Fitness Post – Unusual Combination Exercises


The picture above shows a variation of the Step Down exercise but you can add a simple movement to the upper body to make it a whole body movement.

Take more notice of the second picture showing the depth you should strive to attain when your supporting thigh is near parallel to the floor and the heel of the supported leg is the part of the foot that touches the floor. Also note that the correct way to do the variation I am talking about in that you use the side of the Step Up Stool rather than moving from the back or front of it (these are variations, but not for this example here).

This exercise involves a fair degree of balance and to help with this, you raise your arms forwards as you ascend to the bottom of the movement. In the pictures above, the arms remain in this position throughout the movement. I prefer to raise my arms as I descend as it helps in the balance and coordination of the movement. I have noticed that if I hold a pair of light Dumbbells, balance is even better and it adds an upper body element to the exercise. Doing this is also a more natural progression to the exercise.

Of course, if you are just starting out in your resistance regime you will need to start the Step Down exercise on a lower stool than the one shown. As long as you can demonstrate the correct technique where your knee doesn’t extend over your foot of the supporting leg is the depth you need to start at? It is also essential that you only touch the supported heel on the floor rather than the flat of the foot as you will tend to want to cheat and push off the floor.

So, for this variation I am talking about, start by standing on the bench or stool on one foot and holding a pair of Dumbbells in front with your arms straight. Keeping your head up and your chest out, squat down to the side until the heel of your supported leg touches the floor. As you descend, raise the Dumbbells to shoulder height while keeping your arms straight. Time it so the Dumbbells reach shoulder height as your heel touches the floor. Essentially touch the floor with your heel and pause there without placing your weight on that foot as you want to keep the tension on your supporting leg. From there, straighten your supporting leg while lowering the Dumbbells back to in front of your body at upper thigh height. Complete 3 – 4 sets of  6 – 12 repetitions, alternating with each leg.

This a more advanced exercise than the basic Step Down exercise, so start at the level you can cope with. If you don’t have any groin injuries you can add to this exercise by placing a block close to the bottom of the stool where your supported heel touches the floor and touch the heel on the outside of that. This places a degree of tension on the Adductor muscles (muscles on the inner part of the thighs).

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