The step up is a challenging exercise and this video goes through the major cheats we all like to employ. In summary, there are 3 principle ones: leaning forwards, pushing off the back foot and wobbly knees and hips.
Keep the body as upright as possible. Looking straight forwards will help.
If we are pushing off the back foot too much, how we will notice this is that we seem to be able to add more and more weight – hold heavier and heavier dumbbells, for example – and the exercise does not get much harder. So, as the video says, push through the heel of the rear foot, keeping the toes up to disable the rear leg.
Before adding weight, do a few reps with the hands on the hips and half an eye on the working knee, so as we push up the hips remain stable under our hands: there is no sudden side shift, and the knee remains true. We can use a mirror, of course, but don’t always use one so we work on good brain to body feel. If the knee or hip persists in wobbling about then there are a couple of alternatives: reduce the height. Quite frankly, a thick book is a good starting point for this exercise, rather than a step as high as the knee. The other alternative is to work on the Poliquin step up, followed by the awesomely difficult Petersen Step Up.
The exercise I was hoping to feature today was the Petersen Step Up, but cannot find a video on Youtube that has good form. So in due course, I’ll have to do one myself. The exercise is not as easy as the videos on Youtube make out. But it is the most fabulous leg/foot strengthener.