Step Exercises: Strengthening the Lower Body

Step exercises are great for strengthening the lower body. Perfect for men and women alike, they're the ideal complement to muscle-building exercises. In this article, we'll show you everything you need to know.
Step Exercises: Strengthening the Lower Body

Last update: 17 November, 2018

Step exercises are among the favorite activities of those looking to strengthen the lower body. This cardio discipline, which uses a platform, causes you to sweat, burning plenty of calories in the process.

A complete step program will allow you to control your weight, tone your muscles, and even burn calories. Its combination of upper and lower body movements does wonders for your coordination and agility. In addition, the constant pressure on the platform makes your legs stronger. You can increase the intensity of the workouts by adding new exercises and additional weight.

A highly important element of your step routine is to stretch well before and after. Make sure your step is firm and allows plenty of space to keep your feet stable while you work out. Our last piece of advice for step exercises is to wear a comfortable pair of sneakers. Make sure they’re laced tightly so that they don’t come undone during the routine.

Step exercises for strengthening the lower body

Whether you’re looking to slim down or strengthen your lower body, step exercises are perfect for meeting your goals. Take a look at these options and find your favorite!

1. Step-up

The first of our recommended step exercises is the step-up. To begin this exercise, position yourself in front of the platform with your back, your legs, and your arms stretched out. Remember that your feet need to be hip-width apart, with weights in each hand and the palms facing the body.

People doing step exercises

Next, step on to the center of the platform and straighten your upper right leg. Remember to keep the opposite leg behind you in order to maintain balance. Finally, slowly bend the right knee and step off with both feet to complete one repetition.

Complete all repetitions with one leg before switching sides. We recommend starting at a short height until you master the exercise. Also: try not to do too many repetitions.

2. Lateral jumps over a step platform

In order to perform this second exercise, start with your right foot on the platform and your left foot on the ground. Next, flex your knees slightly, lift your chest, and use your arms to maintain balance and facilitate the movement.

Then, lift your right foot and jump over the platform, landing with your left foot on the platform and your right foot on the ground, keeping both knees slightly flexed. To conclude, immediately jump back to your starting position. We suggest doing this exercise for a full minute.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

– Jim Rohn-

3. Step jump

The third exercise for strengthening your lower body is the step jump. You need to position the platform between your legs and keep your feet aligned with your pelvis, with your toes pointing outward, flexing them and resting on your heels.

Then, make sure that your buttocks are aligned with your knees, pushing up off the heels to squeeze the abs and glutes. Next, jump on to the step with both feet. To get down, perform a squat jump back to your initial position. Finally, remember to exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down. We recommend doing three sets of 15 repetitions each.

4. Lunges with weights

The last exercise for strengthening the lower body is lunges with weights. To do this exercise, you need to stand in front of the platform with your back, your legs and your arms stretched out, keeping your feet hip-width apart, and holding weights in each hand.

Woman doing lunges with weights

Next, take a step forward with one leg and lower your body 90 degrees using both knees. Then, exhale and push back up to your starting position, repeating the exercise with the other leg to complete the repetition. Keep in mind that it’s important to put your weight on your heels, and to not allow the knees to extend beyond the toes.

Finally, remember that the majority of step exercises can be done at home if you have the platform. In any event, they’re the perfect exercises for strengthening the lower body. So what are you waiting for? Add them to your workout routine today!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Behrens M, Müller K, Kilb JI, Schleese L, Herlyn PK, Bruhn S, Mittlmeier T, Schober HC, Fischer DC. Modified step aerobics training and neuromuscular function in osteoporotic patients: a randomized controlled pilot study. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2017 Feb;137(2):195-207.
  • Charee J, Yupaporn K, Khaothin T, Kusump S, Ashira H. The Effects of Step Aerobic Training on Muscle Power and Agility in Female Badminton Players. Int J Exerc Sci. 2022 Oct 1;15(6):1317-1325.
  • Hallage T, Krause MP, Haile L, Miculis CP, Nagle EF, Reis RS, Da Silva SG. The effects of 12 weeks of step aerobics training on functional fitness of elderly women. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Aug;24(8):2261-6.
  • Mair JL, De Vito G, Boreham CA. Low Volume, Home-Based Weighted Step Exercise Training Can Improve Lower Limb Muscle Power and Functional Ability in Community-Dwelling Older Women. J Clin Med. 2019 Jan 4;8(1):41.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.