Step ups with dumbbells are a simple move that can be done at the gym or in any home with stairs. This exercise works out the body from your calves to your shoulders. When selecting your dumbbells, chose a set that has you reaching muscle fatigue after 10 repetitions. Aim to complete 2 to 3 sets.
How to do Step Ups
To begin, stand facing the long side of a bench or a stair while holding a dumbbell firmly in each hand. You want your palms facing in at thigh-height. Begin standing a foot away from the bench.
Place your right foot up firmly on the top of the bench or stair. Rise up to a standing position on the bench or stair by straightening your right knee and hip. Place your left foot firmly on the bench.
To step down, flex your right knee and hip and return the right leg to its original position on the floor. Next, bring down your left leg. Repeat the motion, but this time switch your lead leg to your left leg for one repetition.
While doing this exercise, make sure to keep your spine in a straight line and your abdominal muscles engaged.
What Muscle Groups are Used
This exercise features compound mechanics and uses push as its force. It targets the quadriceps. The farther your stepping distance is away from the bench, then the greater workout on your gluteus maximus. The closer you stand to the bench, the greater workout on your quadriceps. Other muscles used include your adductor magnus, soleus, hamstrings and gastrocnemius.
Why This is Good
By adding the dumbbells to your basic step up, you increase your full body workout. Your erector spinae or lower back, obliques and your trapezoids are engaged to help stabilize your body during the forward and upward motion.