Last week, we talked about Step-Ups, a great exercise that challenges the torso, hips and legs. Unlike squats, it is a great “single leg” exercise, much like a lunge, in that the staggered stance places unique challenges on each leg to maintain balance while performing the movement.
Like most exercises, there are multiple ways you can progress the movement once you can successfully complete multiple repetitions without much problem. The most common way exercises are progressed is by adding weight in the form of barbells, dumbbells, weighted vests, or other implements. With the step-up, holding dumbbells in either hand while maintaining proper posture throughout the exercise is a great way to increase the difficulty of the exercise.
With different single leg exercises, I like to add direction to the progression to challenge the athlete. As with any exercise, consult with a qualified trainer and your physician before implementing them into your workout program.
Rather than stepping up onto a box in front of you, place the box to your side. Keep a good upright posture and step up onto the box, always facing forwards, essentially “side-stepping” up onto the box. Slowly lower yourself back down to the floor while maintaining good posture. Avoid “bouncing” off the floor to start your second rep.
The crossover step is an advanced exercise that requires good hip and knee mobility and is very specific to hockey. With the box to the athlete’s right side, they will take their left foot, step over and up onto the box. They then slowly reverse the motion to lower themselves to the floor. Typically, I would have an athlete master other versions of the step-up (and lunges on flat ground) before progressing to the crossover step-up, but as you can see, it replicates the crossover motion in a skating stride very well.