Power Snatch: 5RM
4 rounds of…
20 kb step-ups (53;24 / 35;20)
max effort muscle-ups or pull-ups
The weighted step-up has a lot of benefits, a few I listed below.
1. Improve Symmetry and Balance. The step up is a unilateral leg exercise, which means that you train each leg independently. The result is that you improve the symmetry of your leg musculature. And as I’m sure you could imagine, doing an exercise on one leg also improves your balance.
2. Increase Your Squat and Deadlift Strength. Want to squat and deadlift more? Step ups can help. First off, they increase your overall leg strength, as any leg exercise would. Second, as I had mentioned, it’s is a unilateral exercise; therefore, in addition to fixing muscle size imbalances, it fixes strength imbalances that are holding back your progress on bilateral leg exercises (i.e. squats and deadlifts). You see, it’s common to hit plateaus on bilateral exercises because you can unknowingly favor your stronger side; thus, your weaker side becomes your weakest link and retards your overall progress.
3. Save Your Lower Back. You use a whole lot less weight with step ups than you do with squats. This is obvious considering that step ups involve the same basic movement as squats, except you use just one leg. So this exercise can be clutch if you have lower back issues; or if you are simply trying to work your lower body without hitting your lower back.
4. Develop Explosive Leg Power. Step ups train explosiveness of the leg muscles. This of course translates to a general increase in lower body strength. But the benefits extend that. You’ll be faster (such as when you’re sprinting) and you’ll have a higher vertical jump (especially off of one leg).