Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredOther
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Unilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Adductors, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings, Shoulders, Traps, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Overhead Step Up Overview

The overhead step up is a variation of the step up and an exercise used to target the muscles of the leg.

Performing overhead step ups provides a challenge for the core and shoulders to stabilize the spine and weight overhead.

It is an excellent progression to use for those looking to build single leg strength.

Overhead Step Up Instructions

  1. Set up in front of a riser which is 8-12” off the ground.
  2. Hold a plate overhead with your arms extended and initiate the exercise by stepping on to the riser with one leg.
  3. Drive through the front foot and extend the knee as you stand up fully.
  4. Slowly lower back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Overhead Step Up Tips

  1. If you can’t get your arms completely overhead with your elbows locked out then you may need to address core stability, thoracic extension, or both. Consider looking through the rest of the database for example of exercises which help to improve those.
  2. If you’re having trouble with only driving off the front leg, then consider pulling up the toes on the back foot. This will shift the weight onto your heel and prevent you from driving off the ball of your foot.
  3. If you want to emphasize more a pump through one leg versus another, complete all of the repetitions on one side before switching to the other.
  4. Do not rock forward to initiate the movement. Lean forward over the front leg, drive off the forefoot, control the eccentric, step off, and repeat.