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How to Do a Lateral Step-Up Exercise

Learn how to do a lateral 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 few minutes about how to do a lateral step-up. A lateral step-up is very similar to a forward step-up or an anterior step-up. It works great in combination with the anterior step-up. The one big difference is that you're going to be using a different muscle group in the hip, the gluteus medius muscle, which is a smaller muscle in your buttock, just lateral to your gluteus maximus. Its responsibility is to support the hip, which has a major impact on the forces down by your knee.

Let's come on over here to the step. The key is going to be setting up in a lateral manner, or sideways, and putting one foot up on the step. Good. You need a little room for the other foot to land. Yep, exactly. And from here, you're just popping up onto the step. All right. And then coming right back down.

Now the progression is very, very easy. You can start on a lower step, and you can also utilize your foot that's on the ground to push up and to get up onto the step. Or you can do what she just did, and that is coming down again with the foot, picking the toes up off of the ground, and coming up the step in this manner. This eliminates the calf muscle on this leg and makes all the force and all the work on the leg that's actually on the step. It's much more isolated in that way.

Come on back down again. Pick the toes up off here, and then pop up onto the step. Great. It's a strengthening exercise, so you're looking at two to three sets of ten, maybe on alternating days to balance out your workout for your knee and your hip. And again, the progression would be to add some hand weights, maybe go to a higher step, and certainly trying to eliminate the calf muscle on the leg that's on the floor, making sure all the work is being done by the leg that's on the step itself.

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