Overhead Dumbbell Step-up For Back Pain -Men's Health Australia

This Simple Dumbbell Movement Will Help You Beat Back Pain

Good for more than legs day, the overhead dumbbell step-up builds full-body strength – and will iron out your desk hunch, too.

Sitting might not be the new smoking, as some claim, but we do have a problem. Research by the British Heart Foundation from 2019 suggests average office workers spend 75 per cent of their day seated. And that was when most of us were commuting; with WFH on the rise and the demands of our jobs unyielding, getting steps in is no mean feat.

But some steps are better than others. Which is why Scott Britton, fitness expert and Battle Cancer founder, likes the overhead dumbbell step-up. “It’s amazing for lower-back strength and hip mobility, while also developing upper-thoracic strength.” Translated? “It’s the office-hunch antidote.”

The step-up stretches your hips and loads up your hamstrings, quads and glutes, while the overhead weight will make you contract your core to maintain control. As your upper back and shoulders work to keep the dumbbell aloft, “it strengthens muscles linked to that phone-and-laptop slump,” says Britton. Prepare to give your posture
a leg-up. 

Photography: Philip Haynes

1. The set-up

Stand in front of a box or platform roughly 20-30cm high. Perform a clean with a heavy-ish dumbbell so it comes to rest at your shoulder, then press overhead.

Photography: Philip Haynes

2. Step it up

With your arm locked out and the other out to the side for balance, step up on to the box with the leg on the opposite side to the raised dumbbell.

Photography: Philip Haynes

3. Hit reverse

When you’ve got both feet on the box, slowly reverse the movement, leading with the same leg, keeping the weight high throughout.

4. And repeat

Do your reps with one leg, then switch sides. As you get stronger, progress to two dumbbells, or scale up the height of the box.

By Scarlett Wrench

Scarlett Wrench is the Features Editor at Men’s Health and she specialises in food and nutrition, mental health, science and tech. By night, she hosts and produces live events for storytelling club Spark London. Follow @ScarlettWrench

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