Fit First Responders: The Step Up

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Today your FIT FOR DUTY. FIT FOR LIFE exercise of the day is the step up.


The Step Up is a great exercise for lower body strength development. The Step Up can be performed as a bodyweight exercise or with a variation of different modalities from dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell.


For a Law Enforcement Officer similar to an athlete, much of the job responsibility is done on one leg from running to jumping to even grappling of it came to that. It is absolutely crucial to develop not only bi-lateral strength but also unilateral strength. This is what single-leg training exercises like the lunge and step up are a necessity when training to be the best you as a police officer.

The step-up is not only a unilateral movement but also a functional, multi-joint movement that has a high crossover effect to many of the moves you will perform on a daily basis as one of the finest. This exercise will help you to produce tremendous power and strength in your lower extremity by building the quads, glutes and hamstrings.


  1. Choose a box, step or bench that is appropriate for your fitness level. A great starting point is at or above parallel.
  2. Start with one foot on the box and one foot on the floor.
  3. By pushing through the foot on the box, stand up by extending your hips and then lower down back to the start position.

Sets/Duration: Perform 3×5-15 reps depending on strength level and goal.

Coach JC’s Coaching Points

  • Focus on pushing off of the foot that is on the box and not the foot on the floor. Use your foot that is on the box and that same glute to drive through the box and extend the hip at the top. Return to the start position with a controlled motion to work that eccentric muscle contraction and build that posterior chain strength.
  • A common mistake is to push off with the non-working side either by extending the knee and/or ankle. To correct this “cheat” tendency, keep the knee locked and ankle dorsiflexed (i.e., toes up) and tap the floor with the heel

*There are many different variations of the step up. Once you become advanced at this movement try adding weight. We can then increase the height of the box and include different tempo work to challenge you and build more strength and power.  To see many of these variations to the step up go to the exercise library at, under resources and start with the knees to chest exercise.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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