What is a Poliquin Step Up?
As well as being one of the most deceivingly difficult exercises, the Poliquin step up is one of the most important exercises done at BBCT. This exercise targets the Vastus Medialis Oblique, your VMO. The VMO is part of the quadricep muscle group on the front of your thigh and is responsible for tracking the knee cap. More importantly, the VMO is the main stabilizer for the knee. A strong VMO is important for preventing and helping knee problems.
The setup for a Poliquin step up is rather simple. It involves one foot being turned outward slightly, about 5 degrees, and the heel being raised on a wedge that is elevated off the ground. The other foot hangs off the front of the elevation with the toes pointed toward the ceiling. The goal is to tap the heel on the ground.
There are specific things your trainer is looking for during this movement. First, your hips must remain parallel. The exercise should start at a height where your hip does not drop when lowering yourself to tap your heel on the ground. The starting height will be different for everyone. Your trainer will also be looking to make sure your knee on the leg that is elevated is going over your toe, making sure not to stress the inside of the knee.
There are a couple of ways to progress a Poliquin step up. Once the movement can be performed well at the lowest level, the goal is to increase the height of the step up, while maintaining proper form. Once the maximum height is reached, the exercise can be progressed by adding weight. Weight can be added using dumbbells or a barbell. A barbell is seen as a progression from dumbbells.
The Poliquin step up is one of the few exercises where the number of reps will always be high. Rarely are reps as low as 12-15. Most of the time, reps will be as high as 20-30 because the movement has such a small range of motion and tempo can be hard to keep. When done correctly, the muscle that runs along the inside of the knee should be burning.