The lateral step up is a compound resistance training exercise to strengthen the hip abductors, knee- and hip extensors and enhance lateral movement capabilities.
The lateral step up activates numerous muscle groups simultaneously, thereby improving neuromuscular system efficiency, and because of the single foot action it also improves dynamic stability.
Since the lateral step up is a free-weight exercise, it doesn’t just focus on the prime movers but also engages all the stabilizers.
That emulates the situation on the tennis court, where you need to stabilize everything during stroke production.
Because tennis players predominantly move from side to side and the lateral step up targets the musculature for lateral movements, you should implement this exercise into your workout program.
Lateral Step Up Progression
If you use additional weights…make sure you use appropriate resistance so you can control the action throughout the entire range of motion. Otherwise you defeat the purpose of the exercise.
Very often, people use too much resistance and they become sloppy. Especially when it comes to maintaining core stability repetitively.
Also, don’t just progress with adding more weight. First, maximize the speed while maintaining perfect form.
Lateral Step Up Description
- Position barbell chest level on the rack; add resistance (plates) and attach safety clips
- Take an athletic stance; stand straight, feet are shoulder-width apart; knees slightly flexed; toes point slightly outward (10˚-20˚)
- Use a pronated grip (palms facing down) and place hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the bar
- Move head underneath the barbell and position barbell superior to the spine of the scapulae (on the top shelf created by the trapezius); do not place barbell on top of the cervical spine! Move away from the rack towards the box
- Shoulder faces the box, place one foot in the center on top of the box; toes point slightly outward (10˚-20˚); knee & hip are flexed at 90˚ (pre-adjust box height appropriately); upper body is straight (push chest out); look forward
- Push through the heel of the front foot and extend the knee and hip; knee must not move beyond toes; toes point forward; upper body is straight (push chest out); look forward
Note: Exercise can also be performed by using body weight only!
Lateral Step Up Targeted Musculature
- Gluteus Medius & Minimus
- Gluteus Maximus
In this section we provide you with some exercises you can use to optimize your training.
The exercises have been grouped and selected based on the major muscle group(s) they target – the prime movers.
The first exercise is a dynamic warm up to increase muscle tissue temperature to prepare you for your workout.
For more info take a look at the benefits of a proper warm up routine.
The second exercise is a free-weight resistance training exercise to strengthen the respective prime movers and improve neuromuscular system efficiency.
Why? Find out more about the purpose of weightlifting for tennis players.
The third exercise is a static stretching exercise you can do following your workout as a cool down to improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
Here is more information on the benefits of static stretching.