High Step-Up After the Low Step-Up is mastered with good balance and control, athletes can move onto the High Step-Up—one of my preferred unilateral strength exercises for developing the explosive power needed to sprint and to jump from one leg.
Note: Step height for the High Step-Up varies depending on athlete height. With one foot in contact with step and one in contact with floor, set step height so athlete’s bent knee is at or slightly less than 90 degrees. If knee valgus or knee instability is present, lower step height.
- Stand facing a high step, feet pointed straight ahead about hip distance apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides or one dumbbell at your chest like a goblet. See Goblet Squat.
- Place your entire left foot on top of step, your right leg placed on floor directly behind step.
- Shift weight to left foot and drive through left heel to push your body up until left leg is straight—without locking knee.
- Continue flexing the right knee until it forms a 90 degree angle. Balance at top position for about a second before slowly returning right leg to starting position.
- Perform desired number of repetitions then switch legs and repeat.
Athletes commonly want to push themselves up using their back leg; however the work should come from the leg on the step. Beginning athletes are instructed to control the movement both up and down. Once athletes have demonstrated good mechanics and baseline strength, power is added to the Step “Up” portion of the movement while continuing to use control on the Step “Down”.