The side step up is an introductory activity in a progression to resistance squat exercises – for example, back squats and overhead squats.
The side step up is a unilateral (1-leg) version of the step up starting from a side-on position. Although this example shows a box, other objects can be used such as a stair, bench, block, or other stable surface. It is important that the platform is not too high and that the athlete works through a progression with lower platforms successfully before advancing.
The athlete begins in a position next to the platform.
The athlete then places the foot onto the platform and uses the muscles of the plant leg (hamstrings, glutes) to push upward. Note that the athlete’s upper body is relatively perpendicular to the ground (chest is “up”), the athlete is using his arms for balance, and the shin of the plant foot is perpendicular to the platform with the knee in a protected position (not angled inward). Also note that the position of the foot on the platform allows enough space for the second foot when it is raised up.
The movement completes with both feet on the ground.