Barbell Step Ups

Exercise Summary
Primary Muscle(s) Quads
Secondary Muscle(s) Glutes, HamstringsAbductorsAdductors
Equipment Barbell
Emphasis Compound
Type Squat

Barbell Step Ups Instruction

  • Have a box placed, its height slightly below your knee, near the squat rack.
    • When placing a foot on the box, your thigh should be parallel to the floor.
  • Be in a strong athletic position: knees flexed, core and glutes activated, chest up, and shoulders back. 
  • Get underneath the bar, placing it on your traps
  • Have your hands outside shoulder-width in a position where you can create torque in your shoulders. The equates to a strong upper back position.
    • The bar does not sit loosely on your back.
  • You want your torso in a strong, vertical position.
    • Chest up and eyes fixed straight ahead.
  • Unrack the bar and approach the box.
  • Place one foot on the box, maintaining core and postural integrity.
  • Focus on driving your foot through the box, activating your glutes, quads and hamstrings of the working leg.
  • Stand tall on the box then lower your non-working leg to the starting position. 


  • Don't let your body fall forward or let excess weight be put on the balls of your feet.
  • Avoid 'rolling' or 'rocking' into the movement. Be strict with the execution. 
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