You don't need a gym or any special equipment to build strength and burn calories in a single workout. A stair workout will help you build strength and build cardiovascular endurance in a single session.
All you'll need for this workout is a quality pair of athletic shoes and a relatively empty set of stairs. If you live in an urban area, it'll likely be easy to find a flight of stairs at a city building. If you live in a suburban area, try the bleachers at the football field of your local high school.
Benefits of Stair Workouts: Strength, Power and Endurance
Stair workouts offer several health and fitness benefits. Nearly all of the exercises involve complex, multi-joint lower body movements that build strength in the hips and legs. Several of the exercises are also dynamic, or explosive, which means they'll develop power in the hips and legs. It's common for athletes to incorporate stair workouts into their regimen for this very reason.
Stair workouts are also a challenge to your cardiovascular system. Your lungs, heart and circulatory system have to work at a much higher intensity, which in turn strengthens the heart and makes your lungs and circulatory system much more efficient at taking in oxygen and delivering it to your working tissues.
Lastly, stair workouts burn a high number of calories in a relatively short amount of time If you're looking to lower your body fat, adding one to two stair workouts into your weekly schedule will help you reach your goal.
Structuring a Stair Workout: Warm-up, Session, and Cool Down
A comprehensive stair workout features a warm-up, a training session, and a cool down. Each element plays an important role in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the workout.
The warm-up prepares your heart, lungs and muscles for physical activity. Before starting the training session, jog or walk briskly on a flat surface for five minutes to increase your breathing rate and body temperature. The warm-up will help reduce the risk of injury and help you perform better during your actual stair workout.
One you're finished with your stair session, walk at a leisurely rate for five minutes. This cool down period allows your body to gradually return to a resting rate. Your breathing and heart rate will be able to return to normal more safely.
Stair Workout Session: Five Conditioning Exercises
This stair workout features five different exercises. Complete the exercises in order as listed. Once you've finished with an exercise, move right into the next one.
You'll notice that the workout asks you to walk down the stairs in between sets. Traveling down stairs places excess stress on your knee joints, so avoid jogging or jumping down, which can lead to injury. Walking down the stairs will also give you a bit of recovery in between sets. The workout will take about 15 minutes to complete.
Start at the bottom of the stairs. Sprint up the stairs as fast as you can, focusing on driving your knees up toward your chest with each step. Once you get to the top, walk down the stairs. As soon as you get to the bottom, turn and sprint up the stairs again. Repeat until you've completed five trips up the stairs.
From the bottom of the stairs and with your feet set to hip-width apart, hop with two feet onto the first step. As soon as you land, hop up onto the next step. Hop up the entire collection of stairs, focusing on landing and taking off with your feet always hip-width apart. Once you get to the top of the stairs, walk down. Repeat to complete a total of two sets.
From the bottom of the stairs, face sideways with your lead foot placed on the second step (skipping the first step). Push off your upper foot to bring your trailing foot up onto the step beside your upper foot. Place the original upper foot up onto the stair two steps up, again skipping one, and repeat until you've climbed all the way up the stairs. Walk down the stairs and repeat, facing the other direction so that you're stepping up with the opposite leg.
Begin at the bottom of the stairs. Jump in place as high as you can. Immediately upon landing, drop forward into a push-up position, with your hands placed on the stairs several steps up from the bottom. Complete a push-up and then jump your feet up one step ahead. Repeat until you've completed 10 reps.
At the bottom of the stairs, face sideways with your lead foot atop the first step. Cross your lower foot up and over the upper foot and step up onto the stair above. Then, cross your new lower foot behind your new upper foot to step up onto the next stair. Continue crossing over and behind with your trailing feet to make your way up the stairs. Once you're at the top, walk back down. Repeat, this time facing the other direction.