This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Work your legs on uneven ground—the barbell step-up is a simple and effective leg exercise that strengthens leg muscles while building balance and leg-muscle control.
Stand upright facing a 24-inch box or the long side of a flat bench with a barbell resting across your shoulders and behind your neck. Your feet should be hip-width apart and your toes pointed forward. Hold the barbell on either side of your neck about one foot wider than your shoulders, with your palms facing forward. Step your right foot up onto the box or bench (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, use the muscle of the right leg to bring the left foot powerfully up onto the box or flat bench. Do not allow the left foot to rest on the bench; instead, at the top of the lift, hold for one second to train balance (see Photos 2 and 3).
- After holding for one second, reverse motion and bring the left foot back down to the floor. Try not to land with a thump—control your downward motion (see Photo 4).
- Leave the right foot up on the flat bench and perform an entire set with the right leg in the top position. When you have finished a set with the right leg in the top position, reverse feet and repeat with the left leg in the top position.