Pure Gym Limited

Side Step Ups


How to do side step ups

The side step up, or lateral step up, is a variation of the step up that involves stepping to your side onto a platform. Many people prefer the lateral version as it replicates the squat more accurately, and removes the risk of bumping your lower leg into the step. It also doesn’t require the torso to lean forward as much as the conventional step up.

Side step ups challenge the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core while improving coordination, balance, and stability. As a unilateral exercise, side step ups can help to identify muscular imbalances between the two sides, improve mind-muscle connection, and challenge balance and stability.

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Check out our other step up variations: barbell step ups, step ups


Side step Ups Vs Front Step Ups?

Side step ups involve stepping one leg sideways onto a platform and then pushing through the leg up to standing. Front step ups involve stepping forward onto a platform and pushing through the leg. Both variations work the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core. Some people prefer side step ups as it is easier to keep the torso upright due to the centre of gravity.

What Muscles Do Side Step Ups Work?

Side step ups predominantly work the quads and glutes, with the hamstrings, calves, and core also worked. They can help to stabilise the ankles, knees, and hips, and improve balance and stability. They can also increase explosive power and strength.

Are Side Step Ups Good?

Side step ups are a good lower body exercise to include in your training as it helps to build strength and stability in the lower body and core. They can help to reduce muscular imbalances between both sides to reduce the risk of injury and increase overall power.

Side Step Up Tips

It’s important to drive through the top leg, rather than pushing off the bottom leg, to step up the platform. Choose a height that allows you to perform side step ups with minimal involvement from the bottom leg, while keeping your torso straight.

How To Do Side Step Ups

  1. Stand in front of the step or plyo box with your feet hip width apart and hands by your sides. Brace your core by tightening the abdominal muscles – it can be helpful to imagine you are about to be punched.

    If using dumbbells or kettlebells, you can hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms extended by your side, or hold a dumbbell or kettlebell between both hands in front of your chest.

  2. Place your left foot on to the box and drive through this foot to push your body up and bring your right foot on to the platform.

  3. As you push up, focus on squeezing your glutes and maintaining a tall spine.

  4. You can alternate between legs or switch after you've finished reps.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.