The step up is an excellent movement for building the single leg strength and stability of your clients. The benefits of this movement translate into numerous fitness activities such as squatting, biking, and running. The muscles developed through this movement could also aid clients to lunge correctly and will help their balance and overall strength in each leg respectively.
There are dozens of different variations a coach could choose from in this particular movement. Some of these variations include boxes of varying heights and having the client execute the movement with different loads in varying placements. The creativity a coach can use with the step up is endless. For the examples in the video above and the text below, we will only be discussing two variations of this movement: The high box step up, and the low box step up.
As the name implies, the difference between these two movements depends on the height of the box being used as well the height of the client. To be considered a high box step up, the knee must be higher than the crease of the hip when the client’s foot is on top of the box. The opposite is true for low box step ups.
The glute is more heavily recruited in the high box step up variation. The client should feel their glute beginning to activate as they lean their knee/shin forward onto the box prior to standing up.
How to Coach the High Box Step Up
The low box step up is less of an actual glute developer than it is a terminal knee extension movement. The client’s leg must reach full extension at the top of the box. The small range of motion highlights the VMO (vastus medialis oblique) muscle. While there is a glute connection on the step up leg, there isn’t the same physical demand on the hamstring, glute, and low back connection like there is in the high step up.
How to Coach a Low Box Step Up
As stated earlier, there is a myriad of different ways in which a coach can load (weight) the step ups, but that is not covered by the scope of this video. The type of step up a coach programs is dependent on the client’s needs and ability. That is why all OPEX Coaches conduct movement assessments before designing a program. As part of the OPEX Assessment, movement assessments look at a client’s symmetry and capabilities. Get an introduction to the OPEX Assessment in our new Free 7-Day OPEX Coaching Course.