The dumbbell step-up is an effective isolation exercise for the quads, but it also targets the glutes, hamstrings, and calves as well. Your core muscles have to stabilize and balance your body so it also receives secondary stimulation through the movement. Now, the good thing about using dumbbells is that they allow you to focus on unilateral strength (One side at a time), which is great for bringing up a lagging side.
This exercise can hit more of the quads or glutes depending on your positioning away from the platform you’re stepping up onto. The closer you are the more you target your quads. The farther you are, the more you target your glutes. The dumbbell step-up is a good exercise for anyone looking to improve their leg development.
In this Exercise
- Target Muscle Group: Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius)
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Compound
- Equipment: Dumbbells, bench
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Stand in front of a bench or raised platform while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Slowly step up onto the bench with your left leg and then bring your right leg onto the bench and stand up straight.
- Then step down off the bench with your left leg, and bring your right leg down so both feet are on the floor.
- now, repeat by stepping onto the bench with your right leg, and then bring your left leg up onto the bench so you’re standing on the bench with both feet.
- Then step down off the bench with your right leg, and bring your left leg down so both feet are on the floor in the starting position.
- Then repeat by alternating your legs for the desired number of reps.
Variations & Tips
- Perform the dumbbell step-up slowly, and control the movement to keep your balance.
- Keep your knees behind your feet to prevent knee injury.
- Keep your back straight and core tight during the movement.
- The closer you are to the bench when you perform the movement, the more you work your quads.
- The farther you are from the bench, the more you work your glutes.
Watch: How to do the dumbbell step-up
Join our list
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.