Two incredibly popular bodyweight movements that should be in any strength training bag of tricks. Today we are going to be looking at step ups vs lunges. And while there are a few articles on this topic floating around the web. They don’t really go into the differences between the two lifts and the advantages (and disadvantages) of both. So let’s get to the good stuff and break down the two movements!
Step Ups vs Lunges
What they have in common:
- Primarily target your quads hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
- Are both unilateral movements.
Both of these exercises will focus on the quads hamstrings, glutes, and calves. With a secondary focus on your core, stabilizer muscles, and benefit joint stability. Most trainers recommend if you are going to do both of these exercises, do them on separate days.
These two exercises are also both forms of unilateral (single leg) training. With a proven effectiveness to help increase performance in activities like running and jumping. While also benefiting your standard lifts like squats and deadlifts.
Why they are different:
- Step ups place all of the load (going up and down) on the one leg stepping up. While during a lunge the load is distributed between two legs through the crucial part of the movement.
- The spread out stance of the lunge will make the exercise a little more glute focused than the step up.
- During step ups, one leg supports your weight and also balances through the motion. This will also lead you to use stabilizer muscles (primarily in the foot and calf) that you don’t use while lunging.
- Step ups allow you to control the hip crease angle of the movement. Making it higher by increasing the step up size. Or scaling it by using a smaller step for people with hit mobility issues.
- Walking lunges will add a dynamic landing that you can not achieve with step ups. This will work additional stabilizer muscles. And is a great way to simulate and strengthen your legs for downhill running/hiking.