Bench Step Ups

 

By Rick Morris

 

Bench step ups are exercises that are very effective at building your running specific strength and power. These exercises build the strength and muscle elasticity of your hamstrings, hip extensors, calf muscles and quadriceps muscles. They also build the strength of the muscles that stabilize your hips during your running stride.

 

The only equipment you will need to perform any of these bench step up exercises is a bench, step or bleachers of between 18 and 24 inches in height. The most convenient location will probably be your local track, but you can do them anywhere that you have access to an appropriate bench or step.

Here are a few basic bench step up exercises to get you started. To keep the stress off your knee joint and on your working muscles, keep your weight over your heel and don’t let your knee move in front of your toes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bench Step Ups

 

Stand in front of a bench or step that is 18 to 24 inches high. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

Place your right foot flat on the bench. Keep your left foot flat on the ground. With most of your weight centered over the heel of your right foot (the one on the bench), forcefully push off with your right foot and lift your left foot up to the bench next to your right foot, so that you are in a standing position on the bench. Keeping the weight towards the heel of your right foot slowly step back down to the ground with your left foot.

Repeat until fatigued.

Switch leg positions and repeat.

Breath throughout the exercise. Exhale on the downward portions and inhale on the upward portion.

Keep your back in a vertical position.

Do not allow the knee of your lead leg to extend in front of your toes.

Do not lock your knees at any time during this exercise.

Perform the downward portion of this exercise very slowly and with full control.

 

Bench Stride Ups

 

Stand in front of a bench or step that is 18 to 24 inches high. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

Place your right foot flat on the bench. Keep your left foot on the ground. With most of your weight centered over the heel of your right foot (the one on the bench), forcefully push off with your right foot and drive the knee of your left leg upward as in a running stride. Keeping the weight towards the heel of your right foot slowly step down with your left foot until your left foot just brushes the floor.

Repeat until fatigued.

Switch leg positions and repeat.

Breath throughout the exercise. Exhale on the downward portions and inhale on the upward portion.

Keep your back in a vertical position.

Do not allow the knee of your lead leg to extend in front of your toes.

Do not lock your knees at any time during this exercise.

Perform the downward portion of this exercise very slowly and with full control.

 

For more examples of step up exercises see Bear Naked Strength Training for Distance Runners

 

 

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