As a runner, I’m all the time in search of new methods to enhance my leg power. Sculpting sturdy legs may help runners get sooner and keep away from accidents on the run. One examine (opens in new tab), revealed within the Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis discovered that 40 weeks of power coaching helped distance runners enhance their VO2 max (the quantity of oxygen your physique makes use of whereas exercising), and run extra effectively.
As a health editor, I like nothing greater than diving right into a exercise problem, and subsequent up on my record was lateral step-ups. A variation to the normal step-up, which works in your quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings (right here’s how you can do a weighted step-up, and the variations to attempt), lateral step-ups additionally work your hip flexor muscle tissues.
One other big good thing about lateral step-ups is that it’s a unilateral train, which means you’re engaged on strengthening one leg at a time. This implies you’ll rapidly be capable of see any imbalances within the physique — we frequently have one leg that’s stronger than the opposite, and the step-ups would possibly really feel simpler on one aspect.
However what would occur if I added 50 weighted lateral step-ups to my routine for every week? Is that this an train each runner ought to have in his or her repertoire? Learn on to search out out extra.
Find out how to do a lateral step-up
To do a lateral step-up, begin by standing subsequent to a field, bench, or step. For those who’re new to this transfer, keep away from utilizing too excessive a field originally — it needs to be decrease than your knee top to start out.
Standing subsequent to the step, place one foot on it, with the opposite on the ground. Utilizing the leg on the step, push by your foot, interact your glutes and core, and carry your leg off the ground so your toes are on the similar degree. Slowly return to the beginning place, touchdown softly down on the ground on the ball of your foot. Repeat all of your reps on one aspect earlier than switching legs.
As with all workout routines, for those who’re a whole newbie, otherwise you’re returning to train following an harm, it’s a good suggestion to speak with a private coach earlier than including reps, or weight to this train. Transferring with dangerous type can put you liable to getting injured. It’s additionally price noting that it’s undoubtedly not really useful to do decrease physique exercises each single day — I did for this problem, however it’s not a traditional a part of my exercise routine.
I did lateral step-ups day-after-day for every week — right here’s what occurred
So what would occur if I did 50 lateral step-ups a day for every week? I grabbed a step, and a set of dumbbells (try the finest adjustable dumbbells for figuring out at dwelling right here), and set to work. Right here’s what I discovered:
One leg was undoubtedly stronger than the opposite
As talked about within the intro, one of many advantages of lateral step-ups is that you’re working one leg at a time, serving to spotlight imbalances within the physique and stopping the dominant aspect of your physique from overtraining.
I do know from expertise my proper leg is stronger than my left — I’m right-handed and infrequently lead with my proper leg when working, and the identical utilized right here. I discovered I used to be extra balanced on my proper aspect, and located it a lot more durable to carry out the workout routines once I was main with my left leg.
I requested a private coach to take a look at my type, and he or she stated whereas it was fully regular to have one leg a bit of weaker than the opposite, I used to be doing the appropriate factor by specializing in unilateral workout routines like this to strengthen my left leg. By the top of the week, I undoubtedly felt extra assured on my left aspect.
She additionally famous that this train is one which’s simple to get flawed — it’s tempting to push from the leg that’s on the ground, however this may trigger ankle stress. The motion should come from the leg on the bench.
I felt my core working
I typically fall right into a little bit of a rhythm with these exercise challenges however discovered I actually had to focus on this transfer and transfer slowly, and with management. The descent is as essential because the ascent, and I discovered if I didn’t preserve my core engaged, I’d crash again right down to the ground, particularly if I used to be utilizing dumbbells. This will put stress on the foot, ankle, knee, and decrease again, so is unquestionably one thing to keep away from.
I had to consider this train
After getting a private coach to observe my type, she additionally famous that I typically used the momentum to rock myself ahead as I lifted my leg. She received me to consider staying grounded on the step, and solely transferring upwards. Leaning ahead makes the transfer simpler, because it removes the load out of your quads. Nevertheless, leaning ahead is just not good on your decrease again, so take into consideration preserving your torso upright throughout this train.
Usually these week-long challenges observe an identical sample — I get tremendous bored by day three, and should give you new methods to combine up the train to maintain it attention-grabbing. This wasn’t the case right here. Certain, it wasn’t essentially the most thrilling finisher to my exercises or runs, however I needed to focus, and I labored on growing the burden of my dumbbells barely every time.
After all, seven days isn’t anyplace close to lengthy sufficient to construct muscle, however I did discover that by the top of the week, I felt extra assured on my left aspect. I’ll undoubtedly be preserving these in my leg day periods as I gear as much as the London Marathon this Spring, I’m simply glad I don’t should do one other 50 tomorrow morning.
In search of extra leg day inspiration? Learn what occurred when our health author did 60 leg extensions day-after-day for every week, plus this 7-move kettlebell leg exercise that strengthens your decrease physique.