Step ups don’t get a lot of love in the strength training world. They’re not that complex and they are overshadowed by cooler things people do on boxes like jump on them. It’s too bad, step ups can teach us a lot about how we move, how to create tension and where our movement faults may come from.
Once you have your foot planted on the box, we want to never let it cave inwards, towards your big toe. A good cue to think about here is knee towards your pinky toe. It’s almost overcorrecting it so it in falls in a bit, you’re still in a good position.
That knee may also want to push too far forward, lifting your heel off the box. Don’t let that happen either! Imagine your foot as a tripod, big toe, pinky toe and heel. They should all be firmly planted when doing a step up. The thing that clears these faults up for most people is allowing their torso to drop forward. A slight lean, when starting the rep, will aid in keeping your lower body organized.
These tips will help you whether you’re doing step ups for conditioning, with some load for strength work or if you find yourself outside the gym stepping up on things.