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PTS - The source for Sport & Athletic Training. We specialize in Athlete Development

Exercise: Bench Step-Ups with Olympic Bar

This lower body iso-lateral strength exercise is designed to train  symmetry in the strength / force profile of the soleus-gastrocnemius-achilles complex and the large musculature in the push-off leg while improving joint mechanics in the hip, knee and ankle. Additionally, the exercise trains isometric strength through  the athlete's core, shoulders and arms.

This strength exercise should be included in all base leg strength training programs, particularly athletes rehabilitating leg injuries and athletes who require iso-lateral push-off strength.

Have you tried this exercise? Share your training experience with us.

Primary Muscle Groups: Gastrocnemius, Achilles, Soleus, the hip flexors, the Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Gluteals as well as the deep musculature of the abdomen and low back.
Technique Ques: The athlete positions one foot on top of a Bench / Jump Box (Bench / Box height should be set so that the athlete's leg is in a position of 90o knee and 90o hip flexion). The aim of the exercise is to isolate and develop strength in the leg on the box (the push-off leg).  After loading the bar on the upper back / shoulders, the athlete begins the exercise by placing one foot on the bench and checking that their mechanics are correct (ankle, knee and foot are verticall aligned, and that the knee and hip are flexed at 90 degrees). The athlete pushes through the heel /middle foot of the foot on the bench, while extending the knee and hips simultaneously. The athlete should try to avoid any swinging or forward glide movement through the knee or hip of the push-off leg during the step up - the kneeof the push-off leg should not slide forward past the toes.
As the athlete drops back into hip and knee flexion, the athlete should concentrate on pushing the hips posterior, while maintaining a neutral spine. The athlete can achieve this by concentrating on loading the Glutes and Hamstrings.
Options for Progression: An athlete can progress the difficulty of this exercise by increasing the number of repetitions completed, by increasing the height of the bench, by increasing the weight of the weight plates, by increasing the number of sets completed, or by changing the rest ratios between sets.

Variations of the Bench Step-Up
Bench Step-Ups with Rapid Hip Flexion
Bench Step-Ups with Weight Plates


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