The stairs have it and they’re waiting for you.
What’s that, you say? The stairs?
I’m always looking for new or creative ways to work-out at home. I’ve come to realize a stairway is a pretty decent “fitness hack,” all on its own.
Care to hear why?
First, and possibly foremost, it’s a great piece of cardio “equipment.” I have both a treadmill and an elliptical, but I think the stairway dominates in terms of cardio output. Try to climb 10 quick flights without your heart rate increasing, I double-dare you!Whether you’re climbing a 10-story building, or simply going up (and down) the same stairway 10 times, you’re gonna feel it.
Climbing stairs will also give you a decent lower-body workout. Ever heard of step-ups? Similarly, you can step up and step back down (with caution)...or you can continue to the top of the staircase (I do triple-steps for this). You can add hand weights to increase the resistance or just utilize your own body weight. Go ahead, give a few triple-steps a try...but do them slowly.
The stairs can be used as a warm-up! Just recently, I’ve realized a quick 10-20 flights (of double-steps) serve as an effective warm-up before heading outside for a run. It not only gets the heart pumping, but fires up the glutes and warms up the hammies and calves.
A few pointers:
* If your stairway is carpeted, it may be safest to wear shoes with a good tread (for traction). I occasionally do barefoot workouts on the stairs, but would NOT recommend attempting to do so in socks. Climbing barefoot will give your feet a fuller range of motion and will work your calves more than when in shoes.
*Use flights of stairs as part of a HIIT circuit. I typically do these in sets of 10 flights (double-stepped).
*As far as strength-training, proceed with caution. More often than not, I simply do these as body-resistance workouts. Sometimes I carry light hand weights (8-12 pounds). If you're looking to lift heavy, though, that is best reserved for a gym setting. There's a reason heavy-lifting is usually done with a spotter, and a stairway would not be conducive for that.
*Go at your own speed. As mentioned, you're already fighting gravity. We all have legs of different lengths...I can triple step pretty easily (albeit slowly) with my long legs, and I can go pretty fast double-stepping, but not everyone is as tall as me.
*You can implement plyometics (jump training) into your climbing with "stair-jacks"(jumping up the stairway instead of stepping).
*It's a good idea to vary the steps as you work-out. I'd recommend alternating between flights of single-steps and double-steps, or mix in a flight of triple-steps to give your legs a good stretch (due to the slower stepping needed).
Bottom line, as with any fitness routine or workout, proceed with caution. Though the stairs have been a great cardio option for me, I respect not everyone will be as eager to go climbing. That's the great thing about fitness....we get to do what works for us.
So, what do you think? Have you ever done a stair workout? If not, any interest in giving it a try?
**Need a few other non-running workout options to consider? Give these a read:
Taking it to the Stairs
Stuck inside? A few non-running fitness options to consider
No gym? No excuses!
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up.
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