Squats and lunges are the tried-and-true part of any serious leg day routine. Yet let’s be honest. By the time you start your second set of 16 reps, boredom can creep in. And let’s not forget there are other muscles to train in the legs that help with balance, stability and strength.

Get a total body workout with box step-overs

Box step-overs are a challenging way to enhance your lower body fitness routine. They’re similar to box step-ups or box jumps (the exercise CrossFit made famous) yet box step-overs add weights. Adding dumbbells, kettlebells or a medicine ball as you step up and over the box gives you a total body workout: glutes, quads, hamstrings, core and your upper body. This versatile workout builds strength while sculpting muscles.

How it works


Warm up

Properly warm up your lower and upper body before beginning.


Find the right box

It should be sturdy, stable and high enough that when your entire foot is on top, your knee is at a 90-degree angle.  


Begin with light weights

Hold one in each hand with your arms at your sides.


Square up

Face the box with hips squared and stand upright. Your shoulders should be in line with your hips.


Focus on breathing

Breathe in, hold in your core, then step onto the box with your right foot entirely on top of the box.


Step up

Lean into your right leg and step up with your left. Keep your chest up and shoulders back as you step. Remain upright. Breathe out and squeeze your glutes. 


Step down

Breathe in, hold in your core muscles and step down with your right leg then left.



With both feet on the ground, turn to face the box. Repeat the movements and proper body position as you alternate legs. Start with 8 reps then increase at your own pace.

Ready to challenge yourself? Increase the weights or slow down the moves. When you decrease speed, you focus on balance, strength and stability. Raising the height of the box puts more emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings. If you want to target the quads, keep the box low.

If you’re consistent, you’ll notice a difference in the shape of your glutes, stronger legs and core, as well as an increase in upper body strength, which makes those push-ups a whole lot easier. 

This exercise helps train your muscles to be sturdy and dependable during everyday activities like walking up and down flights of stairs. The more durable your body is, the stronger you will become and the less likely you’ll suffer injuries.

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