Thursday, January 11, 2018

Keeping It Inside...on the Stairs


Baby it's been cold outside (FYI, I am SO over and done with that phrase, I had to modify it).

It's no secret I'm an outdoor runner. Even though dear old 'Milly (my almost 17-year old treadmill) is always available, I seldom ever want to play with her. In all honesty, I don't think she is too fond of me, either. After all, she's heard all the nasty things I've said about her (as well as the numerous explicatives I've said in her presence).

Recently, it's been downright frigidly bitter in Iowa. It's a given that running is my main go-to for fitness, but it's not my "one and only." Besides, it's (currently) my off-season, and I don't need (or want) to run excess miles for the time being. Since I am running less, I still need (and want) some additional cardio, though, and my preferred form of indoor fitness is found via my stairway!


Here's a sampling of what's kept me active in recent weeks. Not only have I enjoyed some great sweat sessions indoors, my entire body has been worked over and kept in check.

For example:

1**There's the basic single-stepping or double-stepping routine.

This Fast & Effective Stair Workout is really a back-to-the-basics workout. This will get you to a total of 100 flights of stairs by way of double-stepping and triple-stepping intervals. You can go as slow or as fast as you wish on the doubles, but the triples will probably dictate you go a little slower to ensure your footing. I guarantee you will feel every muscle in your legs get worked on this one! A word of caution...for this (and all the stair workouts on this post), the double or triple steps are meant ONLY for your ascension. Take single steps on the way back down from each flight.

2**How about a lower-body burn?

The 10 X 10 X 10's Lower Body Buster will give you an awesome lower-body burn. Each circuit involves 10 stair flights (single-steps), 10 lower body reps, and 10 reps of an arm movement (meant more as a recovery segment). All told, 10 circuits will net you 100 flights of stairs, 100 lower body reps, and 100 upper body reps. This workout (with the 10 circuits) took me just over 45 minutes from start to finish.

The lower body moves I used were: weighted forward lunges for each leg (1st & 6th circuit), weighted reverse lunges for each leg (2nd & 7th circuit), 1-minute wall sit (3rd & 8th circuit), weighted sumo squats (4th & 9th circuit), and weighted walking lunges for each leg (5th & 10th circuit).

The arm moves I used were: hammer curls (1st & 6th circuit), bicep curls (2nd & 7th circuit), upright rows (3rd & 8th circuit), triceps extensions (4th & 9th circuit), and shoulder presses (5th & 10th circuit).

3*Let's not forget the upper body!

The Stairway Upper Body Crusher will do just as the name implies...work your arms and shoulders. The stairs are there for cardio intervals; the single-stepping and double-stepping are for variety. Since I wanted the push-ups to be more of a slow, controlled move, I did them on an incline (on the bottom steps) to make them easier, allowing for a more full range of motion. This workout took me about 40 minutes.

The arm moves I utilized were: hammer curls (1st circuit), bicep curls (2nd circuit), lawn mowers (3rd circuit), cross-body bicep curls (4th circuit), and triceps extensions (5th circuit). You could substitute in other upper body moves, or increase the reps if you wish.


4**Push-ups can also be added in...as a recovery set

The Stair & Push-Up Circuit is similar to the Fast & Effective Workout mentioned above, except it has sets of push-ups mixed in for recovery segments. The stairs can be run as fast or slow as is comfortable, just remember to take the stairs by singles on the way back down from each flight. This workout will net you 100 total flights of stairs and 100 total push-ups. The entire five sets took me just under 30 minutes.

5**Lastly, it is possible to combine intervals on the stairs with intervals on the treadmill.

Being stranded inside on a cold and icy day (last winter) prompted me to create this interval workout. In case you're wondering who Stella is...just like 'Milly is the name I gave to my treadmill, Stella is the name I gave to my stairway (doesn't everyone name their exercise "equipment?").

Here's what happened:
*10 sets of steps (one set = going up one flight and then coming back down)
*1/4 mile on the treadmill (incline on 2, pace set at 6.0)
*15 sets of steps
*1/4 mile on the treadmill (same as above)
*20 sets of steps
*1/4 mile on the treadmill (same as above)
*15 sets of steps
*1/4 mile of the treadmill (same as above)
*10 sets of steps 
*cool down (I walked for 5 minutes, but adjusted the pace setting to 4.0)

As you can see, this involves a little bit of running back and forth...but that can be utilized as recovery time. Total flights climbed amounted to 70, and total mileage on the treadmill was only one mile. Each of these intervals could easily be lengthened (more flights of stairs, longer treadmill distances, or both) as your time or energy level allows. 

So, that's a tiny peek into what's been keeping me active (and warm!) recently. Care to give any of these a try? All you need is a stairway, a few light hand weights, and an open mind. 

***Disclaimer*** all of these workouts are my own creations. Some were featured in a previous post, High Steppin' in the SpRiNg, and all can be found on my #NotJustARunner Workouts page HERE.

***By the way...are you following me on social media? You can find me at these various platforms:
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I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0. 



50 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great way to change things up! I really like having so many workout options at home now. Sometimes my workout are a mix of things and it definitely helps it to go by quickly.

