Step up to the plate this holiday season…with a Move of the Week!
THE MOVE: Goblet Lateral Step-up
MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Lunge: quads, glutes, hamstrings, anterior core.
WHY DO IT: This isn’t the typical step-up you see in those Step Aerobics classes of the 80’s. On the contrary, today’s step-up provides a great challenges when it comes to single-leg strength and multi-planar motion.
Let’s start with the obvious about this exercise. This is not a step-up done in the sagittal plane (front to back, up and down); rather, it is done in the frontal plane (side to side). We’ve spoken in the past about the benefits of training in the frontal plane, as most people live a very sagittal-dominated lifestyle. With the Goblet Lateral Step-up, we are challenging the legs to maintain alignment and recruiting a lot of the muscles that assist in pelvic stability and frontal plane movement.
In this movement we are not only moving through the frontal plane but the sagittal plane as well. Our hips are still moving through flexion and extension as we step from one side to the other.
A common error that we see with step-up variations is allowing the ribs to flare. This leads to a trainee putting a large amount of stress on the lumbar spine. Instead of actively owning proper rib/pelvic alignment, s/he will end up hanging out on passive restraints, which is a big no no. Having an external load anterior to the center of mass in the goblet position helps bring us into proper alignment.
HOW TO DO IT: Set up a box or bench next to you that has adequate surface area for you to step on without having to worry about falling off. Ideally, the box will put your hip crease slightly below your knee crease when you step up onto the box. If you lack the mobility to do so, start with a slightly lower box. (And be sure to check out our blogs on how to increase your mobility with FRC.) Obviously, the higher the box, the more difficult the exercise will be due to the greater range of motion requirements for the lead leg.
Hold the kettlebell or dumbbell close to your chest with your elbows tucked into your torso. Place your inside leg up and on the box. This leg should be doing the majority of the work here, so think about driving it down into the box to propel yourself upwards, almost as if you’re trying to punch a hole through it. When the inside leg is fully straight and extended, softly step up onto the box with the outside foot. Step off the box one foot at a time and repeat. You can alternate sides like Joe is doing in the video, or perform one side at a time.
While performing the movement, make sure that the toes are aligned as straight as possible to reinforce frontal plane stability. Also make sure to brace your anterior core so that you maintain good pelvis/rib alignment. Besides, who doesn’t like more core work?
This exercise is surprisingly much more difficult than it looks and quite humbling. It works great as an accessory movement later on during the workout. In this case, I would recommend performing 3 sets of 8-12 reps/side. Give this a shot and let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !
by Dan Cerone
Dan Cerone is the Director of Programming at Halevy Life.
Dan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Exercise Science and a Master’s Degree in Human Performance, which were both completed at Ithaca College. In addition, Dan is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), earned a PRC from the Postural Restoration Institute, and is a Functional Range Conditioning FRCms, Functional Movement Screen Specialist (FMS), and Kinstretch Instructor.
Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Dan completed a coaching internship at one of the country’s premiere strength and conditioning facilities where he worked with a wide variety of athletes, but mainly professional and collegiate hockey players. More recently, Dan worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Ithaca College where he programmed and worked with numerous varsity teams.
Dan is a competitive powerlifter who has placed first in multiple competitions.