RTS Coaching: The Sprinter Step-up


Step-ups are one of my favorite single-leg exercises.

(Well if we’re being transparent, I think of them as pseudo single-leg exercises. But I’ll discuss that more in the EADS 3.0 videos coming soon!)

There are numerous benefits to the step-up over similar exercises:

  • It leads with a concentric (versus eccentric) movement.
  • You can easily adjust the height of the box (and therefore the range of motion).
  • It’s a natural movement pattern that many of use every single day.

Today I’m going to show you one of my favorite variations of the step-up: The sprinter step-up.

As awesome as step-ups are, this variation really packs a wallop.

Not only does it put a premium on stability and control, but it also helps develop the always elusive hip separation.

Hip separation is the ability to extend one hip, while flexing the opposite hip, and it’s crucial if you want to run fast.

So without any further ado, here’s the sprinter step-up!

As you can see, the sprinter step-up is definitely not the first progression you go to.

Instead, you need to build a level of stability and control first, before jumping into this exercise.

However, once you’re there, here are some key things to focus on:

  • Feel your whole foot on the box before starting.
  • Don’t just think about standing up – think about pushing through the box.
  • Maintain good foot-knee-hip alignment when stepping up (and down) off the box.
  • In the top position, think about extending the “down” leg. You should have the ankle, knee, hip and shoulder in-line. The “up” leg should be flexed through the ankle, knee and hip.
  • Last but not least, work to hold that top position for a 1 count before coming back down. I like to think of holding a modified Heisman pose.

The sprinter step-up is an awesome exercise, and one that I will use with virtually all my athletes at some point in the career.

Build up to it and I guarantee you’ll love it as well!

All the best


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  1. Nice!!!
    I love step ups, do them after heavy squats with just body weight on a 18″ box. Totally going to try those. Great tip about pushing through the box, thats very important.

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