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    1. I seldom ever do the exact same workout twice. I do a lot of the same moves and reps, but I usually mix them up with a different sequence or add in varying stair intervals.

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  2. Looks like a great alternative to the treadmill! You've got it down pat.

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  3. I always love how creative you are with your stair workouts! My house stairs are so steep for some reason but maybe I will them one day when I am trapped in the house. Have a great weekend!

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    1. if they seem steep to you, maybe try climbing the stairs "sideways." Side stepping is a different move, so it won't be as obvious if your stairs are steeper than usual.

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  4. You are killing it on those stairs! It's always a good idea to mix it up.

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    1. I have to mix things up...repetition has no (welcome) place in my reality LOL

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  5. What a great way to change things up and do something different. I don't run outside. I use my treadmill all winter and really don't mind it.

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    1. I used my treadmill exclusively the first year I was a runner (13 years ago), but once I headed outside, it's been a serious battle to keep me on that thing LOL I'm thankful I have 'Milly has a back-up plan, but she gets pretty lonely...

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  6. I love your stair workouts. I actually don't have stairs readily available (gosh darn it!!!), but I tend to find them hard on my bad knee anyway. Good thing I don't have bomb cyclone (or whatever it was called) weather!

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    1. Thankfully, we didn't have the bomb cyclone either. We did have the freezing cold temps, though (and still do). I was worried about my recovering knee last fall, but my recovery was more of a "skin healing" kind of thing and not a joint/mobility/impact thing (thank goodness!). The knee definitely is a high-maintenance spot!

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  7. I used my staircase in Texas when we had an ice storm and everything was shut down for 4 days. I couldn't even walk across my apartment complex to the fitness room. My staircase was inside so I took advantage of that for 2 of those days.

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    1. An available staircase is something a lot of people have access to, usually for free! It's a great cardio alternative, but works practically everything from the waist-down as well.

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  8. This sound great, I'm saving it and giving it a try next time I'm stuck inside.

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  9. A great alternative. This winter has been so tough to train in. And I detest the mill.

    I do use the stairs to get to my desk but that's about it :(

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    1. I'll choose the stairs over the 'mill any day. No questions ;-)

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  10. This is such a great alternative!! Stair workouts are sure to break a sweat!!!

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    1. yes, indeed, stair workouts bring some sweat with them!

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  11. These are all amazing workouts. Once I'm cleared to do anything with my posterior, I'll have to try some of these stair workouts!

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    1. Yes, do give them a go....when you are feeling "up" to it ;-)

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  12. I've never done a stair specific workout, yours sounds great.

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    1. A stairway is basically a short (though steep) hill...great for hill training as well as strengthening the lower body!

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  13. I never thought of using stairs in that house for an actual workout. How creative!

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    1. I love stair running! Great cardio and lower body strengthening!

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  14. I LOVE stair workouts! Especially sprints I'll have to incorporate some of these strength moves. Great workouts! Thanks

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    1. Stair workouts are great! Simple moves with maximum results ;-)

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  15. I need to do more stairs workouts! They always wind me, which just means I should do them more often, right?! :)

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  16. What a creative way to get a workout in!

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  17. Stairs are a great workout. Thanks for sharing a variety of ways to use them!

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    1. Most people had access to a stairway, but not everyone has a treadmill.Hopefully these workouts will inspire others to get (and stay) active when they can't get outside ;-)

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  18. I have run my stairs when I don't feel like doing much of anything else, and especially when it's so bitterly cold outside as we've seen these past two weeks.

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    1. Stair workouts are challenging, but effective. And, most people have access to a stairway #noexcuses

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  19. Sorry it's still so cold! You have some great alternative workouts though!

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    1. Our weather has been crazy, but that's typical for Iowa.

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  20. I am always amazed with how unique your stair workouts are. Stairs are definitely a great way to get a workout in, especially when you're snowed in and get go anywhere.

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    1. ...and, most everyone has access to a stairway, right? ;-)

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  21. Awesome ideas for stair workouts! I'm at my parents' all week and they live at 9,000+ feet in elevation. I might have to cut these workouts in half LOL!

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    1. I hadn't thought about higher elevation settings (not an issue for us in Iowa). That certainly would UP the intensity!

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  22. I admire your dedication...because stairs are honestly right down there with the treadmill for me. I feel like I see enough stairs in the average day already!

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    1. Ha ha...I'd choose the stairs over the treadmill, any day. The treadmill is just not my friend...

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  23. Sure, push-ups can be a recovery exercise! At least for me because I'm so terrible at them it takes me forever to complete a set!! :P

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    1. Well, I do a lot of my push-ups on an incline...either actually on the stairs or at the bottom (using the bottom step as the incline). That makes them a tad bit easier, which also allows for me to have a fuller range of motion.

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  24. I love your creative stair workouts!

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  25. Our new house is a ranch so we don't have any steps. No basement either! (This area of Montana doesn't allow basements in the valley.) Never thought I'd miss the stairs in my old house so much! Have a great week!

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    1. I know I'd miss my stairs if I didn't have them. I'm a bit absent-minded at times, and often go upstairs for something and come back down with something else LOL My cardio is always at work ;-)

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