How to do it:
- Stand in front of a step or a staircase with hands on hips.
- Place your left foot flat on the stair (shown).
- Lean forward, push up through the left heel, and straighten that leg. Your right leg should be bent behind you when you come up.
- Return to the starting position, keeping your weight on your left leg the entire time. (Your right toes should touch the floor for balance only.)
Bonus benefits: The step-up also harnesses the strength of your hamstrings, thighs, and calves.
Make it harder: When you come up onto your left leg, bring your right knee up high in front of you, until the right thigh is parallel with the floor. (The leg remains bent, with the sole of the foot facing the floor.) Do the same thing on the other side. This will challenge your balance, stretch your hip flexors, and work your core.