What is this exercise?

The Step up is another great one for your glute max and a simple exercise to perform.

It is a great exercise for primarily working your Gluteus Maximus (GMax) ( see link to Bulgarian  bridge  arabesque  clams ) which is the muscle at the back of your gluteals. It will also assist with your Gluteus Medius ( GMed ) strength and activation which is the muscle at the side of your gluteals. However, the burn should be felt at the back. It also activates your quadriceps, hamstrings and calf.

Firstly, find a surface to step up onto. Put your foot forward, ensuring you hip and knees are in line with your foot and that your foot is facing forward. Drop your back knee slightly until you start to feel the burn in the GMax of the leg on the step ( similar to the lunge )

Once you are in position, drive through your lead leg. Try not to drop your hip on the side of the leg that is lifting into the air.

To really work your GMax, keep your body up-right and drive up through the lead leg.

If you can achieve this for 20 reps you will gain a noticeable burn in your gluteals and quadriceps.

Repetition goal: 20 +   or to fatigue

Common errors

I feel burn in the side of my glutes/hip > then your pelvis is probably not square and you will need to hitch the hip/pelvis up on the side with the leg lifting up.

I feel a burn in my hamstring > bend your knee more so your squat is lower.

I feel burn in my quadriceps > shift your weight back onto your heel and stay more upright in your trunk.

I can’t feel my glutes burn at the back > try to pre-activate your glute max with one of the easier exercises e.g. clams / bridge / arabesque / Bulgarian lunges then perform the step up.

What muscle groups does this exercise use?

Primary Activation/BURN

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Quadriceps

Secondary Activation

  • Hamstrings
  • Calf


  • Glute Max strength
  • Pelvis control
  • Core stability
  • Quad strength
  • Hamstring strength
  • Calf strength
  • No equipment needed
  • Stabilizes your knee and ankle joints.