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Total Body Training At It's Finest...
Multiple Resistance Step-Ups

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One of my favorite things to do is push the limits in the gym...in what I can physically do, in what's physically possible and in what's actually sane...

And THIS exercise is a result of that pushing of the limits.

It's a normal, everyday step-up exercise with a twist...I loaded myself with as many different forms of resistance as I could physically put onto myself to do those step-ups with.

1. An 85 lb weight vest
2. A pair of 20 lb ankle weights (40 lbs total)
3. A pair of 20 lb chains (40 lbs total)
4. A pair of 125 lb dumbells

That gave me a grand total of 415 lbs of additional resistance over bodyweight.

Now, the first question you might ask is why not just use a barbell on your back, loaded with that much weight (ok, maybe it's the second question...the first question might be "are you nuts?" - and that answer is "yes...yes, I am")?

You COULD do that, and I've done heavy barbell step-ups before...however, what I've found is that basically WEARING a good portion of the resistance loads your ENTIRE body in a way that a simple barbell step-up can't duplicate.

The barbell step-up hits the legs, glutes and upper back quite well...the multiple resistance step-up hits all those plus the arms, shoulders, core, calves...even the chest to some degree.


So before I get into how I did this, I do want to let you know that if you don't have as many forms of resistance as I do, you can STILL do something like this with what you've got.

If you've just got a pair of dumbells, use those and push the limits with how heavy you go. And next time, bring a sturdy backpack and throw some weight into that as well. Use your imagination with how many ways you can load yourself...it makes for a great challenge and you'll have a lot of fun with people staring at you at the gym :).

Now, in addition to the resistance, you'll need a Step platform, low box or stairs...something about 6 to 10 inches off the ground. We're going for weight here, not range of motion.

This pic shows the weight vest and the ankle weights. Next time I do this one, I'm going to wear the ankle weights on my forearms so that I get constant loading from them, too. I found that while wearing them on my ankles, it takes the resistance off when my feet are on the ground. Not the case when on the forearms.

Next, I hung the chains around my neck. These are just simple auto tow chains that I got at the hardware store.

Now it's time to pick up the dumbells...and I found this was actually one of the toughest parts of the whole exercise! You're essentially doing a deficit deadlift with weight hanging off you in a very awkward fashion...it's a great exercise in and of itself.

I'm also using 1 Ton Hooks to take grip strength out of the equation. If you've never tried lifting hooks, I have to say I absolutely LOVE these things. They really do allow you to lift weight for more reps because grip strength is not a factor.

Once you've stood up with the weight, walk over to the Step platform and set your left foot on top.

Now step up and stand on top.

How I did it was to keep that left foot on top and just step up and down with the right leg. You can step down with both feet and repeat, if you like.

I did my reps on one leg then switched to the other.

One of the key things to remember here is that it should be a LOW platform. Even though you're technically stepping up with one leg, you're actually using BOTH to get yourself and the weight up there. If the box is too high, you'll limit the weight you can use.

When I finished my reps with both legs, I then set the dumbells down and continued with just the weight that was loaded on myself...a literal drop set.

Once finished, the chains came off and that was that.

This is a GREAT exercise and something I highly recommend you try out, using as many forms of resistance as you have available to you.

It's total-body training at it's finest!


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