60 to 120 centimeter box.

Once you are able to build up your hip flexibility to use a platform box height where the top of your leg is parallel to the floor, then you can start adding resistance.

Use a flat shoe such as canvas or cross trainers for Barbell Step Ups instead of a running shoe.

Running shoes are very soft and you may have a hard time maintaining balance.

If you have shoulder flexibility issues, you can place the barbell in a front clean position or grip a pair of dumbbells at your sides.

Variations: Bulgarian Split Squat | Walking Lunges

Routine for Strength: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Routine for Muscle Gains: 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps

Barbell Step Ups

How To Do Barbell Step Ups