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How to Do a Forward Step-Up Exercise

Learn how to do a forward step-up in this Howcast video about physical therapy exercises for the knees.


Hi. My name is Eric Sampson, and I want to talk a little bit about how to do a forward step-up for you knee. It is a great exercise to work during on your functional part of the recovery for many knee injuries, such as meniscus injuries or tendonitis. It's a great exercise because it's functional, meaning it kind of mimics what we are doing in everyday life, such as the stairs and curbs and those kind of activities.

It can be worked on in the clinic by using a step. You can raise the step up and down with certain equipment. But ultimately, you're going to put a foot up on your step. So go ahead and put a foot up on the step. Good. And it's very easily done by coming up and down with your other foot.

So the target muscle we're working on is your quadriceps on the leg that's on the step. So if you come up one more time and then come on back down.

Now, it's an exercise that can be made much harder simply by, again, raising it up, but also by trying to work on not cheating with the foot that's on the floor behind you. We typically are going to push off that foot, the back foot, with the calf. And what she's doing now is trying to work on the same exercise, which is not using her calf muscle in the back to pop herself back up. All right. This puts all the force and all the target on your leg that's on the step and specifically your quad.

Secondary muscles that are working during this exercise include your glutes, as well as your calf and your hamstrings. It is a great exercise again because it's very functional. We can't really avoid stairs during our day to day. We need to strengthen our muscles in a functional manner.

Two to three sets of ten is wonderful, maybe on alternating days, and you can progress on a week to week basis to hand weights and again to making it more difficult with trying to get your toes off the floor in the back and using only your leg that's on the step to pop up into the step.

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